Detroit, Stephen Young, Michigan discussed on Bullseye

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Entrepreneurs that are or can actually get paid. Benefits. Years energy to off. I gotta get back to work. Obviously, we can't. Crabtree and clear. Stephen, welcome to bullseye. It's nice every other show. Thank you for having me. You grew up in Detroit Michigan. Yes. What was Detroit Michigan like when you're going up? I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. Michigan. I got to visit Detroit every week because my folks owned a beauty supply on Woodward downtown right across the street from the Sears building, which eventually got demolished Detroit was like at that time the place. You don't go to rather the place that, you know, your immigrant parents work. And that's kind of how I saw it while I lived in the bustling dry metropolis or the suburban metropolis is known as Troy. It was quiet grassy lot of shopping and just running around outside. That's mostly what it was kind of running around outside. I mean like skateboarding and a call this soccer. I wish I wish I was that cool. Actually, it was a lot cooler. Yes. Yeah. I was pretty not growth hockey street hockey, football soccer baseball. It was just pre internet life, which I can barely. Remember it is. I mean, like, we're a similar age, and it is odd to think that there is a demarcation in your life before. And after you could just go on the computer and just stay there for five hours. Oh, yeah. Or like when all book reports looked exactly the same because it was all the Encarta ninety five. This was just Britannica or Encarta. And now it's like people's opinions. Well, I think they steal from more specific sources, of course, of course. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And now, we know that those collections of information worse slightly tainted the will. There was a time. I think when the promise of the computer was, but you could add a color photograph to your report. That would launch you onto the honor roll. Yeah. Or like, you get one of those like dissolving fades on your video project that you to do. It's mostly the rich kids that got to do those little things because their parents have those texts, but yeah, no different times. Did you grow up in? I mean, you went to church. Do you go to Korean-American church? Yes. They did. So did you grow up in a Korean American community? Or did you like how much of your life was defined by your parents, Korean Ness, and how much of your life was miscellaneous suburban, mid westerner. I let a very dualistic life trace it back nowadays and think about immigration, and I had some stories from the past. Whereas like, oh, I I remember getting dragged in kicking and screaming to class every single day when I was in kindergarten. And then they just sat me down with Plato. I remember my dad telling me, my first were English words were what does don't cry mean? And you know, they've just become like funny myths, or like ideas or stories that you tell yourself to to give yourself a backstory, but then like, you really process that in your adult age, and you're like maybe that was messed up like maybe that was really traumatic, and I didn't know how to deal, but I do remember that. I think it connects is that made me so scared that I desire to be part of what was popular and normal, which was, you know, white suburban culture, and and then I had this other portion which was church friends. And that was where it felt like family felt comfortable. I felt like myself were you aware of the difference between I presume that you had appears in school who were, you know, going to young life or whatever Chris. Youth groups and stuff. Are you were you aware of the difference between your world of Christian youth culture in their world of Christian youth colleague, Walter, you know, I don't know if I was that aware until we went to a massive young life conference, and it was one of those huge church retreats where like there's like, I don't know a hundred youth groups from one hundred different churches, and we were the only Korean one that went and I remember getting all couple. Kid racists, things like, you know, seeing that the bus was had Korean letters on it. So, you know, people do the whole like ching Chong thing or whatever. But you know, it wasn't too bad because it was still Christian. They're trying to keep the cool. But the funniest part of that was like we did distinctly feel out of place, and then it all culminated to winning the broomball championship. And we won that. Like we want it week. Went lost our first game cut Trump down to loser tier? And then worked our way back up to a final penalty hit penalty shot or this one of my friends at church, Danny Kim, he hit this amazing shot that like he he chipped it. So it went over the goalkeeper and right over his shoulder into the goal. And we went ballistic, and I think they respected us after that. I feel like. Career in suburban Detroit's Korean American populations version of the you know was that nineteen Eighty-four USA versus the USSR hockey game. Yes. That's exactly right. It was peak peak life. I think. You're listening to bullseye. Jesse? Thorn, my guest is the actor Stephen young you live here in Los Angeles. And you also have a brother who lives here in Los Angeles has a restaurant not not that far from here. What is it like for you to see the particular kind of Korean American experience that exists here in Los Angeles where there are places where there are many fully independent worlds of upper-middle-class Korean and Korean American people? Both like Koreans living in America who might not identify themselves even as American and immigrants who have upper-class lives that are majority Korean like they're living in Korean-American world. What's that like for you to see as as an adult is a guy who came here when you were in your mid late twenties. Well, I mean, like sometimes you'll meet kids from Hawaii were so