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Carol Schmidt

My son is married to Mei-Ling Chin. This is what I knew about this amazing woman: She is a kind, loving Christian. Being a Christian in Taiwan is challenging and counter to her parent’s culture. She traveled extensively on her own – hiking and seeing as much as she could see of the world. When she came to the U.S. she went to school at Aveda in New York City and met my son who was also attending there. They became fast friends and later married. 

She sang in the choir at President Obama’s Inauguration – what an amazing moment! She has a beautiful laugh and laughs at herself! She is beautiful inside and out and I’m so grateful she is my “daughter.” She grew up living in shipping containers that were moved frequently as Tai Pei was undergoing construction. Her father was a hard worker who has been very successful in business and is now able to live comfortably.

What I didn’t know about Mei-Ling were the challenges she faced. When I participated in the “White Fragility” book discussion at First Pres, I realized we had never discussed this – she is certainly not one to complain.

The next time they visited I asked her if she had experienced any issues as an Asian in America. She said “Oh, yes.” She told me that the second day of school she was with an American friend looking in a store window. Apparently, a woman felt she was in her way and told her to “go back where you came from.”  I said to her “I am so sorry and ashamed of America.” She looked at me with such emotion and said “Thank you.” I was struck by how she was touched by this.

Another time she was working at Chanel – she has been very successful there and promoted and acknowledged for her work. A client came in one day and said to her “Do you speak English” in a derogatory manner. And she answered “Yes, I speak Taiwanese, Mandarin, Japanese, and English – how many languages do you speak?” with a smile. 

What an opportunity to have this conversation and see a different perspective!

Why didn’t I ever ask these questions before? I never thought to ask and what a wonderful sharing time it was. I shared this story at our book discussion and hope that it was an opening to see that not only does prejudice exist for blacks but for others as well. 

I am so grateful for this eye-opening experience.