On the killing of Michael Brown and the Ferguson riots

On August 19, Jay Kim appeared on News Y to discuss the killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri and the protests and riots that followed the killing.

He talked about various issues on Ferguson such as the racial distribution of the population and the police there, the state government’s response to riots, the excessive armament of the police, the possibility of the riots spreading to other regions, the racial discrimination of the police, damage to Korean-American stores in the area, and President Obama’s returning to vacation after holding meetings at the White House concerning Ferguson.



Shaming the homeland

The islands of Puerto Rico, located near the Dominican Republic, are home to nearly 4 million Hispanics.

On Nov. 4 1993, there was a national referendum in Puerto Rico for its citizens to decide whether it should maintain its current status as a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States, gain total independence, or become the 51st state.

The result of the referendum was that Puerto Ricans chose to remain as an unincorporated U.S territory. Not long after, I expressed my opinion in a newspaper that Koreans would have voted for independence by an overwhelming margin if there had been such a vote in Korea. After my opinion was published, I received many letters of protest from Puerto Ricans living in the U.S, criticizing me for strongly defending their fellow countrymen living in Puerto Rico. Those living in the U.S., could not allow any disparaging remarks on their homeland, no matter how big or small. Their love for their homeland was so great.

When I came to the U.S. alone in the early 1960s, I could take the racial discrimination that I got for being Asian. But I could not take it when Americans looked down on me for being from Korea, a country they thought as very poor, undeveloped, and full of thieves. At that time, many female Korean students pretended to be from Japan. They did so because they were too ashamed of being Korean. At least the Japanese were treated with some dignity and respect, since their country was making brilliant progress and was the richest country in Asia. I still remember those days vividly. I felt that the status of Koreans in the U.S. was closely related to their relative power of their homeland: if Korea lacks power, Koreans living in the U.S. are also looked down on by other Americans. The reason why immigrants from some countries do not have much power in the U.S. is that their nations are neither powerful, nor wealthy. Korea was considered poor for many decades after the Korean War.

But now that Korea has become an economic power, Koreans can proudly declare where they are from country without feeling any shame. This is all thanks to the sacrifices and hard work of past generations that made Korea what it is today.

With this in mind, it is hard to understand why Koreans in the U.S. held protests in the downtown areas of New York and Los Angeles. These protesters criticized the Korean government and the ruling party on the Lee Seok-ki case, who was charged for plotting an insurrection against the government. Pickets that read “Lee Seok-ki Not Guilty, Down NIS (National Intelligence Service), Out Park Geun-hye,” were seen. How in the world did this happen? Their statement said that they strongly denounced the Park Geun-hye administration for allegedly fabricating the insurrection conspiracy and the prosecution for its lack of political neutrality. They added they would continue their fight together with civil organizations in Korea and overseas Koreans throughout the world to achieve the dissolution of NIS and the immediate resignation of President Park and her administration. It is frustrating to listen to these critics.

These Korean-Americans are spitting in their own faces by shouting slogans in New York and Los Angeles demanding the acquittal of Lee Seok-ki and the resignation of President Park in New York and Los Angeles. Americans do not know who Mr. Lee is. It is also strange that these people demand President Park to step down, as her popularity is currently at an all-time high in the U.S.

Lee Seok-ki is, according to the judiciary of his trial, the person who committed unpardonable acts such as rejecting the Republic of Korea and inciting insurrection against it, following the revolutionary doctrines of North Korea while being a member of the National Assembly. On the other hand, if a member of U.S. Congress incited insurrection, that person would pay an enormous price. Those who would defend the person’s innocence would also have a hard time avoiding punishment for contempt of the court. No matter how the U.S. might be the land of the free, we Korean-Americans should restrain ourselves. It is not proper for us to hold protests to insult the ruling of the judicial branch and demand the resignation of its president, even if we do not agree with the judicial judgment or the president’s policy.

I am even more ashamed to hear that another $50,000 advertisement demanding the truth of the Sewol disaster will be placed in the U.S. press again. They have already raised $35,000. How about sending the money to the victims’ families instead? No American would read or agree with their criticism against the Korean government during the previous $50,000 advertisement. I hope that they would not waste huge amounts of money a second time. Let’s not throw away our love for the motherland, as even though we live in the U.S, Korean blood flows through our veins.


Joint Program with Korea Daily D.C. Announced

185122611On August 6, Jay Kim’s Politics and Economy Academy and Korea Daily Washington D.C. agreed to strengthen their cooperation.

Starting next year, the academy and Korea Daily will run together a U.S. training program that introduces its students to U.S. politics and history through a visit to U.S. Congress and other activities.

The academy was established in Seoul in 2012 to foster leadership and advance Korean politics and economy.



