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Responds to Shin’s letter

To the editor:

I was deeply saddened to read the account of Yewon (Lilian) Shin in The Messenger. I had always felt the presence of CJ Bio America, a South Korean-based company, its influence on Fort Dodge’s economy and community activities and its highly-trained South Korean workers would keep our community from harboring any hateful feelings about Asians. I am appalled to find out that I was wrong about some of our citizens.

I have personally become acquainted with several of the South Koreans who live here in Fort Dodge. They are great neighbors, kind, loving, ready to help whenever needed. They are willing to spend much time learning our language and our ways of living. They are well educated. Many of the school-age children attend St. Edmond schools and the adult seeks out special English as a second language classes to improve their spoken English. They are fine people and do not deserve discrimination in any form.

I would like to assure Yewon that the ones who shouted racial slurs at her and her mother do not represent the majority of the people in Fort Dodge, or even Iowa.

They are misinformed, uneducated, insensitive bullies picking on those they consider weaker than themselves — perhaps just to get the attention of some of their equally uninformed peers. I wonder which country they believe they descended from. There is not one citizen of this United States who is a true native of America. Every single person is a descendant of immigrants who came here from some other country. Yes, that even includes the Native American Indians, some of whom historians believe emigrated from South America and some possibly from — get this — Asia. One of the greatest things about our country is the diversity of people who live here and the many skills they offer to us just for the privilege of living here. We don’t want that to change!

As wonderful as our country is, we are suffering from two very insidious viruses — COVID and hate. We can give a vaccine and wear masks to help control the COVID virus but we need more than a vaccine to control the hate. We need true information and education, the willingness to accept new friendships, lots of love and kindness and tolerance, and many prayers that God will help to dispel this awful virus of hate from our hearts and minds — and our nation. Only then will our nation thrive as a true melting pot, a truly hopeful destination for so many new friends from so many other places in the world. Before you let hatred guide you, get acquainted with some of these newcomers. You will become a better person as a result.

Elaine Janssen

Fort Dodge

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