I need to show some love for the work at Washington Post as well [h/t NextGenerasian]. Two reporters, Annabel Park [1.5 gen. Korean immigrant] and Eric Byler, went to Prince William County in Virginia to report on their rising tension over immigration [racism]:
How did Prince William County, one of the richest, most diverse counties in the nation, become a flashpoint in America’s battle over immigration? What led to threats of racial violence during public meetings and grown men screaming at children on the streets? And how did a team of Asian American documentary filmmakers end up in the middle, with both pro-immigration and anti-immigration forces demanding that they take sides?
On Oct. 9, Eric Byler and Annabel Park began posting short video clips on a YouTube channel they created called “9500Liberty” at http://www.youtube.com/9500Liberty. The “interactive documentary” project took its name from a street address in Old Town Manassas where a sign had been posted, reading: “Prince William Co. Stop Your Racism to Hispanics!” The sign — on what was known as “Liberty Wall” — protested a county policy that requires police to check immigration status during routine traffic stops and denies some services to undocumented immigrants. The county, like many places across the nation, is in the middle of a demographic transformation: Since 1990, its Hispanic population has quadrupled; today one in five of the county’s 360,000 residents is Hispanic; and the number of Asians has more than doubled.
I have no scathing response to their “discoveries” or the video posted below. It doesn’t surprise me at all. Been there…and still there. While America is an incredible country, it still has much to grow. In many ways, it doesn’t matter who I am, what I’ve accomplished, where I’ve studied, or what I do. To the eyes of some or manhy, I am an Asian and thus, not American. I don’t look American [meaning I don’t look White] and thus, I am not American – even if I am a US Citizen and a proud Korean-American.
Take a look at the video. It’s 9 minutes long but worth checking out in light of the immigration issue being such a hot issue. I don’t pretend to have the answers to the immigration debate but would love to hear some of your thoughts. In the video, listen carefully to when Annabel Park talks about “identity crisis.”
My family and I immigrated to San Francisco when I was six years old. It has been such a significant part of my life that it intricately shapes my worldview. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of myself as the “other” – or reminded as such. As a Christian, I am thankful that my identity, ultimately, isn’t rooted in earthly realms but rather as a follower of Jesus. And furthermore, as a follower of Jesus, I am that more compelled to have a commitment to the “others” around me.