Fostering Equity Through Reflexivity

Woo-Jung Amber Kim
Culture & Equity Project Blog

“That’s weird. Stop speaking in Korean.”

Growing up in Southern California, these were the words that made me internalize the idea that my Korean culture was not welcomed at our majority White, suburban, public middle school. I implicitly accepted the fact that in order to belong, I needed to ‘assimilate’ to the dominant English-speaking White culture and leave my cultural identity at home. It was not until I moved to Seoul, South Korea the next year, while attending an international school, where I could speak in both Korean and English, that I realized I could bring my ‘whole identity’ as a student into the classroom. My childhood experiences have led me to recognize the importance of creating equitable classroom spaces, where diversity is not only accepted but also authentically celebrated. I simply wanted my students to have what I could not have growing up.