Posted by Chris Zaharias, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Mar 11, 2013 at 1:53 pm
Chris Zaharias is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
Successful immigration & integration into any region on earth consists of the following occurring:
1) immigrant arrives, not yet linguistically or culturally assimilated, suffers from racism as a result;
2) next generation grows up in host nation's language & culture, thus becomes culturally assimilated, and racism decreases as a result;
3) immigrant succeeds
This was true for Polish, German, Irish, Italian, Greek, Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese and other immigrant populations going back 150+ years.
I won't debate your claim of racism, but I do think Palo Alto is one of the *least* racist places you'll find in the United States. Nor will I disagree with you that our social welfare practices make little sense when viewed from the certain valid perspectives.
I respect you for starting this discussion, and please know that there are many of us long-time Palo Altans who *want* you to enter into the civic discussion - do not be scared.
The reality, in my humble opinion, is that we are genetically engineered to be racist (all of us, regardless of ethnicity) and that shared experiences, culture and language over time DO diminish racism, so you have that to look forward to.
I question your overall strategy, though. Are you not creating the problems you're complaining of, by *choosing* to come here, force yourself to live in perhaps the most expensive city in California, leaving your children here alone, and returning to China? Not knowing the particulars, I would assume you've chosen Palo Alto because it is a good place for your children to live and be educated in, correct? If that's indeed the case, then [putting aside your claims of racism] it would appear that it is your own conscious desire to give this level of education to your children that is creating the difficult situation you find yourself in.
From the perspective of a long-time Palo Alto resident (mine), I would like to share my perspective, which is quite different from your own:
Real estate: I am not aware of any premium that Chinese citizen buyers must pay. In fact, I believe the opposite is true given that very often mainland Chinese pay all cash, which gives them an advantage over cash + loan buyers. Likewise, do not assume renters consider it a privilege to rent; in my case, for example, I've been renting in PA for 4 years, but would LOVE to buy. I cannot, though, in no small part because the type of home I'd want to buy is precisely the type of home buyers such as yourself wish to acquire.
Coaching: I assume you mean academic coaching. Language help is one thing, but I'm not sure I understand why you complain of academic coaching when it is a *choice* you are making to go beyond what our fine public school system provides. Can you elaborate and tell me what type of coaching you refer to and why you consider it a disproportionate burden to have to have voluntary coaching?
Tiger mother: you are correct that most, but not all, Americans (and most Palo Altans, myself included) are aware of the 'Tiger Mom' concept, and are generally of the opinion that it is a real phenomenon. Chinese-Americans themselves refer to this and say it exists, so I'm not sure why it is racist.
I do hope that as cultures meet here in Palo Alto we can have more and more discussion. Thank you for posting.