Yesterday I was really thinking about the immigrant population. The people who own the Package Store in Little 5 Points are Asian. (Chinese or Korean? Not sure.) Seeing them makes me think “Of course Asians would invest in a liquor store in this neighborhood. It’s a steady business.” And it finally hit me that, other than Mexicans, Asians make up a decent number of illegal immigrants in this country. Does this occur to everyone else? Have I just completely missed that these past few years?
Go to Queens, New York, or drive down Buford Highway outside the perimeter here in Atlanta. Mexicans and Asians live side by side in the lowest income areas. People don’t think of Asians as part of the working/lower class because the prominent Asians are business people. A high school friend of mine pointed out to me years ago that there’s very little Asian representation in our government. And think about it: Barack Obama = prominent African-American politician. Bill Richardson = prominent Latino politician. Every other president = prominent white politician. Herman Cain = prominent African-American politician. When you’re talking about minorities being represented in government, where are the Asians?
I feel like people assume Asians are just truckin’ along alright because they’re good at math and business and don’t cause a ruckus. But it’s not true. I’d also guess that Mexicans tend to be highlighted more as the illegal immigrants because there’s a racist component behind it. People don’t seem to be as inclined to say “Why are all the Asians doing our laundry and our nails and selling us booze and working in restaurants?” Asians just don’t make themselves as visible, and as a result, non-supporters of immigrant rights target Mexicans because they make themselves heard.
But what if Asians did start to make themselves heard? What if the Asian communities across the country started rallying at protests as well? Does anyone remember the story about the Chinese immigrant who was released from detention in New Jersey, and then had to make his way back to the East Village in NYC? I can’t find the article right now, but that was quite a story for about a week. But since then, has the Asian community continued to make themselves heard?
Anyway, so that’s my two cents.