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In a surprisingly candid collection of profiles that speaks to every American, activists and scholars Elaine Kim and Eui Young Yu bring to light what the media have not: the genuine complexity of the Korean American community. From San ...
In a surprisingly candid collection of profiles that speaks to every American, activists and scholars Elaine Kim and Eui Young Yu bring to light what the media have not: the genuine complexity of the Korean American community. From San Francisco to New York, from Chicago to the book's focal point, Los Angeles, this first full-scale history of the Korean-American community includes a wide spectrum of people and their stories.
Kim (Asian-American Studies/Univ. of California, Berkeley) and Yu (Sociology/Calif. State Univ., Los Angeles) successfully offer a "glimpse of some Korean American perspectives on history, identity, and community." As with all immigrant groups, the editors note, some Koreans see America as "a promised land"; to others "it is purgatory." James Park found a sanctuary here. He describes a miserable childhood in the 1940s and '50s, spanning the Japanese occupation of Korea and the North-South conflict, during which his mother died "because of my father's neglect." In 1969 he left for the US as a foreign-exchange student; today he is a prominent Los Angeles importer-exporter. Dong Hwan Ku (a pseudonym) has a different perspective. He came to this country in 1984 and owns a small sundries store near an unnamed college campus. "I am scared everyday," he says, recalling how he fired warning shots during the 1992 looting. He sees no solution to the violence and animosity between local black residents and the Korean business community. He wants to go home. Others, such as Kyong-A Price, have found answers and peace. A "troubled woman" who attempted suicide several times, Buddhist Price felt spiritually at odds with her Anglo-Christian husband. Then, like many Korean-Americans, Price became born-again and "accepted Jesus Christ." As Kim and Yu note, there are 3,000 Korean Christian churches in the US but only 650 Buddhist temples. The church has become the single most important community organization.
A window into a little-known community and a wide variety of people—a gay activist, a rapper, a monk—along with an excellent overview of Korean and Korean-American history.
|Starting From Zero||129|
|Away From the Center||154|
|A Humble Messenger||164|
|A Seeker and a Fighter||174|
|House of Haesun||195|
|Head of Household||230|
|Non-Traditional and Korean||236|
|Love Letter From a Stranger||252|
|Hanging Onto My Dream||260|
|One Chapter a Day||266|
|Man of the House||274|
|Born to Be a Soldier||294|
|Black and Korean||314|
|Year of the Sheep||322|
|A Higher Ground||329|
|As American as Possible||342|
|Appendix A Elaine H. Kim||353|
|Appendix B Eui-Young Yu||359|
|Appendix C Brief Overview of Korean and Korean American History||363|