“I congratulate you and your people”

“I congratulate you and your people” - Grassley

In a Congressional hearing to confirm President Biden’s nominee to the 9th US Circuit of Appeals, US Senator Grassley welcomed the Honorable Lucy H. Koh by saying, “If I’ve learned anything from Korean people, it’s a hard work ethic. And how you can make a lot out of nothing”. Then he added a special slap of privilege, “So, I congratulate you and your people”. 

Ouch! 

“Cringeworthy, insulting, obtuse: There are many words that accurately describe Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s remarks on Wednesday to Lucy Koh, a Korean American judicial nominee to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.” This from the CNN article, How Chuck Grassley’s ‘work ethic’ and ‘your people’ comments to Korean American judicial nominee perpetuate harmful model minority myth here

When I heard Senator Grassley’s comments, I was upset but I wasn’t surprised. He may think he’s complimenting Judge Koh, but his not so hidden message is to tell Koh that she is an outsider, not a real American.

More from CNN: “Hard work ethic. A lot out of nothing. You and your people. Swiftly, Grassley’s comments set off backlash, with many pointing out that the senator had conjured the corrosive, age-old “model minority” myth. Not only does this timeworn narrative strip Asian Americans of dimension and demographic complexity. It also creates conflict between racial groups and makes invisible the very real exclusion and prejudice that Asian Americans face. Presumably, Grassley meant no offense with his statements, crass as they were. “His intent was to be complimentary, not to insult anyone,” per communications director Taylor Foy, who mentioned that the senator’s daughter-in-law is Korean American.” 

It is painfully ironic that in a confirmation hearing for Judge Koh to continue serving the US, Grassley sends her the clear message that this, actually, is not her country. The hidden messages carried by microaggressions are hurtful.

In our course, Disarming Microaggressions, Dr. Sue tells his own story of a lifetime of being told, “You speak English so well,” or asked, “Where are you from?”. And this is why they are so hurtful and sometimes not obvious. It’s important to learn how to identify the hidden message in order to be able to speak up and interrupt them. Dr. Sue is one of the leading experts in microaggressions – you can Test Drive the course here

Read the full article here

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