Image: Robin Lee
I was asked to write an essay about the Asian American experience for The Washington Spectator. Here’s an excerpt. I hope you find it interesting.
April 16, 2018
By Setsuko Winchester
The Olympics have come to a close, and in their wake I’ve been thinking about a stubborn phenomenon that was illustrated most recently by the flack a New York Times columnist named Bari Weiss received after tweeting: “Immigrants get the job done,” together with a picture of Mirai Nagasu, the U.S. ice skater who won a gold medal. Many asked: What do you mean, immigrant? She’s an American.
Weiss defended herself by observing that Nagasu’s parents are immigrants. Well, if the standard at the Times is to identify you by your last immigrant relation, then we should take into consideration the immigrant parents and forebears of a lot of our newsmakers, most notably those presently in the White House. We should recognize Trump’s German and Scottish immigrant background, along with that of his Yugoslavian (now Slovenian) immigrant wife and former–Soviet Bloc Czechoslovakian-Scottish-German-immigrant sons and daughter. And how about the Belarusian-Jewish son-in-law, whose family escaped the Holocaust? When you see things the Weiss way (who I’m assuming, by the name, is a German-American immigrant), I think it’s strange that the Times doesn’t question Trump’s “American” bona fides or for that matter his America First policy, with its demands to close the doors on “immigrants,” since his presidency is clearly an example of the rise of the recent immigrant. Rather than hide it, as if it were something to be ashamed of, shouldn’t the White House celebrate how wonderfully open and generous America has been to his immigrant family?
You can read the rest here.
My Yellow Bowl Project hopes to spur discussion around these questions: Who is an American? What does citizenship mean? How long do you have to be in the US to be considered a bonafide member of this group?