South Korea? Trump’s ‘Where Are You From’ Moment
Donald Trump doesn’t shy away from his blatant racism. During a recent Q&A session, Joseph Choe, an American born Asian-American questioned the Republican presidential candidate on his facts and blanket statements regarding countries that the United States subsidizes defense costs for.
As Choe approached the microphone, technical difficulties occurred, prompting Trump to get testy.
“Harvard?” Trump asked. “You go to Harvard?”
“He’s choking!” Trump jabbed. Choe finally started to ask his question.
“Basically, you said that South Korea takes advantage of the United States in terms of the defense spending on the Korean Peninsula,” he began. “I just want to get the facts straight.”
Trump interrupted him mid statement.
“Are you from South Korea?” he wondered aloud.
“I’m not,” Choe said. “I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado.”
Trump went on a rant about how the United States defends multiple countries and gets nothing in return.
He tried to go on, but wound up not getting out a question, but a statement instead. “No matter where I’m from, I like to get my facts straight,” Choe said before being cut off.
Choe, a 20-year-old economics major whose parents were born in Korea, told NPR after the event that one of the main reasons he went to the convention was to ask Trump a question.
“I don’t care who you are, whether you’re the prime minister or Donald Trump, if you say something factually wrong or do something factually wrong, I’ll call you out on it,” Choe said. “[Trump] makes all these, like, weird accusations, whether it’s toward Mexicans or women, or South Koreans; I just wanted to call him out on that.”
A fellow conference attendee who walked by Choe joked, “You’re gonna have to show him your birth certificate, man!”
Choe laughed it off. But questioning where someone is from can be loaded for Asian-Americans, said Jennifer Lee, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine who studies race, immigration and culture.
There’s an implied sense of foreignness in how Trump treated Choe, Lee said.
“It seems like this innocuous question, like people are just asking your identity,” Lee said, “but they’re really challenging this idea of who is American, which is, at the core, an offensive question. It’s this persistent perception that Asian-Americans are not American, that they are perpetual foreigners.”
As far as Choe goes, he said he’s not supporting Trump for president in 2016, but he wants him to know, “I’m as American as it gets.”
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Photo credit: All Today.