As You Think, So You Are

When The Simon?s Marissa Kamin was invited to join her
friend for an all-expense paid trip to a resort in the Bahamas, she
experienced American vanity at its finest. From luxurious spa
treatments to travel to Prada and Gucci by Mercedes, she enjoyed
the high life, even though she could barely afford to window shop.
It was a flea market transaction, however, that led to her most
stunning souvenir: an island local giving her a ?knowing smirk? and
commenting that she looked ?Chinese? when she told him she is
American.

His stinging remark accompanied her back to the United States,
where she pondered ?all the little boxes? she had checked
throughout life identifying her ?ethnicity;? all the questions of
where she?s ?from.? Although her mother is Japanese and her father
is American, Kamin concluded that in America ?a society obsessed
with appearances?her father?s heritage is ?irrelevant because it
doesn?t show on my face.? Funny how a ?blonde surfer from
California? or a ?cowboy hat crooner from Tennessee? can wear their
nationality without question.

?Americans are obsessed with looks,? Kamin writes. ?Our media is
hemorrhaging that message.? Meanwhile, she notes, we are
?inconsistent? in our vanity. We?ve gone into Iraq, ?justified
shooting a bus full of women and children,? broken the
international law ?that we created? and are instigating ?a cycle of
terrorism? that will last for years to come, yet we ?don?t give a
shit? how this looks to the world. ?Apparently,? she adds, ?all
that really matters is how we look to ourselves, and that egoism is
infuriating.? Kamin has left the Bahamas with a new resolve to
change the American image to ?a people unified by a belief in
freedom, liberty, human rights,? rather than by ?religion, hair
texture, eye shape, or skin color,? and encourage the nation to
follow her example.
?Erin Ferdinand

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As You
Think, So You Are

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