We crossed the border today from Tennessee to visit Kentucky, a new state for both of us. I had no idea that Tennessee and Kentucky were in different time zones. Even though Kentucky is directly on top of Tennessee, Tennessee is on Central Time and Kentucky is on Eastern time. I realized this when we crossed the state border and my clock said we were one hour ahead suddenly. Then, I called the Jim Beam Distillery, and the automatic message said, “Please note that Kentucky is on Eastern Standard time.”

Everyone we saw in Kentucky was white. I don’t remember seeing anyone who was another race. It reminded me of one of the trainers at the gym I go to. He was born in Nashville but was raised in Birmingham, AL. He lives in New York now and says he never wants to live in the South again. He said he has the worst memories of driving through Mississippi with his family as a young child. He and his family are African American, and they were treated very poorly and were surrounded by whites everywhere. I remember when we were in Mississippi in the summer. Our only encounter with actual people was in a seafood restaurant, where the host eyed me carefully and complimented me on how beautiful I was. He probably thought I was an exotic China doll.

It’s sad to think that there are areas of this country that are still so deeply rooted in the racism that we study about in history books. But as my friend who lives in the South said, racism is everywhere in this country and in this world. The South may be very overt about it, but is it any better in places like San Jose where the underlying racism and hostility still exists against Asians?

I suppose I am biased, but I rather be in the latter area.

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