Good/Bad on Obama’s Election

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As an Asian American, I honestly do not believe that Obama’s election marks a huge positive shift in race relations in America (“Asian Americans React to Obama’s Historic Election,” Nov. 14). The election of Obama is basically a protest vote by whites against a collapsing American economy.

However, I agree it is a good sign that there are some Asian Americans on his transition team. In terms of international relations, especially trade relations with Asia and China in particular, I believe it would be beneficial. The racism and bias toward Asian Americans here in America has translated into disrespect toward Chinese leaders like Hu Jintao.

Robert Chin
Norfolk, Va., Nov. 12

Tolerance Has Its Limits
Nobody would dispute the historical significance of Obama’s win for the presidency (Emil Amok, Nov. 7). People from all over the world are applauding what just a few years ago was deemed impossible.

But for Emil to say there is still a lot of bigotry just because Californian voters voted against gay marriage is preposterous. Since 73 percent of black Americans voted against it, will he now have the courage to call them bigots?

Emil, you cannot have it both ways. Tolerance, like freedom, has its limits. You cannot invoke discrimination under the guise of seeking equal rights simply because the vast majority of Americans know what marriage is and you and your homosexual friends demand everybody redefine it.

Leovegildo Gonzales
New Smyrna Beach, Fl., Nov. 6

Watada Deserves Our Respect

Thanks for Andy Noguchi’s great article on 1st Lt. Ehren Watada’s case (Voices From the Community, Nov. 7).

Mr. Noguchi writes about the controversy with balanced, clear-headed analysis, looking objectively at all sides of the issue. He gives fair and proper respect to the Japanese American soldiers who fought and those who refused to fight in World War II. In so doing, he recognizes the no-win dilemma of soldiers trapped in an immoral and unjust situation.

Our country should have let the Japanese American citizens of that day out of the internment camps immediately. Likewise, Lt. Watada has served his time, been vindicated by a federal judge appointed by George W. Bush and should now be released from the Army immediately.

Michael Wong
San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 10

Lt. Watada’s rationale appears to me to be logical and irrefutable. It takes indomitable courage to stand up and say no to the war in Iraq, which most people were hoodwinked into supporting at the time. Sadly, this profile in courage was not recognized, as most people are passive or apolitical.

We must not lose sight of the fact that Lt. Watada’s dissent is an Act of Faith in Democracy. It is a higher form of patriotism than your usual banal rituals and misguided adulations. Rather than the stereotypical passivity and silence, Lt. Watada should be commended by the Asian American community for his courage under fire.

Henry Y. Mar
Oakland, Calif., Nov. 14

More on Prop 8
Why do Asian Americans feel the need to support homosexuals so passionately, as if their success would somehow also mean our success in our ideas, beliefs and values (Beyond Borders, Nov. 7)?

Vote yes or no, but the end result does not matter: Homosexuals will neither come out to vote for Asians nor would they care about the issues we hold dear as Asian Americans. In fact, they may come out and vote against us. In my experience, many homosexuals I have met are racists and bigoted against minorities of color. Ironic, isn’t it?

I do not see how a proposition for homosexual marriage can cause uproar in the Asian American community. Issues like these keep dividing us, making us ineffective as a political bloc vote.

Frank Tai
Houston, Texas, Nov. 9

People seem to bring their personal beliefs and feelings into this proposition, but this is a legal issue and should be looked at as such. Once you have done that, you will find that the law has established separate is not equal. It is that simple. We should always do the right thing, no matter if it’s at the state, federal or personal level. Prop 8 is discrimination no matter how you spin it.

Choon Kiat Chong
San Francisco, Calif., Nov. 12

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