Open Thread: Happy Korean-American Day

Korean American Day on January 13 commemorates the arrival of the first Korean immigrants to the United States in 1903. The day also honors the Korean American’s immense contributions to every aspect of society.

In 1882, the United States and Korea signed a treaty establishing a relationship peace, friendship and commerce. While this led to Korean diplomats, students, politicians and businessmen visiting the United States, few felt compelled to stay.

It wasn’t until December of 1902 the SS Gaelic that 102 Korean immigrants set sail for Honolulu, Hawaii. These families initiated the first wave of Korean immigration resulting in over 7,500 immigrants over the next two years…

53 replies
  1. 1
    lollipopguild says:

    Gee, compare and contrast Obama and trump. We have gone from the penthouse to the shithouse.

  2. 2
    Mike J says:

    Speaking of Hawaii, I hope this is a sick joke or something:

  3. 3
    laura says:

    The current occupant is both a rebuke of the greatest President of my lifetime, but a rebuke of decency and civic community and humanity itself.
    Thanks Obama.

  4. 4
    debbie says:

    “Your people”? Can’t get more bigoted than that.

  5. 5
    debbie says:

    @Mike J:

    You and me both.

  6. 6
    laura says:

    @Mike J: Governor says false alarm

  7. 7
  8. 8
    MomSense says:

    My son’s SO is Korean American. Not sure if they are celebrating today.

  9. 9
    d58826 says:

    The sad thing is that people are just so sensitive today (and rightly so) that someone asking where your from out of simple curiosity is viewed as a racial slur. I understand why but it is still sad.

  10. 10
    Ryan says:

    It makes sense. Trump’s like, a smart person because he was born into wealth. Ergo, the staffer should obviously be working on Korea instead of Pakistan because she’s of Korean descent. Irrespective of education or experience. Is anyone surprised?

  11. 11

    One of my former colleagues is of Lebanese descent, and when he was asked where he was from, he’d truthfully say Toledo. They’d press, saying, no where are you from originally.

  12. 12
    dr. luba says:

    One of my best friends in med school was Chinese-American; her parents had immigrated. I’m Ukrainian-American; my parents were immigrants, too. When we went out together, only one of us was ever asked where she was from……

  13. 13
    oldster says:

    We were so, so lucky to have Obama for 8 years. What a gift he was.

    And now we learn that we also have Slate’s Jacob Weisberg to thank for Trump.

  14. 14
    Another Scott says:

    Great tweet. Thanks.


    Apropos of nothing, I’m just back from walking the little monster, Ellie. The TV is on in the background, showing some of the Sydney tennis stuff. An ad for Cook Island “Morgan Silver Dollars” was just on. “Clad with 71 mg of silver”. Originally $49, now Only $9.95 + S/H!!111″

    At today’s spot price of $17.20 per troy oz (according to the Google machine), that’s $0.0393 worth of silver.

    A bargain!11



  15. 15
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    I’m getting inspired to make buttons(badges) again.

  16. 16
    gene108 says:


    We went from Lincoln to Johnson in a much more fragile time for the nation and survived.

    We will get out of this too.


    In my experience, “where you from” can either be a general question people ask each other or racially motivated. It really depends on your take of the questioner.

    Even, if someone asks, “where are your parents from”, they could be fascinated by Asian culture and look at it as a way to break the ice and talk about something they think as mutual interest.

    In Trump’s case it is racially motivated because he is a racist.

    Probably the hardest part of the, “where are you from”, question is when folks expect you to explain a place you’ve only visited and have only cursory knowledge of.

  17. 17
    germy says:

    @oldster: Jacob Weisberg showed such restraint. He didn’t want to run with the story. Such a gentleman.

  18. 18
    Mike in NC says:

    What’s surprising is that Miller didn’t draft an Executive Order for Trump to sign, stating that all business and communications in the country had to be done in English only. It might still be on their “to do” list.

  19. 19
    d58826 says:

    @laura: But see how easy a mistake could escalate in a tense situation like the 38th parallel. In 1983 nuclear war was averted because a Russian officer took the time to double check something. That also was a time of heightened tension due to Saint Ronulus the Unready and his loose talk about nuclear war. Given the NK power structure there might not be any one around Kim who would be brave (or suicidal) enough to double check before pushing the button. Unfortunately there might not be anyone in DC either.

  20. 20
    Timurid says:

    @Ryan: This actually a thing in “liberal” academia. It’s accepted as conventional wisdom in History and other humanities fields that specialists in non-Western sub-fields are more employable if they are of the same race/ethnicity/nationality. The underlying assumption is that being similar in some way to the people you study gives you an inherent advantage (even if said people have been dead for hundreds of years). I was warned several times that being a Latino specializing in South Asian history was probably a poor career choice (and they weren’t wrong). That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw that story. Especially because earlier in the day I gave an introductory lecture to a freshman class, telling them that they should approach history with an open mind and that making those kind of assumptions is a bad idea (even if professionals in the field do it all the damned time).

  21. 21
    Timurid says:

    Got a post stuck in moderation for no obvious reason (no references to gambling, pharmaceuticals, etc.).

