By Soo-Young Chin, Dora Yum Kim
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Extra info for Doing what had to be done: the life narrative of Dora Yum Kim
Like Dora's other potential collaborators, I am of Korean descent. Dora likes to evoke Koreanness by way of explanation. " She leaves me to try to clarify her meanings by asking, "Do you mean unequal? Do you mean male-dominated? " I know that Dora enjoyed the fact that I was willing to work for her story. But I believe there were other reasons I may have been a good fit for Dora. She classifies Korean Americans into three categories: old-timers descended from Koreans who came to the United States between 1902 to 1924; the interim immigrants who came as students, professionals, servicemen's wives, and adoptees; and post-1965 immigrants.
As soon as we ordered the first month of transcripts chronologically, Dora Page 13 and I went through them for content. Reviewing the text for meaning was not easy. With red pen in hand, Dora would delete portions that she felt were too personal and correct the text, often commenting, "You need to 'fix' the transcripts for the book. " After we struggled through some two hundred of pages of transcripts to clarify the "we's," I asked Dora if she could, in future interviews, locate herself more explicitly.
In 1992, after the civil unrest that wreaked havoc in the Los Angeles Korean American community following the Rodney King decision, a surprising number of immigrant Koreans simply packed up and returned to Korea. However, the majority remained, determined to take a stand in the only place that feels like home. The establishment Of the Korean American Museum in Los Angeles reflects that determination. When I moved to Los Angeles in January of 1995, to take a position at the University of Southern California, I was asked join the Program Committee at the Korean American Museum (KAM).