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The rice-paper-thin sense of community

Asians pride themselves on their strong sense of community, but I would suggest that for Asian-Americans, we do not have as strong a sense of community as we would like to think.

We are strongly tied to our families and perhaps our small circle of friends, but any connection to a larger sense of community is so thin, I would say it's non-existent, or perhaps, easily expendable. It is perhaps a product of our strong opportunistic origins, after all our parents came here sacrificing community for the future, and we have inherited that sense of opportunity as well. Simply put, we would easily sacrifice community for individual opportunity. Which is to say, we, as Asian-Americans, value community very little. Don't get me wrong, we value family a great deal, and certainly there are all kinds of guardrails to those relationships — i.e. a sense of guilt, obligation, fear, etc., but to the community, we invest little and we expect little. We are, as a whole, willing to sell out the group for the individual.

Sure, get defensive, talk about how we are still making roots in this land called America, how we are still discovering ourselves and establishing ourselves past the "model minority", blah blah blah, say whatever makes you feel better. But our individual success, and there has been much, has given back little. We are tight with our money. We are quick to evaluate our situations based primarily on dollars and cents. We are prototypical capitalists — efficient with relationships as with our stocks. We are not honing a sense of community, my fellow Asian-Americans, and until we do, don't expect our churches and faith to grow.


About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

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