Our local Boy Scout troop could’ve had an opportunity to learn that there are repercussions to their actions; and that sometimes, the worst action is in pretending that it never happened. Instead, they learned that if they deny something enough, they can get away with being cruel to youngsters and disrespecting members of their community.
September 8, 2013
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Blog, Blog index
Tags: Adoption, bilingual, family, immigrants, K-pop, Korean, pop culture, prejudice, racism
Before I started blogging, I thought it was a silly concept. Why would anyone want to write … for free?! Now, I get it. I just wish I had more time to devote to it. Here are some of my favorite pieces. By me. Ahem.
So, ya’ll have read about Oprah and the salesclerk at some chi-chi Swiss handbag boutique, right? Ms. Winfrey wanted to see a purse that retailed for just under $40,000. The clerk repeatedly told her it was very expensive and wouldn’t show it to her. Have any of you had a similar thing happen? I have, on a much smaller scale.
Someone privately messaged me and asked why I wrote so much about things that had happened in the past. Do I write about it so much? I’ve been writing professionally for the past three decades and I’d estimate that my pieces surrounding race issues encompass less than 1% of everything I’ve ever written.
As someone who worked in broadcast journalism—both on air and behind the scenes writing news to be read by reporters and anchors on the Teleprompter—I call a big B.S. on KTVU’s “mistake.” An anchor announced that the Asiana pilots involved in the tragic crash were “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk” and “Bang Ding Ow.”
A few years ago, my husband and I went out to a sushi restaurant for Valentine’s Day. We had reservations. There was a snowstorm that evening, so we made sure we got there early. We checked in with the hostess, who noted our reservation and said they could seat us in about 20 minutes. I thought that was strange, since the restaurant wasn’t even half full. But we were early, so we waited.
When I was a young teenager, my parents gave me some money to buy a new outfit at Sears. We didn’t live too far from there, so I walked over by myself. I was always careful with money, so I looked at the items I was interested in, compared prices and then tried a few things on before selecting the final item I wanted to purchase. The cashier looked at the woman standing behind me. It turned out that the woman was a plainclothes security guard whose job it was to profile and trail people who were likely to shoplift. I’m not sure why I was pegged.
There was a little boy sitting nervously on his bicycle as my dad talked to him. The boy had called my father a chink, and my father was calmly explaining that it wasn’t a nice thing to say, and that his parents would be disappointed to hear him say that to an adult. (Who’re we kidding? We all know that this kid probably learned to be a racist at home. But my father was giving him the benefit of the doubt.)
Jeremy Lin is riding a well-deserved wave of goodwill and adulation. After being undrafted and waived by not one, but two, NBA teams last year–the 23-year-old point guard for the New York Knicks has become the sport’s latest sensation. And Asian Americans are loving it. Each time Lin shows off his skills on the basketball court or does an on-air interview where—surprise!–he has no accent, he helps Asian Americans get one step closer to being accepted as “real” Americans.
March 17, 2011
Posted by: Jae-Ha Kim
Category: Go Away With..., Interviews
Tags: Anguilla, biracial, Disney World, Helping Hands Foundation, Korean, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh Steelers, racism, Seoul, South Korea, Super Bowl MVP, wide receiver
Born in Seoul, South Korea, to an African-American father and a Korean mother, Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward was raised in Atlanta by his mother after his parents divorced. Because he looked “different,” it was challenging to make friends. But football became the great equalizer and suddenly no one cared what color the young phenom was. Now 35, Ward is the first Korean-American to have won the Super Bowl MVP Award. He’s hoping that his agility on the gridiron carries over to the ballroom. Ward is one of the contestants competing on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” this season.