Political choices are colorblind

Ira Lazo,

My friend Mike is a Chinese American whose family moved here 14 years ago seeking the “American Dream.” I’ll never forget when Mike confessed to me that he was a Republican. I’m a liberal Asian, and my whole life have assumed that most Asians were liberal, so I was shocked.

Our conversation was inevitable, because I’ve made my disapproval of the GOP and their presidential nominee Donald Trump known on all of my social media outlets. I am not a fan or a supporter of the grand old party.

As we sat there having coffee, the only words I could utter to him were, “Are you sure?”

Growing up in a historically blue state like California has encapsulated many people like me in a bubble. So, to encounter a proud Asian-American Republican is like finding a unicorn. You want to corner it, poke it a little to make sure it’s real, and then ask a million questions.

My friend Drew, also Chinese-American, was the next person to nonchalantly confess his Republican allegiance to me. It happened after a commercial for Trump came on the television. Drew shook his head disapprovingly, which I mistook as a sign that he was a Democrat. So I proceeded to insult the orange-skinned nominee for five minutes before he said, “You know I’m a Republican, right?” I mutely sat next to him as he began his tirade on the GOP’s lack of leadership, and how every Republican presidential candidate has strayed farther away from true conservative ideals.

A statement, I realized, he said out of consolation since he is a Republican supporter.

The last straw was when I learned that my uncle, a registered Democrat, is voting for Trump because he fears that Hillary Clinton will take away his recreational guns.

Despite supporting the ban of military grade weapons such as assault rifles, Clinton is polling at 62 percent among Asian Americans. Meanwhile, the gun-toting Trump who plans to expand concealed carry permits nationwide is polling at 19 percent among Asian Americans, according to a May article by Politico.

This revelation was shocking to me. Up to that point, I believed the stereotype that all Asian Americans were predisposed to be Democrats, because who could support a party that puts Asians at a disadvantage?

It never occurred to me that Asian Americans would go against the grain and actually align themselves more with the conservative party that has been so hell-bent on excluding Asians and other minorities through past legislation, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Luce-Celler Act of 1946. Both of which were signed into law by President Harry S. Truman and restricted only 100 Filipinos and 100 Native Americans to immigrate into the U.S. each year.

I thought being liberal and Democrat was the one thing that we all agreed upon, regardless of whether you’re Filipino-American or Chinese-American. But I was wrong.

My family is divided politically, each one shouting for their candidate. As the November election looms closer, it’s important for me to question why I belong with the Democrats as opposed to the Republicans.

My experience has reinforced the lesson that I can’t make blanket assumptions of everyone just based on their race. Political views should have no race. Otherwise, I am no better than those who question my citizenship based solely on the color of my skin.