By Charles Melton
I’ve often been told that I’m not Asian enough. Not white enough. And I question whether I am enough at all. I am conflicted by my racial identities and the trauma that comes with that. In light of the recent horrors, I am compelled to share my story.
My parents met in Korea when my father was stationed there as an Army soldier. My parents fell in love despite the negative connotations attached to their union. Soon after, they welcomed me and my two sisters, Patricia and Tammie. We were born in Juneau, Alaska and spent our childhoods at military bases: Camp Humphreys in South Korea, Fort Hood in Texas, and Stork Barracks in Germany.
For two years, my father was deployed and fought for our country, leading soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He dedicated most of his life to our freedom. I recited the Pledge of Allegiance. I always thought of myself as a proud American citizen who was grateful for my civil liberties. What could be more American than having a father who risked his life to serve and protect my country?
Over these past few months, I’ve reexamined my roots. With that, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother. My earliest memories are with her, out in the world among friends and strangers. But there was always pain in these interactions. I remember people talking down to my mother as if she didn’t belong. It demeaned her and in turn triggered something in me that I’ve long buried deep inside. A truth that at my young age, I didn’t know how to protect her, and it broke my heart.