Where Are You From?

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By Daniel Chou
Cover photography by Wonho Frank Lee
May 01, 2014 | min read
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I FOUND MYSELF in Colonial Williamsburg last December while visiting my sister's new apartment in Virginia. My parents had gotten a good deal on annual passes — perfect for whenever they would visit my sister. They also got me one too, forgetting that I only go to the East Coast once or twice a year. 

Dad was eager to show me the printmaker's office and all the new design-related terms he picked up on his last visit to the colonies. 

"Daniel, do you know what type of metal they put in between lines of text for the newspaper?"

"I know, Dad  ... it's lead. That's why designers call it 'leading'."

But this particular visit came with a particular twist. Perhaps in an effort to seem more friendly or to make conversation, the typesetter pointed his ink blotter at me and my parents and asked "Where are you from?"

Dad answered that we were visiting from Maryland, but the typesetter continued to press. 

"Where are you really from?"

"Where are you really from?"

I don't usually have much of a problem with this question. Generally, I brush it off and give people the benefit of the doubt — maybe they really are interested in my ethnicity or racial origin!

But because the typesetter only asked our family and was satisfied with merely the home states of all the other visitors (all Caucasian), it struck a chord. 

We were in Colonial Williamsburg — and as much as it is a celebration of some of our nation's great leaders and new beginnings, it is also a reminder that the U.S. was and continues to be a land formed of immigrants. 

U.S. was and continues to be a land formed of immigrants. 

Today, we often forget this heritage. We remember the sacrifice our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents (some go back even further!) made when they immigrated to America, but also want to shed any association with new immigrants. 

The hope for this issue, Made In __, is that we remember our immigrant heritage. As Americans, we were founded by immigrants. As Asian Americans, we are the products of immigrants. As Christians, we continue to channel the continual immigrant status of the Israelites — we too are foreigners in a strange land. 

May we remember our heritage as immigrants and stand in solidarity with new immigrants, knowing that we too have not reached our final home. 

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Daniel Chou

Daniel Chou (he) serves as the editor-in-chief of Inheritance and is also one of the magazine’s founders. He holds a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. Outside of Inheritance, he is co-founder of Winnow+Glean and enjoys roasting coffee. He posts sporadically on Instagram @dchou and even more sporadically on Twitter @danielchou.

Wonho Frank Lee

Wonho Frank Lee is a freelance photographer who primarily shoots for Eater LA and recently received his MFA from Cal State LA. Follow him on Instagram @WonhoPhoto.

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