Kimchi Mamas: Like Spice on Rice

Contributing Editor Mary Tsao also blogs at Mom Writes.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage month and tomorrow May 1 is the launch date of a "spicy, new parenting blog" called Kimchi Mamas.

Kimchi Mamas is a collaboration between Stefania Butler from CityMama and six of her blogging friends. Stefania says that the new blog "came together rather quickly" after Nina from Charlie and Nina had the idea. Their original intent was to do an Asian mama collaborative blog but they soon realized that the bloggers they hoped to include all were Korean--or married to one--and so started a Korean mama blog instead. As Stefania explains it, the Kimchi Mamas "hope to burn your tongue with stories of parenting, childhood, and being Korean."

Other contributors to Kimchi Mamas include Iréne Nam from MOMster, Eliaday, Linda from Keepin It Real, Twizzle from Baboon of Magnesia, and Weigook Saram.

Even though Kimchi Mamas doesn't officially launch until tomorrow, they have a half dozen posts already up on the blog. And judging from the posts, their promises of spicy writing seem to be true. There's a post on the steroytype of a Korean man, what happens when a Korean American fails to make it in the United States, and the personal politics behind self-identifying as a Korean American. In her post Oriental, Twizzle starts:

"I'm wondering exactly when it became déclassé to call Asian-Americans "Orientals." I may be totally out of touch, but it seems that this linguistic shift happened some time in the early nineteen-eighties-but perhaps that's only when I became aware of it. I may be dating myself, but when I was growing up in the honkey-and-Mexican-American-populated berg of Santa Barbara, CA, "Oriental" was what white people called anyone who was of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean descent. Didn't matter if you were fresh off the boat or your family had been here for a hundred years. You were singled out, set apart from the mainstream. Mind you, I was the only such person in my entire elementary school. When I went to junior high, perhaps there were four of us, one of whom was also hapa. In high school, there may have been seven of us. We were a rare breed, we "Orientals," yet we did not stick together. Instead, we assimilated into groups of white friends. We had no ethnic identity."

The mamas who contribute to Kimchi Mamas are using the Blogosphere to create a cultural community. With their writing, they loudly and proudly assert their ethnic identity. Their posts about daily life as a Korean (or as a woman married into a Korean family) as well as their posts that reveal memories of growing up in Korean families provide the reader fascinating and personal insights into the world of parenting, childhood, and being Korean.

[Photo credit: Hormel Foods]

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Mary Tsao | Mom Writes

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