In San Francisco, March 27th, I took this photo on Lefty’s when I went to the left hand store. This store is located at Pier 39 which is shopping center in San Francisco. Lefty’s sells a great deal of goods for the left handed ranging from scissors to golf clubs. Also, they hang pictures of famous left handed people on the wall. The cap in this image is one of those products. At that time I took this photo since I liked the words put on the cap. The words are ‘I may be left-handed, but I’ m always right’. From the past, the right handed have always accounted for majorities. Thus, people usually see the left handed as being abnormal for the simple reason that they are minorities. For example, though it was a long time ago, in my country, Korea, some parents educated their children to prevent their children from being the left-handed. I think this words means the expression of their suppressed feeling; they are trying to reclaim a proud identity that many stigmatized group go through in response to discrimination.
From this point, Lefty’s can make the loud voice of the minority. This is because in the world everything revolves around the right handed, Lefty’s becomes known for an attraction not only to left-handers but also right-handers like me. And most importantly, they are so proud of their own features and express themselves confidently.
As seeing the image, I have thought of the society that the right of minorities is accepted. In my opinion, the U.S. seeks this kind of society which respects minority, diversity, and individuality. Gruesz also talks about these words in ‘America’. She says, ‘Foodways, cultural practices, and even consumer products are readily made to symbolize the nation’s essence. Such metonyms gesture, in turn, at more abstract notion: Freedom, Liberty, Democracy.’ (Gruesz, ‘America’, p.17) People usually recall theses words, freedom or liberty or democracy, when they think about the image of America. In this sense, the U.S. is still struggling to coincide with the image of America whether they made this image on national purpose or not. This is because true democracy I think comes not from the majority rule but from respecting the minority. And as we can see the example of Lefty’s, America is still working on replacing the image with the reality.
Manifestos of America-What is the America
It has been always the challenge whether we can define the identity of America as one word. I know it would be difficult for everything to be defined as a just simple word. Especially, America, where all kinds of ethnic group, products and cultures coexist, has too many exceptions to be defined easily. Before I came the U.S., the image of America to me was freedom and democracy. However, I have changed my mind since I lived in Davis. Among those many identities of America, I have mostly felt the words ‘the Salad Bowl’ which was ‘the melting pot’ once. I thought that those who were born in America regard themselves as Americans without doubt. However, it was the wrong idea. Too much diversity sometimes causes the identity crisis. In Davis, I have had many opportunities to meet Asian-Americans than those who are not. I am wondering that if I am not an Asian or if they define themselves wholly as an American, I could have more chance to meet Asian-Americans that those who are not. I do not think I could. In my opinion, those who are in different ethnic groups, even though they were born in America, exist between both countries. For example, my friend who was born in Japan and came here when he was 3-year-old told me that he cannot be a Japanese and also cannot be an American. No matter how long the history of immigrants in America, this challenge still remains. The conflict between diversity and identity will be sustained not only on a national level but also on a personal level
To solve this challenge, we face to another fundamental problem. This problem is accepting the minority who are different from us. Diversity without perception of the minority is meaningless. If the society has regarded my friend as an American without any doubt and treated him equally, he might not be confused about his identity.
The thing is America is not just standing by this old issue. They are struggling to solve this challenge and they will always be.