RE-EXAMINING THE 'HEARTLAND': KOREAN AMERICAN RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC IDENTITY FORMATIONS IN THE MIDWEST
What is it like to grow up in the United States Midwest, without an accessible co-ethnic population, as a second-generation Korean American Christian? Drawing from forty-seven in-depth interviews of second-generation Korean American Christians who grew up in the Midwest, an analysis of the data reveals several aspects of their lives. First, Korean American families are moving to the Midwest for educational and economic gain, because of pre-existing networks with friends and family, and through
... amily sponsorships. Second, this data reveals the long-term consequences of racism this population faces, causing some to desire to leave the Midwest, to internalize their oppression, or to work towards changing society through their careers and churches. Religious identity is a key factor in helping respondents process the racism they have faced. Second-generation Korean American Christians in the Midwest also find a sense of belonging, that they did not find in their neighborhoods and schools, through ethno-religious communities: Korean American Christian youth camp and/or organizations during college. Participation in these groups strengthened both their religious and ethnic identities.