Tiger Mom Award of the Year. Decade.

Not being a pro sports kinda gal, I just learned about Hines Ward for the first time today.  I saw a link to this video, where he is inducted as a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Yup.  You read that right.  ASIAN AMERICAN.

Hines Ward was born in Seoul, Korea to a Korean mother and African-American serviceman.  They moved to the US when he was an infant, then a year later, his father, Ward, Sr., promptly divorced his mother and married someone else.  As if it wasn't cruel enough to do that, Hines, Sr. went to court and successfully argued that Kim Young He was an  unfit mother, since she spoke no English and could not support themselves.  (I wonder if he realized he had something to do with that?)  The younger Ward lived with his paternal grandparents and then with the jer...um, I mean, father until he was 7.  But that is just the beginning of this amazing story.

Kim Young He, his mother, is the Tiger Mom of all Tiger Moms, not because she made him play the piano or yelled at him to get better grades.  No.  This young woman, who spoke no English and had nobody in this huge country, set out to prove the court wrong.  In Georgia no less.  His mother worked three back-breaking menial jobs to prove she could support her only child and got. him.  back.

Like any kid might, Hines Ward was embarrassed of his mom. He admits that.  He had grown up in the African-American community and suddenly, here was this virtual stranger who was little, with funny eyes who spoke horrible, "broken" English.  Despite her 3 jobs, she always made meals for him and took him to school.  One day, he ducked in the seat.  He snuck out of the car (who taught her to drive?  how did she save up to buy a car?) and turned to look at her...and saw her crying.  (just. kill.  me. now.)

It's his mother he speaks of, his mother that inspired him.  Get a box of tissues and go to the link.

Then try and Google Hines Ward, Sr. and see if anything comes up.


TraceyC said...

Quick question. Was your point that the person who raised gets to pick which race he should go by? When folks get to calling mixed kids black I think it tends to be more about how society sees them and less about which parent had a bigger influence.
Everyone know that Hines' mama is AMAZING. I mean frickin AMAZING and that his dad is a loser. Doesn't make him less black.

Anonymous said...

TracyC, that is a big question and not one I even thought to address on this post. I'm telling a poignant story of, as you say, a "frickin AMAZING" mom, and a boy, who against all odds found his mother's love and discovered and accepted all of himself: Black "and* Korean.