If whiteness were of no particular advantage, then having a fuller color wheel of skin tones would be purely a matter of celebration. But whiteness - just a drop of it - does still carry privilege. You learn that very young in America.— Eric Liu
The most risky Eric Liu quotes that will inspire your inner self
True patriots measure themselves not by personal wealth or power but by the degree to which they contribute to the community.
From the right, you get demagogues shouting about brown-skinned anchor babies and clamoring to deport the undocumented. From the left, you get advocacy for the oppressed but otherwise, when it comes to national civic identity, mainly silence.
The next time someone uses denial of citizenship as a weapon or brandishes the special status conferred upon him by the accident of birth, ask him this: What have you done lately to earn it?
Today's multiracial Americans are at greater liberty to choose how they'd like to be seen, and under less pressure to pass for white.
Six decades ago, as Mao's Communists seized power, the question in Washington was, 'Who lost China?' Now, as his capitalist descendants stand astride the world stage and Washington worries about decline, it seems to be, 'Who lost America?'
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• Quotes about America
True patriots believe that we should measure a citizen's worth by contribution to country and community, not by wealth or power-that those whom America has benefited most should contribute in proportion to their good fortune-and that serving others should be esteemed more highly than serving self.
The Boomers have modeled a set of bad habits, and one grand gesture is not going to unwind all those bad habits.
When Bryan Price taught me how to throw a changeup, he made me see myself.
All my life, I've been the equivalent of a fastball pitcher - trying to use blazing speed and brute force to wow the people around me.
You want to defend citizenship? Don't persecute or isolate those without papers.
Just live like a citizen. That'd be a first-class way to be American.
Why does an iPhone cost only a couple hundred dollars? Because, as the stage performer Mike Daisey depicted in an arresting one-man show called 'The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,' Apple's shiniest products are made by a shadowy company in China called Foxconn.
Like the 'little emperors' of one-child China, too many Boomers were taught early that the world was made (or saved) for their comfort and enjoyment. They behaved accordingly, with a self-indulgence that was wholly rational, given their situation.
Throughout this country's history there have of course been systematic efforts to create an official underclass.
Here's a proposal, offered only partly in jest: no resident of the United States, whether born here or abroad, should get to be a citizen until age 18, at which time each such resident has to take a test.
The nativism behind the push to repeal or amend the Fourteenth is ugly and obvious.
Jeremy Lin is the only Asian American in the NBA today and one of the few in any professional U.S. sport. His arrival is surely leading other talented Asian American athletes this week to contemplate a pro career.
'The Purpose-Driven Life' is not just a mega-bestselling work of Christian faith; it is the thing that every voter, secular or not, yearns for.
I know many people on the left are suspicious of words like Americanization.
To them, it can sound like a cover for white privilege and warmongering. It suggests arrogance and groupthink. But these connotations are not fixed. It is in our power to reshape them by recalling the best of America.
What we should celebrate more than diversity is what we do with it.
How do we bring everyone in the tent and create something together? In a twenty-first century way that activates our true potential, we all need to become sworn-again.
Conservatives forget that citizenship is more than a thing to withhold from immigrants. Progressives forget it's more than a set of rights.
True fans of the Constitution, like true fans of the national pastime, acknowledge the critical role of human judgment in making tough calls. We don't expect flawless interpretation. We expect good faith. We demand honesty.
Sometimes when I listen to fellow progressives, I wonder if the only lesson we took away from the '04 elections is that politics is a word game.
Honest people know that the road to success and virtue always involves shared sacrifice, hard work, and gratification postponed. Telling people otherwise isn't leadership, it is pandering.
Have you ever watched someone become American? Last week, at a national citizenship conference I organize, thirty immigrants from 17 countries swore an oath and became citizens of the United States. It was a stirring experience for the hundreds of people in the room.
We're all better off...when we're all better off.
Our commitment should be to leave our environment in better shape than when we found it, our nation's fiscal house in better order, our public infrastructure in better repair, and our people better educated and healthier. To indulge in immediate gratification and exploitation is an insult to previous generations, who sacrificed for us, and thievery from the next generation, who depend on our virtue.
