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The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

January 9, 2007

Written by C.N.

First Baby of New Year Controversy

Each year, Toys R Us gives the first baby of the new year a scholarship of $25,000. This year, the first baby born in the new year was a Chinese American. After initially being declared the first baby of the new year, officials learned that her mother was an undocumented immigrant and her title and scholarship was stripped and given to the next baby instead. However, Toys R Us officials have decided to reinstate the award and give out two scholarships:

After coming under fire for denying a Chinese-American infant a $25,000 prize in a New Year’s baby contest because her mother was not a legal U.S. resident, Toys “R” Us Inc. said Saturday evening that it had reversed its decision. The company said it would award each of the three babies in the grand prize pool of the “First Baby of the Year Sweepstakes” a $25,000 savings bond.

Toys “R” Us, which opened its first mainland China store less than a month ago, changed its mind after Chinese-American advocates protested and the story was reported in ethnic newspapers and The New York Times, among other outlets. “We love all babies,” the company said in a written statement Saturday. “Our sweepstakes was intended to welcome the first baby of 2007 and prepare for its future. We deeply regret that this sweepstakes became a point of controversy.” . . .

Chinese-American advocates had complained that the toy company’s decision smacks of second-class citizenship. They said the prize should was supposed to be for the child, not the mother.

I commend Toys R US for doing the right thing by recognizing their mistake in initially rescinding their award and instead, to award it to the rightful winner. At the same time, it’s rather disappointing to read about the racist and xenophobic reaction of the other family that were noted in another article, who claimed that they were “100% American” and that the first baby should have been disqualified.

As I’ve said before, racist reactions like that are founded on the antiquated idea that only Whites qualify to be “real” Americans in this country and that all non-Whites should be viewed as outsiders and “wannabe” Americans. Alas, that kind of mentality is apparently still alive and well in this country.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "First Baby of New Year Controversy" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/01/first-baby-of-new-year-controversy/> ().

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