By David K. Chan
Whether you are a red or blue state follower is less important than the values that we bring to our children and our children’s children. If any one “race” has “claim” to the U.S., it’s the indigenous Native Americans. Other than that we are all immigrants here.
As an American born Chinese growing up in San Francisco, I saw firsthand how cultural differences caused misunderstandings, distrust, and sometimes even hatred. But, I never understood how these cultural barriers began. I was called everything from “Chink” to “Slanty-eyes” to “banana.” The funniest part of that was being called “banana” by even some of my own race. Banana refers to being yellow (Asian) outside, but white on the inside.
Dissecting “white on the inside” a bit further, it means not truly acting “Chinese or Asian.” How is an AMERICAN born Chinese / Asian supposed to act? None of us spoke Chinese, so by default we were American, wouldn’t you say?
I find it interesting that the 2008 US Census doesn’t even know how to “categorize” people. While the overwhelming category in the U.S. is 79.8% White, the definition includes peoples of Europe, Middle East or North African descent. In some people’s calculation North Africa means you’re African American. Let’s also look at the Asian category, which according to the 2008 bureau stats is about 4.5% of the U.S. population. They include people of Indian and Pakistani descent. Yet, knowledgeable PhDs believe that they should be considered “white.”
The categorization of Middle Easterners as “white” would suggest that the “white” culture should have no issue with accepting people from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. Yet, we know the prejudices or predispositions that we ALL bring to the table when we meet someone who is culturally different or appears to be different from ourselves.
With all of the other problems that we face here in America, the one of race prejudice is one that we don’t have time to wage. Education is at an all time low, unemployment at an all time high and health-care completely inadequate.
In America, we don’t need to wage a war based on racism. We’ve waged enough wars both abroad and our own soil to last multiple generations. The time for sensibility, openness, and yes, civility is a time that’s come. In fact, it’s way overdue.
David Chan is a high tech professional who consults on business development, leadership and marketing opportunities.