Wednesday, August 26, 2009

John Liu Candidate Extraordinaire


Last week, candidate John Liu was dissected in the main stream press about a TV ad. The ad portrayed Liu speaking about his experience working in a sweatshop as a child. The press challenged the authenticity of that ad and his mother's hesitant portrayal of the content.

Liu's mother came forward at a press conference this week. She tearfully detailed the experience of their ordeal. Both she and John wept openly.

The press has failed to understand the subtle nuances of Asian culture. And for that matter, the culture of other minorities in a similar plight. It has been a long standing tradition for poor minority mother to bring their children to their workplace. There is the lack of an extended family system to care for these children and there is a lack of funds for daycare or babysitters. Once these children are at the work site, they are frequently given small tasks to perform.

John Liu's mother had a dream for her son. When he accomplished those goals, she chose to downplay those days in the sweat shop. Selective memory takes many forms for immigrants.
From the anglicizing of names, to the assimilation into American culture. Thus, the criticism and demand for withdrawal of his ads is not only insulting but ignorant as well. It speaks to the homogeneous pool of reporters and their knowledge of groups outside of their "daddy subsidizes my rent" yuppie status. Perhaps they should spend more time, in "da hood" instead of Starbucks.

There is a wonderful Native American saying: "Don't judge a man until you have walked a mile in his moccasins." The message to the main stream media is that there are Asian, Latino, and Black children out there who do sweat in sweat shops. John Liu was one of them.
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