Back when Hines Ward was a rookie, I knew about his career. Not because I followed him, but because my friends would be sure to keep me updated. I have to admit, I do pay closer attention to Korean news makers so I can keep up with the people I’m lumped with by ethnicity, and I guess I swell with pride when “my people” do good and feel shame when they act like buffoons. I feel the same way about any Asian American news makers.
Hines Ward has been a bleep on my radar ever since my friends told me about his NFL career way back when. Since I don’t really follow any football unless it’s about the Colts, I hadn’t kept up with Ward religiously. But I recently (and by recently, I mean November of 2009) read something about Ward that made me smile: Hines Ward is doing his part in trying to help other Korean biracial youths.
I have a biracial cousin I don’t see as often as I would like, but I remember how hard it was for her to be the only biracial kid in our family. She wasn’t loved any less, but there seemed to be a certain divide; while I have no firsthand experience on how challenging it can be to live as a biracial Korean, I’ve witnessed enough hurdles here and there to appreciate what Ward is doing.
Even as a non-biracial Korean, and Korean being my first language, I lived with certain prejudices from my fellow countrymen back when I lived in South Korea. I still feel it when I venture into Korea Town and felt a smidge when I visited Korea in 2008, so it’s no surprise that the plight of biracial kids in South Korea was mostly ignored until 2006, when Ward became MVP of Superbowl XL. And while the plight still continues, Ward is doing what he can to help and I appreciate his efforts. I’m thankful that he is being vocal about it so that it leaves less room for South Koreans to try and ignore a glaring problem.