Presidential candidate Donald Trump is being criticized for asking an Asian-American Harvard University student, Joseph Choe, if he was from South Korea on Oct. 12 during the No Labels' Problem Solver Convention in New Hampshire (video below).
Choe, whose parents were born in Korea, asked the Republican front-runner a question about South Korea, notes The Huffington Post:
"I just had a really quick question about something you said earlier this summer about, basically, you said that South Korea takes advantage of the United States in terms of the defense spending on the Korean peninsula. You said that they don't have to pay anything. However, I just want to get the facts straight and say..."
Trump suddenly asked: "Are you from South Korea?"
"I'm not," Choe replied. "I was born in Texas, raised in Colorado. I just want to say that, no matter where I'm from, I just like to get my facts straight, and I wanted to tell you that that's not true. South Korea paid $861 million dollars."
"Which is peanuts compared to what it's costing us," Trump fired back.
According to a report by The Diplomat, South Korea was liable for $861 million, less than half the cost of the U.S. troops.
Jennifer Lee, a sociology professor at the University of California, Irvine, slammed Trump on NPR:
"It seems like this innocuous question, like people are just asking your identity, but they're really challenging this idea of who is American, which is, at the core, an offensive question. It's this persistent perception that Asian-Americans are not American, that they are perpetual foreigners."
RawStory ran the headline: "Trump assumes Harvard student asking about South Korea is Asian — and pays for it."
The Huffington Post added, "That's not a harmless question," and cited a 2011 study about minorities, particularly Latinos and Asian-Americans, being treated as "perpetual foreigners" because they are asked where they are from.