Monday, March 24, 2008

Thank You Asian Businesses

If every business in American Samoa were Samoan owned, do you know what we would think when any store closed its doors? Most of us would rightly conclude that the enterprise just wasn't any good. It either was in the wrong market, didn't satisfy its customers, couldn't control or account for its costs, couldn't collect on its 'aitalafu', couldn't keep and nurture an effective and educated workforce, or any combination of these and other factors that hurt their bottom line.

But Jim Brittle's letter to the editor, "Facing Reality", asks us to ignore these fundamentals and encourages us to blame business failure simply on Asian businesses.

The fact that competitors in our somewhat free market are of a different race trumps all other considerations as to why a Samoan store owner can or cannot keep his doors open? Mr. Brittle does point to greed, corruption and consumer preference for lower prices (surprise, surprise) as well, but he doesn't explain those points in further detail.

There is no other conclusion one can make from his letter other than that Samoan businesses are failing because of Asian immigrants, and that's it. That sort of reasoning relies on racial phobia, and it is not only an insult to our Asian brothers and sisters but it does a complete disservice to the Samoan community as well.

Samoans can make it in this world. We don't need to be sheltered from competition; we need to learn from the competition. For that, I thank the Asian business community.

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