In the Pursuit of Happiness

“Nobody really cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.”

-Cynthia Nelms-

UNALIEANABLE RIGHTS

There’s a clause in the U.S. Constitution that says one of the fundamental human rights is ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.’ According to linguists this aforementioned ‘unalienable sovereign right’ is the most well crafted phrase in the English language. How can we enjoy our entitlement to the good life, liberty from tyranny, and make an attempt to attain happiness if some segments within our society aren’t free to enjoy theirs?

You deny fundamental human rights to the few eventually these same rights will be denied society’s majority. Think: Nazi Germany (1933-1945), Soviet Russia (1917-1991, Peoples China (1949-present), the other totalitarian regimes including the one in Libya that was toppled only hours ago at the time of this writing. If one person’s God given rights are violated the many had best be prepared to loose theirs. Any ‘happiness’ denied marginalized minorities will eventually filter up through the favored majority.

Immigration is the first step in relocating to any country. Many APA’s (Asian Pacific Americans) and this includes Filipinos the most Americanized Asian ethnic group in the United States, are opposed to what they perceive as racist immigration laws. These strictures appear to be designed to keep certain peoples deemed as undesirable out. Racist laws also rein in immigrants who after maneuvering through the complicated legal system, by imposing so-called ‘glass ceilings’ that impede their progress. APA’S and Fil-Ams (Filipino-Americans) are prime targets.

Asian Americans comprise 14% of all students attending our nation’s top colleges and universities. Discriminatory laws keep the smartest APA’S from enrolling in these schools. To make matters worse, only a handful attend law schools the discipline needed to continue the civil rights struggle. And what about discrimination at the work place? How can anybody be happy if they aren’t permitted to achieve at levels within their capacity? The answer is THEY CAN’T.

HATE CRIMES

In spite of the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, hate crimes proliferate through American society. Whenever I read about African-American men being dragged to death bloody body parts strewn along lonely southern roads by truck loads of angry whites, or when Nazi swastikas are spray painted on Jewish monuments, how the Catholic Church is constantly attacked by a rabid liberal media over its real and imagined failings, or how Latino and Muslim Americans are perceived as lazy baby making ‘border jumpers’ subversives bent on destroying America through terrorism, I get frightened. As a tri-racial person I wonder when my time will come.

As the economic situation worsens hate inspired criminality will grow like wild weeds. Metaphorically speaking, the ‘white sheets’ (Klu Klux Klan) will come on as hate crimes regain ‘acceptance’ within our society. During the worst of the Great Depression of the 1930’s the number of African-Americans being lynched peaked. According to Berea College’s Charles Chestnut Archives a total of 4,743 people were lynched in the United States; 3,446 of them were Black. Some weeks ago there was a video of a controversial bake sale staged by the Young Republicans at UC Berkeley to open a debate on racism. The students who held the sale charged each racial group different prices for their baked goods. They did this to demonstrate the disparity in goods and services that exist in American society among the races.

How does this affect Chicago area Fil-Ams the Asian communities ‘model Americans?’ From my observations not much; Filipinos are considered a ‘safe bet’…for now. In the Mid-West Fil-Ams are pretty much integrated within mainstream America. The West Coast where there are Fil-Ams in appreciable numbers, things are different. Filipinos out West tend to identify with African-Americans and are treated in similar fashion by the white majority. More stringent laws against hate crimes are needed if all sectors within our society are to be truly equal under the law.

IMMIGRATION REFORM

A growing number of APA’s are urging the government to decrease the backlog of applicants for U.S. citizenship. They want to increase the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) budget and use it to help clear up the mess. I seriously doubt if ‘the pursuit of happiness’ is achievable if potential citizens don’t know where they stand legally. This and other problems faced by immigrants are a primary call for immigration reform. Reader if you want to learn more about the Immigration Reform debate and get involved here’s some vital information: Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigration Education-email: es[email protected] Their phone is: 1-312-534-5333. Ms. Elena Segura will be more than happy to answer all questions.

FAMILY REUNIFICATION

Every week my Filipina wife and I watch popular TFC Philippine-English program Citizen Pinoy. In case you’re not a TFC aficionado this program is mostly a collection of cases about Fil-Ams and their plight to bring over relatives from back home to the United States. It’s also about Fil-Ams who want to fix their Immigration status. You can search Citizen Pinoy by name over the Internet.

As I understand the current law still permits Fil-Ams to continue to sponsor their relatives to come over. However there are some in the corridors of political power who want this practice to stop. In my opinion I think it wouldn’t be to the best advantage of parties involved to bring this practice to a halt. A lot of good people will be adversely affected. Just this morning I was reading the ‘Chicago Tribune’ newspaper where it said that deportations are at an all time high; again Immigration Reform is vital.

GOVERNMENT BENEFITS

APA’S are reluctant to go on welfare though public assistance can mean the difference between life and death. This writer was on welfare for the first 14 years of his life. As soon I graduated high school and applied to a city college, my mother + God rest her soul + immediately and not a day sooner went to the ADC (ADIC) office and removed our family from its rolls!

With their extensive network of family and close friends, APA’S rarely rely on the public dole. Asian Pacific Americans want welfare and other government benefits to remain in place ‘just in case’ they may need them. Besides legal immigrants pay taxes and serve in the Armed Forces the latter being a fast track to Naturalization.

