Thursday, May 03, 2007

A student or a south korean student

One point All things Considered made on the recent virginia tech tragedy, I very much appreciated.

After the recent tragedy in Virginia Tech, the host compared headlines in the US vs overseas, and whereas most foreign press headlines in UK, France, Bangkok, etc. reported the event as "South Korean Student ..." most American headlines reported the event as "Student..." And expressed it as another example where the international press just doesn't understand the US.

It has always been a personal project of mine when traveling to ask visible minorities (often Chinese, as often can more easily converse) in places like Australia, Italy, or France, and ask if they feel Australian, Italian or French, and typically the answer is an incredulous "of course not" "what a silly question!" Though for me, the answer was always easy. Though it is far from perfect in the US (and I had to fight for it at a forum for multiculturalism at MIT), I, like the headline writers, have no problem leaving the pre-hyphenated part of -American out.
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