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Readers debate Alhambra Source's role and Chinese American identity

Alhambra Source’s recent story about the final results of an Alhambra City Council election caused a debate among our readers. Not about the election or the candidates, but about our coverage. Paul Wong’s story about moving to China as an American-born Chinese also got readers talking, with issues of identity and race peppering the conversation.

Immigration attorney Elizabeth Salinas challenged incumbent Dr. Steven Placido to the fourth district Alhambra City Council seat. Our story about Placido beating Salinas by a closer margin than we had previously reported had a few readers saying we were slanted toward the newcomer. 

“Get over it,” wrote Big Steve. “She still lost, the better candidate won. Even though this supposedly ‘community news’ oriented blog slanted in her favor and supported her every chance it got. That not ‘news’ thats bias.”

George agreed. “Yeah, no bias right?" he wrote. "Almost every liberal news source will have a political slant, including the Alhambra Source! Like what Big Steve said… GET OVER IT!!!”

But some readers defended the Source. “I personally don't see the bias. According to several articles during the election cycle, Dr. Placido chose not to respond to inquiries by the Alhambra Source,” Dan Bednarski, who maintains his own blog Alhambra 123, wrote. “Moreover, the Alhambra Source is a community supported and community operated news organization. If you see bias toward one direction, then get involved to help right the ship.”

Salinas even chimed in, thanking her supporters and saying that Alhambra Source never endorsed her candidacy. “The Alhambra Source, through its community blog allows for something that we can’t get from our local government: the free flow of ideas and dissent, quintessential to any democracy. I find it pretty funny that anyone would accuse Alhambra Source of bias in its coverage of the election,” Salinas wrote. “I will continue to use my voice and am grateful that Alhambra Source provides a forum for ALL voices.”

Wong’s story about the challenges he faced moving to China as an American-born Chinese (ABC) — not speaking the language, not fitting in, and questioning his identity — also triggered comments. One reader was so disappointed that Wong wasn’t better able to adapt in China, he even blamed Wong's parents. “This is so, SO depressing. You should be mad at your parents,” SinoSoul wrote. “In fact, maybe it's time to send the infant to Beijing for a year or so.”

Another reader seemed to relate to Paul’s issues with his identity, arguing that it was different than other Asian immigrant groups. “Aaaah yes, the non-defined ABC identity,” Willard wrote. “There is no all-encompassing Chinese American narrative, unlike Korean, Japanese, or even Vietnamese. We have no real shared values or experiences other than being cheap. We are a group far too large, diverse, and dispersed. This leads to identity issues far more complex (notice I did not say difficult) than the identity crises of other Asian groups.”

A third reader, who happens to be an Alhambra Source Community Contributor, simply expressed gratitude for the story. “Welcome back Paul and thanks for the interesting take on returning to the mother land,” Michael Lawrence wrote. “Very good read.”

Independent journalism is a bedrock of democracy--and it's in crisis. Here at the Alhambra Source, we're committed to covering the local stories that matter most to you. We don’t have advertisers and we don’t have pay walls, but we do have bills. You read to the end of this story. That's great. But this kind of journalism will end without public support. Join us! Support the work and the democratic values it serves. Donate now!

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