The Minority Report | Ashley Kim
Jong Jin Kim left South Korea for America in 1982 hoping to find his version of the “American dream.” Kim quit his job as an engineer when his daughter was eight years old to support her snowboarding career after recognizing her talent and growing potential in the sport. He would frequently make the 325-mile trip from Los Angeles to Mammoth Lakes, California, with his wife and daughter so that she could practice snowboarding.
Just nine years after Kim quit his job, his daughter would win an Olympic gold medal in PyeongChang, South Korea. His daughter is none other than 17-year-old snowboarding prodigy, Chloe Kim. She is quite possibly—no, definitely—one of the best snowboarders in the world. And I will defend that until the day that I die.
While I’ve heard people call Chloe “America’s Sweetheart,” I think the real owner of that title is her dad, who beamed with pride for his daughter before her first Halfpipe run holding a homemade sign reading “Go Chloe!”
Chloe has obviously received a lot of media attention but so has her dad along with the sacrifices that he has made for her—and I’m extremely grateful for it. The sacrifices he has made echo the sacrifices that my parents—and many other immigrant parents—have made for their children.
I’ve heard some people call her dad atypical for a Korean parent, but I am going to strongly disagree. I think the overwhelming and incorrectly accepted narrative of Korean and Asian parents in general being unnecessarily harsh on their kids is tired and frankly annoying.
While this may be true for some Korean-Americans, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s probably true for parents of any ethnicity. Expectations and dreams know no bounds.
I hope the media coverage surrounding her dad’s role in her unprecedented career continues to remind people that although Chloe is incredibly unique, her father’s sacrifices and qualities—while huge and endearing—mirror many Korean parents. Mostly I hope it begins to undo stereotypes, and we begin to applaud parents—of any ethnicity—who sacrifice everything so that their kids can succeed, and this, to them, is achieving the American dream.