Recently, I took a minute to ask myself if I was in need of reconciliation to any particular race? Recently, our church launched a center for racial reconciliation and I was contemplating attending.

I am married to a Black man and we have two children. I was raised in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood where I was the only Asian who took folkloric dance lessons for 7 years with my Hispanic best friend.  I also have 2 Caucasian brother-in laws and a sister-in-law.  I grew up amongst diversity and so it became the norm.

However, to my surprise, after thinking a little deeper about the issue, I realized I was not fully reconciled.  It wasn’t to other races, but to my own.  I am a California born and raised Korean/Japanese.  My mother grew up in Hawaii during World War II when the Japanese were being sent to concentration camps.  By the grace of God, she never went to a concentration camp, but she saw her librarian and school teacher taken away.  She also lived under hatred from kids and friends who turned on her for being Japanese.  

I was born and raised in California with very little association of being Asian. I can remember kids pulling their eyes back at me and not really being offended.  However, I believe I have carried through life some deep roots of shame and self criticism that may have been unknowingly passed on to me.  

Growing up with a lack of association with being Asian, has led me to not really embrace all of me.  Because of societies sometimes harsh stereotypes, I never wanted to be put into a category that lumped me together with other Asians.

I do realize stereotypes are just that.  They expect the rule to apply to everyone or everything of a certain description.  I think we have all done that in joking as society has given us a humorous way to deal with our differences.

I have begun the journey of trying to sort through reconciling with my own race. There is so much to be learned from some of the stereotypes of my Asian descent or any descent.  It’s only when we can find the root of some of the ideologies that we have adapted, are we able to break the chains of continuing in them.

You may also find, not all of them are bad. There are a lot of things that have been passed onto us that have shaped the best part of who we are and those things we need to embrace and pass onto the next generation.  

Relationship Lifeline begins with reconciling ourselves first to ourselves.  It’s only then can we be reconciled to others. Is there some type of reconciliation that you need to have with yourself? Maybe it’s not your race, but maybe it’s a religion you grew up in? Reconciliation always begins with you first. You can never give away anything you do not have.

Jen Morgan