Harvard economics major Joseph Choe addressed Donald Trump during a question and answer session, asking the candidate about statements he had made over the summer in which he asserted that South Korea takes advantage of the United States.
Before Choe, an Asian-American, could finish his question, Trump interrupted the man asking, “Are you from South Korea?”
“I’m not. I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado,” Choe responded.
The GOP presidential candidate shrugged as awkward laughter from the audience escalated into full-blown cheering for Choe.
“No matter where I’m from, I like to get my facts straight, and I wanted to tell you that that’s not true. South Korea paid $861 million,” Choe said before Trump cut him off again.
Trump’s question represents an all too common experience for Asian-Americans, who researchers say are stereotyped as the “perpetual foreigners.”
“[E]thnic minorities, especially Asian Americans and Latino/as, are often asked … questions like, ‘No, where are you really from?’ or ‘I meant, where are you originally from?’” a San Diego State University study explained. The implicit message, the study said, is that “they do not share the American identity or have in-group status.”
Or perhaps in this case, the right to question Donald Trump.