  22. 22
    scav says:

    There are a lot of children and grandchildren of immigrants who feel free to say “Go back to Africa!” to someone whose ancestors are pre-Revolutionary. An equal number of Iowa-born folk lancing “Wetbacks!” at descendents of the founders of Ranchos and Pueblos in California.

    That “really” in “really from” especially when linked to “you” is essentially a denial that you’re really an American — you’re allowed in on sufferance. (“What’s you ancestry?” is nosy, but less loaded.)

  23. 23
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:


    I am a 52 yo white protestant living in brooklyn. I think people with power are made “uncomfortable” when confronting our own privilege. But we have to get through that to the hard and messy conversations about the Dividing Lines in our society…

  24. 24
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    @d58826: I am a 52 yo white protestant living in brooklyn. I think people with power are made “uncomfortable” when confronting our own privilege. But we have to get through that to the hard and messy conversations about the Dividing Lines in our society…

  25. 25
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    Block quoted myself.

  26. 26
    VincentN says:


    The sad thing is that people are just so sensitive today (and rightly so) that someone asking where your from out of simple curiosity is viewed as a racial slur. I understand why but it is still sad.

    I’m Vietnamese American and wanted to address this. On the surface there’s nothing wrong with being curious about someone else’s cultural heritage, but it seems odd that, in my experience at least, only people of color ever really get the “but where are you (or your family) REALLY from?” treatment.

    I have never pressed a white person after they told me they’re from Ohio or California because I don’t care if their family is originally from Germany or wherever unless they bring it up themselves or it’s somehow relevant to the conversation. How does my knowing this information change anything?

    For whatever reason many white people seem fascinated by knowing what a non-white person’s ethnicity is. Again, I don’t really consider this racist (in the strong sense) because it’s usually not asked maliciously (more like cluelessly). It’s really a desire to learn about different cultures without considering maybe both of your cultures are the same (i.e., raised in America).

    But if you really want to have this conversation then bring up your own cultural heritage first then ask me where my family is from. We can definitely have a good talk about how our parents raised us differently or the different types of food we enjoy, but don’t just suddenly ask me where I’m from then get frustrated when I reply, “Washington State.”

  27. 27
    oldster says:


    Yeah, this new bit of information makes me much more ready to believe that Weisberg will show up on a list of Shitty Media Men.

    I mean–I know nothing about the guys sexual ethics.

    But one thing that we have learned is that there was a very high correlation between being a serial harrasser/abuser/rapist and abusing your power to prevent Hillary from getting elected.

    Now we know that Weisberg abused his power, and violated the most basic tenets of journalistic responsibility, in order to prevent Hillary from getting elected.

    We’ll see how the rest of the correlation plays out.

  28. 28
    HeleninEire says:

    @RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp): Hey girl saw your note on the other thread. Thanks ks and nice to see you. Hope you’re well.

  29. 29
    raven says:

    @VincentN: I don’t know, I spent a year in Vietnam and a year in Korea and I’m always interested if folks are from, or have relatives, in places where I was. I had a nice conversation with a Vietnamese couple on a plane to LA this summer. The gentleman said he’d gone back once and didn’t know if he’d go back, it just wasn’t home anymore.

  30. 30
    patrick II says:

    @VincentN: I am going to say a word for stupid old white men here. When I was young (1960’s) only about 0.5 of the population was made up of Asians, and a pretty high percentage of those lived in the cities and particularly Chinatown . If we saw an Asian somewhere else he was probably traveling . So we thought, usually correctly, that he/she had been born somewhere else. Times change. Due to changes in immigration laws, the war in Vietnam , and the fact that even Mainland Communist Chinese were allowed to immigrate starting in the 8o’s Asian people make up over 5.5% of America’s population today. And , of course, since this started in the sixties many of those people had children and many of their children had children most are born here and are natural born American citizens. Time passes, but not everyone adjusts and some make the mistake of asking where you are from.
    Of course this doesn’t excuse the Donald, who even after he was told still insisted she should be talking to the North Koreans, But still,, the world moves on pretty fast and some of us, even when well meaning, have trouble keeping up.

  31. 31
    gene108 says:


    Asking where you are from is okay. When you say, I am from NYC, but the questioner did not get the answer he/she wanted, because you are clearly not white, you have to judge the angle of the questioner.


    Good comment.

  32. 32
    opiejeanne says:

    @VincentN: But where in Washington state?


  33. 33
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    @VincentN@HeleninEire: Hi!!!!!

  34. 34
    VincentN says:


    Like I said, it’s fine to be curious. And it’s fine if you bring up the question in the context of discussing your own heritage and/or travels.

  35. 35
    Another Scott says:

    @patrick II: Good points. Thanks.

    (Who still has to do a nanosecond double-take sometimes about a bottle of Coke costing more than 10 cents, but never heard of the want of a 7.5 cent coin.)

  36. 36
    Aimai says:

    @d58826: thats a bit backwards. It is not that “some people” are “so sensitive”—like they are misunderstanding— it is that in their experience the question is often alienating and hostile. I am interested in people and where they are from but just because I mean “what US city” doesn’t mean they haven’t been asked the same question by someone else with hostile motives five minutes before I ask.

