I Want to Look Like… Big Bang

So today I had an interesting conversation with J that gave me some insight into how he sees himself. Bear with me as I recount it; it will get around to racial identity eventually.

J: Mom, does God look like me?
Me: Well, God doesn’t really look like a person.
J: But someday we’ll see him, then he’ll be a person.
Me: Yes, someday we’ll see God but when we do won’t look like we do now. The Bible tells us we’ll have new bodies but not what they will look like.
J: Oh. Do you think there will be mirrors in heaven?
Me: I don’t know. Why?
J: Because I want to see if I look like T.O.P. when I’m in heaven. That’s what I hope I look like there.

How, you ask, does this have anything to do with racial identity? Well, because T.O.P. is a Korean singer/rapper who is part of J’s favorite Korean band, Big Bang.

As I’ve learned more about racial identity development, I’ve wondered how J will be affected with so few Asian’s in the U.S. entertainment industry, and those who are often limited by bad stereotypes. Yes, I realize that kids should have role models whom they know and interact with and not idolize entertainers. And hopefully, as J grows he will have those real, tangible role models. But the fact is, like it or not, we do look up to entertainers.  

If his favorite entertainers are white and, given that his family is also white, will he wish he were white too? I’ve always hoped he never wishes that. So when he said he wanted to look like T.O.P., I was proud.

I’m sure that some parents question our decision to let our 5-year-old son listen to Korean hip-hop music. We do closely monitor the lyrics of the songs he hears, but really we feel that he’s gaining so much from this interest. He’s seeing five Korean young men who are successful, talented, and seen as attractive. And he’s hearing Korean for at least an hour every day, and is learning new words and phrases while listening (why the monitoring of lyrics is important).

Plus, we feel that we’re just letting our son be who he is. Even as a baby in Korea, he loved Korean popular music. Big Bang isn’t something we pushed on him. We showed him one video during the World Cup, and he took it from there. He asked to see that video again and again, then asked if they sang anything else.

That was June. Now eight months later, J’s love of Big Bang is probably stronger than ever. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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Be Strong, Geum-Soon
Please Teach Me English
Spy Girl
Tae Gu Ki
2009 Lost Memories

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