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12 February 2010

Atlanta's Asian Community Could Learn Something From "The West Wing"

Recently, I purchased a box set featuring every episode of the NBC political drama "The West Wing."

In the season one episode, "A Proportional Response", White House staffers are worried about hiring a black man to be personal aide to the President. They're concerned about the imagery of a black man waiting on a white man. Well, the debate concludes when another black man portraying the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says this to the President's Chief of Staff:

Friday morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that MARTA, Atlanta's rapid transit system, bowed to the pressure of Asian community leaders who claimed that MARTA officials were insensitive when they named a train line the Yellow line [Hart, Ariel (2010-2-11). MARTA ‘yellow' line to be renamed ‘gold'. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on 2010-2-12.].

Now, the Yellow line wasn't named anything truly offensive like the "chink" line. So one has to wonder why Atlanta's Asian community raised a ruckus over something that, at the end of the day, doesn't really matter.

There are some real, honest-to-God battles to fight out there --jobs, health care, taxes, crime-- we don't have time to deal with the cosmetic ones.

That's the lesson Atlanta's Asian community can learn from "The West Wing."