Americans need to call on Boomers, in their next act onstage, to behave like grown-ups. And there is no better way for them to do this than to guide young people to lives of greater meaning, effectiveness, and purpose.
You cannot mistake Bush's clarity of purpose.
He believes in a story about freedom and opportunity that makes his followers feel like they aren't just ticking their days down but are part of something larger than themselves.
I had heard so much negative talk about our generation, that we're slackers and young fogies, that I knew wasn't true of the people I know.
If the undocumented have to work hard to attain citizenship, those of us who already are citizens should have to work hard to sustain it. We should all have to serve more, vote more, build more, and do more for our country.
At the heart of our public morality is the idea that he who gives generously is most virtuous and morally praiseworthy; that there is no greater citizen than she who sacrifices; and that there is no greater measure of worth than contribution. These are values we can be proud of. After all, there is no moral system or religion on earth where the guiding ethic is grab more for yourself.
In the end no segregationist scheme has withstood the force of a simple idea: equality under law.
In the end, arguing about affirmative action in selective colleges is like arguing about the size of a spigot while ignoring the pool and the pipeline that feed it. Slots at Duke and Princeton and Cal are finite.
The summer of 1991, I took $2,000 of my savings and a desktop program, and I asked my friends to write 800 words about something they cared about. I got eight or nine articles and put them together. It was no frills, black and white, no graphics. I printed them out and just dumped piles around D.C.
Republicans say they want citizenship to truly mean something.
Let's be equal-opportunity about it and test everyone, including those very Republicans and others whose forbears came here generations ago.
There have been, in recent years, many Asian American pioneers in the public eye who've defied the condescendingly complimentary 'model minority' stereotype: actors like Lucy Liu, artists like Maya Lin, moguls like Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. They are known, often admired.
The Boomers will eventually have to accept that it is not possible to stay forever young or to stop aging. But it is possible, by committing to show up for others in community after community, to earn a measure of immortality.
Why should citizenship be a matter of birth? The premise held by those who want to end birthright citizenship is that some people deserve it and some do not - that the status shouldn't be handed out automatically. Frankly, that's a premise worth considering.
True patriots believe that freedom from responsibility is selfishness, freedom from sacrifice is cowardice, freedom from tolerance is prejudice, freedom from stewardship is exploitation, and freedom from compassion is cruelty.
Much of our national debate proceeds as if China and America were locked in a zero-sum game in which one's loss is precisely the other's gain.
We tend to think of politics as bad, full of dirty tricks, negative ads, big campaigns, but I am here to explore the original meaning of politics, which is positive and has to do with balancing competing interests and looking for solutions.
Race in America has always centered on our mutual agreement not to see each other. White or non-white. Black or non-black. Mongoloid, Hindoo. We've always bought into to the crudest, humanity-denying forms of sorting.
Society becomes how you behave.
In the end, a new Americanization movement can't just be about listing our privileges and immunities, which we catalog in our laws. It also has to be about reinforcing our duties, which we convey in our habits.
America is exceptional: but because it yields the likes of Obama, not the likes of Bush.
Talk of citizenship today is often thin and tinny.
The word has a faintly old-fashioned feel to it when used in everyday conversation. When evoked in national politics, it's usually accompanied by the shrill whine of a descending culture-war mortar.
If half-black Barack Obama had decided years ago to call himself white - which his genes certainly entitled him to do - his story would have carried very different meaning. If millions of part-black people had followed him into whiteness, then the N.A.A.C.P. would be in true crisis.
Identity in America is complicated but it's also simple: it's about whom you identify with and who identifies with you.
As it stands now, those of us who are lucky enough to be citizens by birth don't have to do much. Very little is asked of us.
We all want merit to mean something, and we all may be tempted to reduce that meaning to something measurable and concrete like an SAT score. The reality, though, is that who deserves entry into an institution depends on what the institution exists to do.