My ties with my native Chinese culture remain as strong as ever. I visit my relatives in Taiwan regularly almost every summer and have traveled throughout China. And to everyone’s continuing surprise, I have yet to forget how to speak Mandarin. Nevertheless, twelve years in America has made its impressions upon me as well. I am as “American” as anyone my age. The songs I listen to, the sports I play, and the way I speak are all a reflection of that. In short, I am a combination of both East and West.
I am the granddaughter of welfare recipients. My parents ascended to the lower middle class and I have climbed higher. When I look at those beneath me in income, I don’t think pull yourselves up by the bootstrap. I think how can I help you up the ladder. What I see above me in income is the tendency for protectionism of wealth and status. A violation of societal norms and a tendency to blame those less fortunate for their laziness. Redistribution is not about punishment or equality. It is about shelter (security), food, health, clean air and water, and education. To do otherwise is wasteful and discards the potential in each human being for the benefit of a few.
It’s not all pretty, though. Cheaper labour costs often translates to immense profits for the organization, with little to no benefit for the country on the receiving end of the outsourcing. The biggest examples would be the sweatshops in China and Taiwan, run by global conglomerates such as Nike, where workers- many of them children- work for a less-than-minimum daily wage and most inhumane working conditions. Only a few years back, Nike received a lot of flak when a sweatshop in Bangladesh came crashing down, killing the workers and proving that the corporation did not bother to check the safety of the building in its efforts to minimize costs.