Politically, our community is naïve, perhaps even suicidal. The following -- mostly things we know but don't want to talk about -- will illustrate the danger we are in.
o We are wealthy, but we don't put our money together to finance our own "Think Tank" to look at the big picture - how to win equal opportunity and contribute more to America.
o The existing AsAm "Think Tanks" are financed by non-Asian Ams. They mostly produce laundry lists. They don't even dare to touch such relevant topics as glass ceiling, "race preference" admissions and the spikes of negativism against Asian Ams., when America felt threatened.
Example of spikes of negativism are (i) Chinese exclusion Act of 1882, (ii) Japanese internment during WWII, (iii) Japan bashing when its cars flooded our auto market, bringing about the murder of Vincent Chin, and (iv) Sherry Chen episode, when the U.S. feels China breathing down its neck e.g. AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank).
Why aren't the scholars in various Asia study centers writing articles that affect AsAms' lives? Because their salaries are NOT paid by us?
o Our so called "civil rights" orgs., mostly financed by non-Asian corporate and foundation money, shamefully supported "race preference" college admissions. In contrast, 80-20 is supported by AsAm money only, providing us with the freedom to examine the college admissions issue independently. Do those "civil rights" orgs know that school counselors are advising Asian Am college applicants to deny their own race and heritage when applying to America's first tier colleges? Isn't that a blatant violation of our human rights? Why are our so called "cilvil rights orgs." so blind to our plights? Because the staff salary of these orgs didn't come from us?
o Denying one's own race in order to get accepted by first tier colleges may contain an extremely racist message - Asians are not that welcome at the top echelon of the U.S. However, if we are willing to deny our heritage, then our application to rise to the top may be considered more favorably. Doesn't the lowest glass ceiling in workplaces, in spite of our highest academic attainment, possibly contain the same message?
What a shame that we have not pooled our resource together to finance our own "think tanks" and civil rights orgs to tackle these real challenges? Why are the AsAm super rich climbing over each other to donate to Harvard, while Harvard is the prime culprit of "race preference" admissions? Did our super rich even dare to ask Harvard to stop such practice or at least to publish its admission records so that society can decide if Harvard is being fair? I'll bet that our super rich didn't dare. Why are they so subservient? The cause is complex. The type of colonial education in English schools in Hong Kong and Shanghai in the last century, which bear resemblance to the college admissions policy in the U.S. of today, could be one main cause.
We Are Partially at Fault in Being Perpetual Foreigners.
o All of us have sworn allegiance to the U.S. when we voluntarily changed our citizenship. However, a large % of us STILL basically consider ourselves as citizens of our "old countries." We can't have the cake and eat it too, fellow Asian Americans! If we want equal opportunity in the U.S. then we must owe our primary allegiance to America.
While the first generation Irish, Polish, and Jewish showed same tendencies, the one billion plus population each in China and India does pose a different geopolitical consideration for a declining U.S. Are we wise enough to understand the real world?
o The rotten apples among AsAms even sold America's life blood -- classified and proprietary information -- for their personal gain AND at the expense of 99.9999% of Asian Ams who will face the consequent suspicions. Have we ever initiated preventive educational programs to try to stop such behavior to protect America's vital interests and to present ourselves from being considered "perpetual Foreigners"? Shouldn't we do that? Isn't the U.S. our chosen country? We must be fair with America, if we want America to be fair with us.
o We may be smart, but we are not wise. We produced community leaders who see a "zero-sum world" for AsAms. They assume that the gain of one group of AsAms must come at the expense of another group of AsAms. Indian-Ams community leaders jealously & secretly wish Chinese-Ams community leaders ill and vice versa. Even within a given ethnic community jealousy prevents unity. Being "a big fish in a small pond" seems the ultimate goal of most AsAm community "leaders". How small we are!
80-20 worked hard for ALL AsAms, whether in breaking the glass ceiling for cabinet level officials, federal judges, in workplaces, or in college admissions. However, financially 80-20 is 95% supported by Chinese Americans. Why?
Are We Hopeless?
NO. I am full of hope for the future of AsAms. But we truly need a sense of danger and urgency to build up our future. We need:
(1) to look at ourselves honestly, which is what "We Are Partially at Fault . . ." is all about, and;
(2) to use our strengths -- education and above average income -- to build up much needed community infrastructures - think tanks, good civil rights orgs, PACs, and a pan-AsAm-coalition - to defend ourselves with a sense of urgency and approaching danger.
DONATE to SELF, Self Empowerment Longterm Fund.
S. B. Woo, a volunteer for the past 16 yearsPresident, 80-20 Educational Foundation, Inc.
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