  37. 37
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    I work in the restoration/construction field. We have been having some good conversations about gender dynamics/sexual harassment/sexualization. Poco a poco. Step by step.

  38. 38
    VincentN says:

    Or to summarize my earlier long post:

    Being from a minority population naturally invites curiosity. But there are ways to indulge that curiosity without making the other person feel like some exotic outsider who isn’t really from here just like you are.

    I actually haven’t encountered that too often in my life because most people are normal and friendly and know how social interaction works, but it’s extremely jarring when it does happen.

  39. 39
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    @Aimai: Thank you for articulating that so well.

  40. 40
    RedDirtGirl (AKA IvankaThrowUp) says:

    Somewhere I read an analogy that helped explain to men the burden of constant, unwanted (sexualized) attention.
    Imagine that every day strangers (and non-) ask you for spare change. Relentlessly. Aggressively. With a sense of entitlement. They can be friendly, but often they are not. And they are stronger than you.
    One of our commenters has written something about this…but I can’t remember where I saw it., perhaps?
    Emily H.? You around?

  41. 41
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    So, are Trump’s racial view so out of date he thinks Asians only do laundry and doesn’t even rise to Right Wing stereotype of math nerds?

  42. 42
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @d58826: It might not be that dire, likely Cherl or Adam no better but the North Korea is using the Chines system the missiles are in harden tunnels in mountains, need to pulled out and fueled before launch.

  43. 43
    retiredeng says:

    @debbie: “Your people” – Reminds me of Margaret Cho’s “Asian chicken salad” rant.

  44. 44
    Kay says:

    Oh, God, the “where are you FROM?” question. He’s really a moron. How did this guy function in society for 70 years with such clueless bad manners? Forget “government”. Why was this okay in business?

    It’s thoughlessness. The literal definition of the word. Not a THOUGHT towards others.

    Notice the lovely transactional nature of his dumb-ass questioning. You see a person standing there. Trump sees some vessel for his own benefit. “What’s in it FOR ME?” That’s the lizard brain response from the spoiled, coddled toddler.

  45. 45
    gene108 says:


    How did this guy function in society for 70 years with such clueless bad manners?

    Dad’s money / nepotism paved his way. You think, when he has helping dad with apartments in Queens, any of the workers could tell Donny “no, you are wrong”?

    He is an arrogant privileged spoiled brat.

  46. 46
    Van Buren says:

    Well, I’m pretty much the stereotypical Scandinavian in appearance, so if he wants to appoint me Ambassador to Denmark, I’ll at least listen…

  47. 47
    Dextrous says:

    The question is an expression of a hierarchical mindset. The questioner wants to slot you into the proper sub-American level in their mind. They need to fit you into a stereotyped box they have created for “people like you,” as if your superficial physical characteristics explains the “kind of person” you are. It is also an unsubtle way to let you know they do not consider you American, because “real” Americans look white, or they may allow black too. It is a question arising from inferiority and touched by malice, and I treat it with the contempt it deserves.

  48. 48
    gene108 says:


    Thinking about it, President is probably the first job he’s ever held down that he is not the unquestioned boss of the organization/company.

  49. 49
    Adria McDowell says:

    Timothy ‘Dum Dum’ Dugan: [looks at Jim Morita while asking Captain America] What, are we taking everybody?

    Jim Morita: I’m from Fresno, Ace.

    ETA: Not necessarily about a Korean, but you get the point.

  50. 50
    Kay says:


    Normal people don’t say “pretty lady” at work anymore, either. I live in the middle of fucking no where and no one talks like this, because it’s isn’t 1974. Again, I’m not talking about reaching “Presidential standards”. He doesn’t reach “competent manager at the car rental place” standards. Yet. Still. Somehow he was taken seriously as a business person for fifty years in one of the most sophisticated cities in the US.

    Wow. That “white, inherited wealth man” thing packs a real punch, I must say! It seems to completely blind people to quality.

  51. 51
    Kay says:


    I saw conservatives on Twitter last night defending Trump’s world view by comparing his rude, thoughtless outbursts to Nixon and LBJ.

    Nixon was born in 1913. LBJ? 1910. They literally came out of a time WAY further back than Trump. Trump was born in 1946.

    Donald Trump was so coddled, so protected from reality, that he missed 30+ years of national progress on race and gender. He has the same archaic, backwards views that his father had. He didn’t have to learn anything. So he didn’t.

    He may as well have spent his adult life sealed in a time capsule. Now THAT’S privilege.

    LBJ and Nixon, born well before Donald Trump, and neither privileged or given the same advantages as Trump, changed and progressed within their lifetimes. Donald Trump? No growth at all.

  52. 52
    J R in WV says:

    I just want to say something about the US Ambassador to Panama, who resigned effective in a few weeks because he can no longer follow Trump’s policy lead. An honorable thing to do, and a political statement as well. Congrats to him!

  53. 53
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    “Specialists” is your trigger word there.

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