Eugene Cho

broadening worldview

Two of our children are now in the public school system in Seattle and our third will be on his way in 1.5 years.  I’ve always been a fan of the public school system mainly because it’s all I know.  I entered Sherman Elementary School immediately after my family and I immigrated to San Francisco in 1977.  Philosophically, it makes sense to invest heavily into the public school system in order for ALL children in ALL neighborhoods to benefit.  On paper, it’s supposed to work but sadly, easier said than done.  The Seattle Public School system has been in much disarray and the school that my kids attend, Whittier Elementary, have been in more disarray with the removal of the principal for disciplinary reasons – a difficult and painful story I’ll probably write about at a later time.

Anyways, Whittier is an excellent school.  The teachers are caring; the parents are very invested; and resources – like technology and a great library – are available.  We’re also only five minutes away from the school.  We should be loving it but every single week when I drop off my kids at school, I can’t help look around and notice the lack of diversity.  It’s no fault of the school – it just reflects the neighborhood.  So, we’ve considered moving – except we want to live in the neighborhood our church is located; so, we’re considering the possibility of transferring our students to a school called Sanford International School – if we can get in. Whittier is about 85% Anglo and there’s only couple ethnic teachers – two of whom we’ve enjoyed through our children.

While we want the best for our children like any other parent, there’s not a week that goes by when I don’t think about my immigrant and minority experience – and how this impacts my children.  For Minhee, it’s a very fresh experience since she only immigrated ten years ago.  I still remember a dinner conversation couple years ago when our oldest daughter J shared how kids were laughing at her ‘Chinese eyes.’  Minhee and I tried not to weep visibly but it was painful – not only because others were making fun of her but because she didn’t know that they were making fun of her…

How do we help our children to fully embrace who they are – as Koreans, as Asians, as Korean-American, as US citizens, as children of God, and as followers of Jesus Christ – in a larger culture that is dominated by the White Worldview?  How do we shape and nurture them to accept, care, and embrace others – that don’t look or think like them?

It’s for this reason that we attempt to share our ethnic identities with our church, our neighborhood, and our other communities.  I was unable to go but Minhee joined our oldest daughter’s third grade class last week to help educate them about Lunar New Year and Korean New Year.   I appreciate Minhee so much – not only because of her sincere faith and trust in Jesus but the manner in which she lives out her faith.

Long post simplified in one line:  We all owe it to our children (and to ourselves) to broaden their worldview…

Filed under: asian-american, justice, seattle

3 Responses

  1. anonymous says:

    thanks for sharing this eugene. i wholeheartedly agree.

  2. Tracy (Noah and Ari's mom) says:

    What a blessing to read this…keep on keepin on!

  3. james says:

    e: you are blessed! minhee is wonderful.

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