Is Kai-Lan the Next Illegal Immigrant?

We’ve blogged about the Arizona immigration law and how it affects Asians and Asian Americans. Well, the other day, I came across Is Dora the Explorer an illegal immigrant? It’s a disturbing article and I immediately thought, if Kai-Lan was the next target. Dora’s background has never been quite defined:

Representatives from Nickelodeon declined to comment on Dora’s background, and her place of birth or citizenship have never been clear.” She has brown skin, dark hair and some experts who have studied the show say she speaks Spanish with an American accent.

Well, it’s pretty clear that Kai-Lan is of Chinese ethnicity, though I doubt the show has ever addressed her citizenship. Perhaps more than any other ethnicity, Asian Americans are still often seen as foreigners, as if they’re not “really” American. I’ve only been to Arizona once to visit a friend, but I wonder if the next time I am ever in Arizona, will I have to carry my “papers?”

The more likely scenario is for my mother to be pulled over and asked, since her English isn’t as good as Kai-Lan’s. Is having a foreign accent “reasonable suspicion?”  I’ve been asked, “Where are you from?” – and when I’ve answered born-and-raised in Massachusetts, “No, where are you really from?” before, but I guess Dora the Explorer is an easier target since most Americans equate illegal immigrants with Hispanics; I wouldn’t be too surprised if people started questioning next if Kai-Lan as the next possible illegal immigrant.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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