STANDARDIZED TESTINGS FOR APA’S

Asian Pacific Americans of varying ethnicities, traditionally ‘ace’ standardized tests. During my three plus decades as a teacher, Asian students in the schools I’ve worked generally walked away with handfuls (won many) of achievement awards, had the highest ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) scores per classroom, and either led or were among the top achievers in their classrooms. Thanks to hard-working success oriented parents APA’S come to school well prepared and ready to work unlike so many non-Asian American children many of whom consider school an extension of recess, gym, and party time.

I read an article somewhere where the writer said that Asian schools specialize in teaching their students to test well. I think that such skills can be useful despite that most if not all standardized tests are culturally biased in favor of White American males. There is also a growing belief among educators that these tests tend to downplay if not outright ignore the creative process. APA’S still test well in spite of this academic limitation.

The White dominated American educational institutions are aware of how well Asians test and are fearful and resentful. As a direct result the Federal government has awarded a walloping sum of $330,000,000 to two consortiums to develop a series of newer national examinations to ‘level the playing field.’ In this writer’s opinion standardized testing in theory is workable though there should be test sections that take into account the examinee’s racial and ethnic background. Since Mathematics and Science are universal, these test sections should merely be upgraded to a higher level but remain basically the same.

Another problem with standardized testing is that many critics, me included, know that just because some people are test smart don’t make them wise or even capable of doing the jobs they were tested for well. Many test taking types are some of the most dull, unimaginative and uncreative people on Planet Earth. They can’t think outside their test scores. Aforementioned academics have discovered that standardized tests kill creativity and innovation.

Your writer is one of the world’s worst test takers. There was never a standardized test I couldn’t flunk. I don’t get nervous; I’m not ‘test-shy,’ or a defeatist. I-just-don’t-test-well but you give me a ‘creative challenge’…BOOM! I got it! Again I repeat standardized tests stunt the creative process. Our schools have way too many ‘educated fools’ already. China and other Asian countries are beginning to distance themselves from ST’S in a big way; for the very same reasons I mentioned previously.

Distinguished Professor of Education Dr. Yong Zhao cited ‘the importance of arts education and nurturing individual talents and resiliency, all of which are damaged by the monolithic emphasis of high stakes testing.’ The Michigan State University educator further stated that China and other Asian countries are trying hard to distance themselves from standardized testing again for reasons mentioned. (Source: www.democraticunderground.com.)

APA’S AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Many of your ‘better’ (private universities) schools have legacy clauses. This means that when seeking admission to top notch schools students who’ve had alumni relatives (as in White) are given top priority. This practice can be discriminatory. Reader ask yourself how many Asian kids do you know or even heard of who had rich parents who went to Harvard, Yale, U of C, Cal Tech years ago? Same goes for Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. Minorities didn’t have the money (Many of us still don’t.) or were allowed to attend private schools. When I was going to high school back in the ‘bad old days’ (1950’s to mid-1960’s) Downtown Chicago stores would refuse to serve minorities! Those that did didn’t do it with a smile either. For us to even fantasize about going to ‘high toned’ Ivy League schools like Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Vassar was simply out of the question.

Research shows the widespread use of legacy admissions is what’s responsible for the artificially low admission rates for Asian Americans enrolled in top notch school. There is a particular dearth of APA’S in this country’s law schools. In contrast to perceptions that minority students receive a disproportionate amount of funding from affirmative action programs, recent data show that in fact, the vast majority of merit-based and private scholarships still go to White students.’ To learn more about Affirmative Action and Asians go to: www.asian-nation.org/affirmative-action. Go to Asian-Nation’s website my primary source site.

THE ‘SPRATLY AFFAIR’ REVISITED

I pride myself in being ‘the firstest with the mostest’ to borrow a good quote from a nefarious fellow (Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest-founder of the Klu Klux Klan). A few years ago I wrote an article about the Philippine’s claim on the oil rich Spratly Islands. China wants these islands in a bad way. A growing number of Fil-Ams want the Aquino government to act more aggressively towards China. The Palace should be very careful in handling China.

Of all the empires in human history that rose then fell China is the only super power that never lost its empire. The 19th and early 20th centuries were temporary setbacks for China. With their growing military and economic strengths the Chinese dragon is ‘back in the saddle again’ to borrow from that old Gene Autry cowboy classic. For the Philippines to mess with China, would be like a child who took a hammer and slammed it on an elephant’s sore toe; not a smart idea. It’s what Jesus said in the Bible about a king going to war with 10,000 troops against another king with 20,000; the king with the little army would be wise to work out a peace deal with the one with more soldiers before he become real serious about doing the little king in.

When I was researching this article I came across a comment made by a person who gave their opinion as to why we need China: ‘The U.S. needs China to buy our bonds. The Chinese own 20% of our T-Bonds. If they sold all of them the U.S. dollar would be dead as fried chicken. We must sacrifice something to China in exchange for all the trade they give us; the oil rich Spratly Islands would be a most generous gesture. Europe won’t support us. They have their own money issues with the EURO, Spain, Greece, and other poor members of the EU. China and the United States may or may not like each other but due to their interwoven economies they must remain on friendly terms to insure their mutual economic survival.’ Again as mentioned in many previous articles: MONEY TALKS! China will retain its most favorite nation status by virtue of it’s $$$$.

Reader I sincerely hope that you enjoyed this article and learned something from it but before I go let me leave you with a little something ‘The reason why they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.’ Reader, don’t get me ‘twisted’ (wrong). I love our great country but something is wrong and need fixing. Go to: George Carlin-The American Dream-You Tube and you can thank me later. Bye and GOD bless.

“No matter what other nations may say about the United States, immigration is still the sincerest form of flattery.”

-Clayton Cramer-


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