"So where are you from?"
"I'm from Pennsylvania."
"No, where are you really from?"
If I were to count the number of times I've had this exchange over the years, I think I would need a few more hands. Seems like an innocuous-enough question, right? It was a pretty normal question to me, as well; that is, until I realized the underlying premise of the inquiry. It was almost a suggestion that because I am only half-Caucasian, I couldn't possibly just be from America. I had to hail from the country that is my other half, Korean, though I've never lived there in my life.
This is a question that countless other people in America are asked in daily conversation. And though this may be a different type of racism from what we see from abominable events like Charlotsville, it is still a type of racism nonetheless. The problem with this type of racism, dubbed a microagression, is not only that it is pervasive in everyday encounters, but also that it indicates an underlying belief of a significant number of people in America. It is the belief that if you are not of a certain race or look a certain way, you must not be an American.
But it is not your race or how you look that determines who you are or from the place you call home. And a step we can take to face the issue of race in this country is to begin to redefine the notion of an American. We are, and have always been, a conglomeration of different people, different cultures, different races. We have no one race, for we encompass them all. We must start to see people in this country, regardless of how they look or what their race may be, as who we all equitably are: Americans.
Tell New York Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer to protect the DREAMers.