Cal kids or even the bay, and they're just unlocked, you know, or they're normal. They don't have this image of Korean American or Asian American that they're kind of acquiescing to you know, I'm I'm from Michigan. And while I didn't experience intense, overt racism. I experienced more like I'm projecting onto you the space that you're allowed to inhabit. And it's this big, and I won't objectively tell it to you. But you'll feel it in fear, and you'll feel it in the way that we treat you in like a very small subtle way. So you all of a sudden find yourself, you know, saying like, oh like I like violin. And you're like, I don't really like violin. But I'm pretty much. I'm thinking I'm supposed to like violin or you go I can't be on the football team. But I can be on the tennis team. And you're like, oh, yeah. I like tennis and you make all these cognitively dissident decisions for yourself. And you tell yourself when you convince yourself that like these are decisions that are coming from you. And they're truthful honest decisions that you yourself had complete agency over and then you look back, and you go, oh, most of this was just to like fit the mold or keep safe or make myself predictable to these people. So that I don't get harmed wanted that I feel accepted, and then, you know, if you're lucky enough to break through that type of mental prison youth center for yourself, then you have to do the work to rebuild like your actual being one of the things is you're describing like coming to terms with the idea of like, for example, do I actually want to play on the tennis team? Yeah. But like in rejecting it. You're also making a choice that you have to deal with the consequences. Yes. Whereas I might be in a position to just not be. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's what I would watch a lot of my, you know, I said this before I did a story at riot LA, I won't speak for other people. But I'll speak most. I mean, I can only speak for myself. But for me I wanted to assimilate very badly. To the point where I even wanted something as dumb and benign storage. You know, like I distinctly remember being like I want storage. I didn't know like there's nothing special about storage. But I was like I want that because my friend. Tony Hartman has that like we you know, we sat by his house. Let's play Nintendo. And he's like, oh, I can't play Nintendo. My mom's citizen storage and storage. What the hell is storage? How do I get that for myself? Tap into this symbol of late capitalism. Get access. So that I can put it away in a non where I can't access it a very fast like it's just so dumb. But I wanted it. I wanted that. I wanted a dog. I wanted a photo on the mantle going to Kabul, San Lucas with my family, I want, you know, like, I remember teaching kids soccer in Chicago. When I was just starting out. And you'd see these like two year old three year old kids living very nouveau riche lives being like, I just came back from turksancacoes. And you're like damn I didn't even know that was a place, and I'm twenty five, you know, like, I never even set foot in that type of place before. And it's just you know. It's it's this overall. It's just finding a comfort with yourself. And that was part of my growth that was part of. I think my Asian American upbringing that when juxtaposed to Korean kids at a meeting LA who are just like. Yeah, I'm Ted Kim. So what? And I'm like your Ted Kim. Like it took me a while to not be Korean kid number five. And now, I'm Steven, you know, and then even then they want a nickname you. I remember growing up to like having a very strong aversion to people trying to nickname me like a couldn't stand it like if they've tried to nickname me, I lose my mind, and I often wondered where that came from. And in retrospect, it was just like I wanted to feel like I had control over something. My name would be one of them. You know? But yeah, smaller it's crazy stuff. Like that. It's bulls eye. I'm Jesse thorn. I'm here in the studio with Stephen. Then he starts in the new movie burning would just playing now. In select theaters. It seems like the kind of sensitivity that assimilation requires to the expectations of everyone around you in the facade of it. You have to maintain to engage those in the right way is you know, it's like a major acting job. Yeah. I was awesome at it early. And then, you know, then you come of age in you unpack so many other things like if I went through this as a straight male. What's it like to be gay? Was it like to be a woman like what's it like to be black? And you're just then, you know, you go through all this stuff, and but just talking from my point of view. Yeah. It's hard hard work to constantly put on a show every waking minute that you're outside in burning. You play Korean that is to say a native born Korean. And I think this is the first. Time. You've played a native born Korean onscreen is untrue. Yes. Well, technically, you could argue that K in oak was natively born there, but he is not he's fully American. But yeah, this is the first time I've played a currently native Korean were you afraid to do that. I was afraid to do it for a split second before I met director Lee where I just kind of process, and I told myself like, hey, there's a version of this where you say no to him were you say, I don't think I can accomplish what you inquire what you require me to do. But then after I met him, and he gave me the blessing to be like, I think you're the person to play this part. I didn't think about it. I just was like all right now I've worked to do. We'll have even more with Steven young. When we get back from short break, then later, Justin and Sydney McElroy, the co host of the podcast saw bones. Tell us some crazy stories from the bananas history of medicine. It's bullseye for maximum fund dot org and NPR. Message number one for the next Brian Lehrer show, this Tuesday is one of the most important election of our lifetime..

Coming up next