Watching the inauguration of Barack Obama. I was a Hillary Clinton supporter and so he was my second choice…but shit, I am broken down in tears and filled with inspiration right now. This is historic. HISTORIC, people.
I never thought in my entire lifetime, that we would elect a person of color as President in America. NEVER.
And my father, who arrived on the shores of America in 1969 and faced racism that he still hasn’t been able to detail to me…but the kind of racism that made him take me as an infant to a school and ask, “How can I raise my daughter so she doesn’t have an accent like I do?” The administrator, in a quandary over such a request in 1974 said, “Don’t teach her a word of English, I will teach her English.”
Such that English, despite my birth in the U.S., is my second language, taught to me by an African American preschool teacher who had no trouble with her “r’s” and “l’s” and “b’s” and “v’s.” So my English is not my parents’ English but the English from a surrogate parent of language. And perhaps from another teacher, I got my peculiar country pronunciation of words like “produce” (praw doos) and “guitar” (geeed tar) and “insurance” (IN surance). (Wait. Those are pretty big words for a four year old. Maybe I picked that shit up later when I moved to California! Eeee). So I was despite all efforts, ironically, not immune to accents. So that at least on the phone, no one could tell I was Asian.
He didn’t think, he said to me, that America would elect a person of color as President of America in his lifetime.
This is the same man who firmly believes that North and South Korea will reunite. And a man who thought that that would happen before today.
I am crumpled in tears, thinking about the long road–and even if you didn’t vote for Barack Obama, even if you preferred John McCain who I highly respect and someone who could have had my vote, you have to concede that this is day of great history, and you have to sense the inspiration and imagination of children broadening EVERYWHERE. They will have a different life than I did growing up, and I cannot wait to see the long road ahead.
I am so proud of our nation.
And here are a few words from Margaret Cho on today’s inauguration. Margaret Cho is a fellow Korean American woman whose parents also told her this could not really be her country because she was not white (my father told me the exact same thing with bitter strength, bracing me for his experience of America) and who was also a former Hillary Clinton supporter.