Who’s Afraid of Immigrants?
Reading about the Brexiteers’ anger against immigration and globalization, we can easily recognize the similar kind of anger that draws huge crowds to Donald Trump’s campaign. Fear reigns there, fear and anger. People who paid the price while the majority ate the fruit of globalization are angry they were left behind. They are fearful of no-end outsourcing, budget cuts, and bail-out of banks. And their fears are justifiable: the hated “politically correct” establishment seems not to care—therefore Trump-the-Protector appears their only stake in the future, so much so he had assured them, “I don’t have time for political correctness and neither does this country.”
The longer I think of Mr. Trump, the clearer I see that he is not an entirely anti-immigrant person, nor is he against globalization on principle. His son-in-law tried defending him on character issues but didn’t reassure anybody—because of the persisting pattern. Whatever his character, pragmatic Trump is fanning the flames of fear and exploiting the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and anti-establishment attitudes – targeting to glue supporters to his side and secure Presidential victory! Will he turn the back to his supporters if he wins? It’s a big question. Remember, in January 2016 he said, “When I’m President, I can be the most politically correct person you’ve ever seen.” Ha-ha!
So, who should his followers—and the rest of Americans—be afraid of: immigrants or Trump-as-President? That is the Question!
9 Audacity Lessons from the Fearless
At the time of presidential elections – regardless of the left or right political leanings – the Americans as proud descendants of multiple waves of immigration must resort to the fearlessness gene which is part of their cultural DNA. Yet people feel occasionally fearful: some of the unknown in general, some – of the imagined threats from the concrete goings-on, like immigration or globalization. Fear shouldn’t cloud our judgment, especially in the all-important matters of Presidential elections. Yet, only dummies never feel fearful, and John Wayne put it right: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” I am no judge: I used to bear a lot of fear myself when coming to the US as a Fulbright Scholar and then staying as an immigrant: it was a colossal risk involving my family—but I had to act fearless, for their sake. I did, and it helped.
Today, writing a book series about prominent American immigrant women, I researched them enough to tell that the most vulnerable US demographic, immigrant women of the first generation, set some super standards of fearlessness. The infographic below summarizes their lessons in how to overcome fears.
Let’s now look at the solid case in point – an immigrant woman with remarkable audacity lessons to learn from.
Svetlana Kim, a Korean from Russia: Audacious All the Way
By accident of birth, Svetlana (pictured) was born in Russia; they do things differently there. In America, she developed into a uniquely integral personality at the intersection of Russian, Korean, and US-American cultures. With little or no prospects for a good life in Russia, Svetlana now lives her dream in the U.S. as a well-respected author, columnist for global Perreault Magazine, radio talk show To the Stars through Adversity host, and consultant.
What helped her to become an achiever? I think audacity. Here’s how it unfolded:
1. Fear was never in Svetlana’s vocabulary, although she must have subconsciously feared repeating the fate of her ancestors who survived Russian animosities towards minorities and the Koreans being persecuted for generations. Svetlana was painfully aware of racial humiliations: once some hooligans beat her up in the street shouting “Go back to Japan or where you came from” while nobody paid attention.
2. Svetlana jumped at the first opportunity to emigrate: raised money to buy her way to New York; obtained a visa; and moved on, with one word of English in her vocabulary and one dollar in her pocket for starters. Her tenacity appealed to many Americans. Her advice now is, “Be genuine, be yourself.”
3. Svetlana was smart and brave enough to ask the right questions—when she started her American life/career as a live-in companion at young intellectuals’ family. She remembers that conversations with them became her “best and truest education” about America. With them, she felt she was back to her element and integration into the mainstream culture and business life picked up speed.
4. After accumulating great sales experience at Macy’s, Svetlana grew into a stockbroker at Paine Webber. She sought critical friends and mentors—and her good fortune helped her get a super mentor who introduced her to many things that became her staples in life and business. She followed his advice to the dot—and it paid off when she received the Paine Webber Advisor Award for Outstanding Achievement.
5. Audaciously seeking all things new, Svetlana felt “itchy feet” at the well-established well-paying position. Why? She realized that income was an imperfect proxy for fulfilment, which had been her innermost goal. So she found a female role-model, won her interest – and went to work for her in the political consultancy company.
6. Svetlana enjoyed the career which brought her into contact with many inspirational people at the higher echelons of American establishment.
7. Adopting a mindset of gratitude and empathy came naturally to her: she inherited it from her grandmother and described in her book, “White Pearl and I: A Memoir of a Political Refugee.” She recently co-authored a book about Bruce Lee’s friend. “Give without remembering, take without forgetting” became Svetlana’s mantra.
8. That book is a vivid sharing of her immigrant learnings. It tells us how she went an ascending spiral of achievement. Her advice now is, “Dream impossible dreams, take actions every day. Seize every moment/opportunity, even a small one.”
9. Her work is solidly rooted in continual self-exploration, meditation, and emotional intelligence—the most important ingredients of success. Her radio talk show To the Stars through Adversity attests to that. Svetlana also shares her experiences by serving on several prestigious boards of directors.
Svetlana reinvented herself in America multiple times—and became a success story! Why? She’s got a handle of how to go from the underserved and fearful to audacious and successful.
Follow the Fearless “Fair Sex”
An outstanding immigrant Arianna Huffington remarked that “Fearlessness is a muscle. The more I exercise it, the less my fears run me.” We all need that, so let’s go for it. Let’s follow the fearless “fair sex” and program ourselves to train our own fearlessness muscles relentlessly, for the sake of our country—and our own sake!