Minority Births a Threat to National Identity?

Brandon at birth.

Today, on the Time website, Christopher J. Ferguson published an article titled “What You Need to Know About the New Census Numbers on Hispanic Births.” Here are some of my initial thoughts.

First, I find this development to be an extremely beautiful one. It is wonderful to see America becoming more diverse. This article, however, is terribly troubling and telling.

First, it’s titled “What You Need to Know About the New Census Numbers on Hispanic Births.” Who exactly is he referring to when he says you? I have my hunch.

Then the subtitle reads, “The data has gotten attention because of fears that it threatens our national identity, but it signals a blending of culture more than anything else.” I can tell you that for Hispanic and other minority US CITIZENS, this does not feel like a threat. But besides that, it is not a threat but an evolution of our national identity. And finally, why does this author feel the need at all to assuage any of these supposed fears? Why does he feel this need to calm people down by calling it a “blending” rather than a threat? This subtitle and article marginalizes a massive segment of the US population, and it shows a gross ignorance that is inexcusable for a psychology and criminology professor at Texas A&M International University.

Finally, this article makes me wonder, why do some in the majority population feel so threatened by this development? Could it be they finally realize that the country is in fact still profoundly racist and that reality has concrete implications for minorities?

What is most ironic is that the author who penned this article is probably oblivious to how his words come across to minorities. At least to me, that’s the only thing that explains how this article even saw the light of day.

NOTE: I am not saying this author is being deliberately racist; but, his language does betray a racial ignorance that is symptomatic of a country that is racist from its individuals all the way through its structures and rhetoric.

The Racist Landscape Surrounding Jeremy Lin

As of late, Linsanity seems to have come back down to earth. Frankly, that was to be expected. At the end of the day, the Knicks have issues that go well beyond Jeremy (e.g. coaching, player chemistry, and so on), and Lin is still a young player with a lot to learn. Indeed, he is a great player. The flashes of brilliance he displayed during his initial run simply would not have been possible unless he had the raw skills to back it up. But now that the competition has gotten wind and the Knicks superstars have comeback, Lin will have to mature and adapt. In the years to come, I am confident Jeremy will rise to the challenge, especially considering the type of adversity he’s faced his entire life.

And speaking of adversity, that leads me to the purpose of this post. At the peak of all the Linsanity, it became clear to the world that there was a dark side to it all.  Of course, Lin always knew the shadow side was there—he lived it his entire life. But America is being educated on the fly, and, in many respects, you can tell. Lin exposes a racism so deeply entrenched that many in our country don’t even realize it’s there. In fact, many, it would seem, are unwitting bigots. Continue reading

Memories of Racism, Memories of Grace – My First Racist Encounter

That’s me in the middle.

Besides almost dying from cholera when I was one and getting my hand crushed by a large, steel door when I was three, the rest of my early childhood in Korea was mostly a time of innocence and fun. I do have that one memory where my mom is pumping breast milk for my sister into what seemed to me at the time a large basin, but I’m still not really sure what to make of that image, whether it traumatized me or simply surprised me. But other than that, it’s hard to recall anything remotely negative. All I see is a skinny, Korean boy playing in the stream trying to catch frogs and tadpoles; hiking and exploring the hillsides and woods (we visited the shigol [countryside] often); waiting around the corner, listening for the man with the pull cart to ring his bell so that I could buy and devour a newspaper cone full of bundaegi (roasted silk worm pupae), which, at the time, was by far the most delicious thing on the planet (today, I can’t go near the stuff); feeding cute, fluffy, yellow chicks with rice grains; throwing a hammer at my grandfather’s head; and running away from my three uncles after pouring a bucketful of soapy water into the well, our main source of drinking water (they had to empty the entire well and wait for the next rain to replenish the supply). Of course, I only remember bits and pieces, but from those fragments and the stories my folks share with me, it seems that I really was a rambunctious, happy, little kid who, unlike the current me, actually loved to dance. Continue reading

Memories of Racism, Memories of Grace – Among Professionals

In this post, my friend and colleague Dr. Hue-Sun Ahn (pronounced Hae-Sun) shares about an experience with racism in the professional world of clinical counselors and psychologists. I’m sure many readers will resonate with her story as racism is still systemic across most professional disciplines. Continue reading