Korean Identity

1366 Words 6 Pages
Besides, the influence of cultural and social environment on both narratives’ disparate manners of identity construction can be illustrated on how both narratives distinguish themselves from others in terms of being a foreigner. Roberts summarizes Hyun’s ambiguous position in both Korean and German societies, “ In Korea, he is a foreigner legally, In Germany, he is a foreigner emotionally.” (Roberts, 29) And Roberts also adds another fact to explain why the second generation of Korean-Germans are forceful to identify themselves as Koreans, “The sort of hyphenated identity that Asians in the United States have, as in “Korean-American” with the focus being on ‘American,’ does not seem to be a possibility for the second-generation Koreans …show more content…
Language barrier seems like an excuse for her to cover her fear towards Korean society. She recalls in the transcript, “technically, Korean was my first language. … …I was almost enrolled in an ESL class. So, like, English as a second language course.” (Lee, 7) And she also adds, “I don’t really have Korean friends” in America. (Lee, 9) She does not even have a Korean friend or Korean-American friend in America, it can be more difficult for her to make friends in South Korean to get access to Korean society. Furthermore, she explains the difficulty of making Korean friends in South Korea, “I want to make, like, Korean friends, but it’s hard here because they see you as a foreigner first. Unless you get very close to them.” (Lee, 22) Joanne was raised in a community that were dominated by White Americans, she could not practice her Korean language skill in order to enhance her communication skill with her Korean peers. I think language barrier is not an obstacle for her to step in Korean society; yet, her fear unto the unfamiliar cultural environment in South Korea makes her feel the feeling of anxiety. Because Joanne’s Americanized culture background leaves her as an outsider to Korean society, this leads to her improper …show more content…
Cho argues, “ Korean-American male English teachers-as linguistic migrants-experience contradictory feelings of privilege and anxiety in South Korean, mediated through their linguistic capital of English.” (Cho, 2) The sense of privilege that Korean-American male English teachers feel can be explained in three different aspects. Firstly, as Cho puts, “With English that is highly valued in South Korea considered ordinary and commonplace in the United States, the Korean-American male English teachers become afraid to start over in the competitive American job market-thus further deferring their return.”(Cho, 3) Korean-American male English teachers are proficient in English; accordingly, their natural linguistic source brings them the feeling of privilege in a non-English speaking nation. Secondly, Cho adds, “Further enhancing their social status was their position as teachers who have traditionally commanded high respect within South Korea’s neo-Confucian culture.” In Asian culture, teachers generally receive higher respect in the society. As being a Korean-American with natural linguistic gift in English, the narrative, Howard states his social status is highly valued, “like the ‘King of the Land’ in South Korea.” (Cho, 8) Howard’s statement involves the emotional element of his life experience in South Korea, which makes him

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