Asian Americans have been brought to the forefront of the news because of Harvard’s Affirmative Action case and the Asian American community has been divided about how to approach the issue. Some groups argue that Asian Americans have been systematically discriminated against because of racial quotas.
In 2011, I found myself having to defend the argument that race still matters while attending one of the most ethnically diverse evangelical seminaries in the nation. Don’t get me wrong: Students and faculty alike openly discussed ethnic and cultural differences. And although all were unanimous that racism was bad and diversity was good, when it came to more explicit discussions of institutionalized racism or white supremacy, there tended to be choirs of crickets.
When my mom and dad were dating, my Filipina mother told my white U.S.-American father that she would be returning to the Philippines to continue her work there after they graduated from seminary in California. She felt a strong calling to serve her people, and it would be up to him if he wanted to follow her there and continue their relationship.
The 2008 and 2016 elections exposed our nation’s drastically divergent views on the state of race relations in the United States. In the intervening eight years, some believed that our country’s racial progress had reached the telos of “post-racial” society and required no further action.
The Civil Rights Era was a tumultuous time for our society as many struggled for racial and social justice. While some Black Churches and some White Churches joined this movement, many Christians stood against the end of segregation and continued to provide theological backing for white supremacy.
I was in sixth grade when the killing of Latasha Harlins became national news. Latasha Harlins was a 15-year-old Black teenager who went to a Korean-owned liquor store in South Central, Los Angeles, to buy some orange juice.
By now, many of us are at least casually acquainted with “the model minority myth” that Asian Americans are naturally (or “culturally”) hyper-disciplined, obedient, intelligent, and industrious. Good at math, capable doctors — bad at sports, nerdy at heart. Other people of color should “be more like them”.
A FEW YEARS ago, a friend was working on a documentary on the immigrant story. He asked if he could tell parts of my childhood story of growing up in an inner-city neighborhood in Baltimore.