I’ve never written a letter to a journalist about their article before but I just wanted to let you know that I found your story “Their Dream to Build Life in America Shattered,” exceptional. I really feel terrible for Hilda and her family and hope that your story puts pressure on the right people to correct things.
As for me I’m a Columbus native and have lived / studied in a few countries. I’m currently in Japan and looking at the current course of the American government is a bit scary. Sept. 11 rattled the country so much that it has almost become an impenetrable fortress that does as it wants without consulting our allies let alone the rest of the world. I know safety is of upmost importance but I can’t help to feel terrible when I see corn fed immigration officer boy grilling the poor old Japanese women about their business in America and then getting LOUDER and impatient when the ladies don’t understand. This is after they make them take off their shoes, hat and empty their little purses.
Every time I come back to Columbus I suffer from severe culture shock. I used to believe Columbus was a tolerant place to live but the events of the past few years have changed that. My Mexican friends there tell me about the ungracious attitude they sometimes receive at restaurant establishments. One of my very good friends from the Philippines who has lived there since the 2nd grade was once told to go back to “India.” I myself also committed a faux pas the day I arrived in Columbus to visit family when I spoke to an Asian at the door of a club. I believed her to be Chinese (ancestry) and from 2 years of living in Tokyo and greeting people in different languages, the words “Ni hao” which is “hello” in Chinese just popped out of my mouth. She then called me a very bad expletive. I had forgotten that I wasn’t in Tokyo anymore and Columbus, as much as I love it, isn’t exactly the cultural hub of the world. People are still very sensitive about race / culture issues there.
I hope you continue to write stories like the one about Hilda in the hopes that they will help other Ohioans to understand that people from other counties / cultures are just trying to get through life like the rest of us. We have treated people from “the less favorable” countries poorly for too long. I also pray that your story will be able to help Hilda and her family. Keep up the good work!