Impeachment movement against Obama

U.S. President Obama is facing his worst crisis to date. His popularity among Americans has been continuously dropping below 40 percent, and recently some conservative groups have openly called for his impeachment. A more surprising fact is that, according to a recent poll, one-third of Americans support this proposal. The reason for the impeachment call is that more than 57,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the U.S. border illegally over the past seven months, and the president has shown an inability to handle such a national crisis. The children are mostly from countries such as Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. As the political unrest in these countries adds to social unrest through murder threats and drug crimes, people are sending their young children unaccompanied to cross the U.S. border to seek a better life and safety. This is causing an inhumane situation, a serious problem of children wandering around the U.S. without their parents.

In fact, the problem of immigration is not a new issue in the U.S.

The assassination of President Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on Nov. 22 1963, stunned the American people. Then-Vice President Johnson succeeded the presidency, and, after finishing the remaining one year of Kennedy’s term, he ran for president and won the election by an overwhelming margin. Not long after Johnson took over the presidency, he signed the famous Civil Rights Act in 1964. Though Johnson signed the bill, it was actually initiated by President Kennedy.

Before the act, the U.S. used an immigration quota system. Under this, 80 percent of the total amount of immigration allowed per year was for European Caucasians, followed by around 5 percent for South Americans and Asians, and almost none for Africans. The quotas for Europeans were left unused, while Asians competed fiercely for a small quota. Koreans who wished to come to America had to give up on the immigration option; obtaining a student visa was the only way for them to come to the U.S. The Civil Rights Act completely eliminated the racially driven quota system.

Even after the door was opened for Hispanics and Asians, it was still difficult for Hispanics and Asians to cross the border. America has been the land of dreams for young Asians and Hispanics. It was relatively easier for young Mexicans seeking the American dream to illegally cross the border than Asians. The illegal border crossing increased rapidly in countries, such as Mexico, that share their borders with the United States.

Now children are coming in flocks to the U.S. without their parents. How could one argue to send them back to a land of death from which they are escaping? Many people argue that the U.S., a country that especially takes humanitarian principles seriously, cannot simply neglect the young children wandering about without their guardians. But this view is sharply opposed by those who claim that, realistically, the U.S. cannot deal with several thousands of children crossing the border every day. Some people also claim that it is hard to estimate the number of children that have snuck into the U.S. without getting caught. This is why even Hispanic Americans, who played a major role in Obama’s reelection, have turned their backs on Obama now, criticizing his incompetence.

As the issue has turned into an urgent problem, Obama requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding from Congress to enhance border security, to expand detention centers for illegal minors, to expedite their legal processes, and to provide financial aid for home countries of children who will be deported. The concern of conservatives is not that deporting these children will send the wrong message that the U.S. is a welfare paradise, even though sending them back to their countries will be criticized as inhumane. Conservatives claim that money should be spent on the deportation of the children that crossed the border illegally. Some of them claim that the National Guard should be fully mobilized to crack down on illegal border crossing. Others are demanding Obama’s resignation, calling for the impeachment of Obama, who asks for emergency funds again after already using up a huge budget on free medical services for illegal immigrants. A few days ago, the state convention of South Dakota’s Republican Party passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of Obama.

In the last presidential election, Obama and the Democratic Party campaigned on giving permanent residency to illegal aliens without criminal records who obey the law in the U.S. That was a more tolerant policy toward illegal immigration. The Republican Party opposed this strongly. In the end, Obama was reelected, defeating the Republican candidate, Mitt Romney, by getting the support of 75 percent of Hispanics, who have a vested interest in the issue of illegal immigration. But now he is in a serious crisis for this very immigration policy that helped his reelection.

Now over 45 percent of Hispanics oppose Obama, and the House Republicans have voted to sue Obama for exceeding his executive powers. A bigger problem for him is that there does not seem to be a good solution to this crisis.

The Value of a Korean-American PAC: Korean Daily Interview

Jay Kim assessed the Korean American Grassroots Conference, which was held recently, as an encouraging sign for improving the political power of Korean-Americans.

He said that it was important for Korean-American grassroots activists to join forces, regardless of their party affiliations, to increase the political power of Korean-Americans, and that it was about time for Korean-Americans to form a political action committee (PAC) to convey their opinions to politicians through legitimate political funds.

Citing trem201801675endous Jewish influence over American politics through AIPAC as an example, he emphasized the importance of raising political funds to gain influence in Congress.

Kim pointed out the limits of individualistic tendencies in some of Korean-Americans’ fundraising activities, saying that such activities would not have much effect at the federal level, thought they might work at a local level.

He also advised that movements to increase voter registration and voting by Korean-Americans should not be neglected, since politicians analyze demographic information of their districts and the voting rates and behaviors of demographic groups.