The Importance Of Feeling Consistently Uncomfortable For Personal Growth

With the racism and sexual assault allegations that have befallen the Governor of Virginia, the Attorney General of Virginia, and the Lt. Governor of Virginia, I was reminded of all the racist altercations I experienced growing up in Virginia for public high school and public university in the mid-to-late 90s. They were instrumental for personal growth.

Given the revelations at the senior levels of Virginia government today, you know racism in Virginia wasn't unusual decades ago. Racism wasn't a constant ubiquity, but I did experience some type of racist encounter about every 10th time I went out of the house.

One of the more milder examples was while waiting in line to go to the bathroom at a gas station off I-95 heading south. A white guy behind me said, “Hey, don't you understand English? What are you waiting for? The bathroom is open!

I turned around and said, “There's actually someone in there. They just didn't lock the door. Do you understand the English that's coming out of my mouth?

He backed down with an “Oh, never mind.” But I was ready to rumble.

The amazing thing about all these racial experiences is that it's all I knew after coming to America for high school.

Getting Accustomed To Racism

I thought it was normal to be on the receiving end of racial slurs or racial innuendos every so often. I just endured and fought back as hard as I could each time.

Yes, I got suspended from school multiple times for fighting, but it was worth it to defend my honor. Kids stopped messing with me once they felt my fists of fury.

After I got a job in 1999 in New York City and again when I moved out to San Francisco in 2001, I realized that being a minority in America felt so much more comfortable in a diverse city.

My racial conflicts dropped from every 10th time I went outside to maybe every 25th time I went outside in Manhattan. In San Francisco, I can't remember my last racial conflict because we are a minority majority city.

The Positives Of Discomfort For Personal Growth

Looking on the positive side of racism, I thank my past racial altercations for having given me the extra strength I needed to endure those long work hours in banking for so many years. Racism gave me tremendous motivation to prove that I could succeed in America.

Yes, it is harder in the workplace when so few in management look like you and no one wants to mentor you. But screw that, I always told myself. Being a minority working in a smaller business in a satellite office was simply a great challenge to get ahead by being more energetic and entrepreneurial.

When I got promoted to VP at age 27, it was one of the greatest feelings ever. All of my contemporary colleagues were still Associates, one level down, and would stay Associates usually until 30-32 years old.

Getting the promotion was when I first realized the allure of meritocracy. It was also my first taste of power. When you need consensus from a committee to get promoted, you don't mess with your senior colleagues.

Ongoing Motivation To Keep Working Hard

Despite being gone from the workforce since 2012, I still have the energy and motivation as I did when I was a teenager. I have kept up my cadence of publishing three times a week every week since 2009. Grit and perseverance are the keys to succeeding.

It's like having Ironman's arc reactor, pulsating in my chest, driving me to keep going no matter what thanks to all the hate I experienced growing up.

And to be honest, this energy feels wonderful! I remind myself every day that it is this energy that has enabled both my wife and me to leave work behind at age 34.

And it is this confidence that has fortified me to take big risks in my career, in my investments, and in our online business. It's scary to take risks and fall flat on your face. However, the more you've been beaten up and rejected, the less scared you will feel.

Without this energy, I would not have been able to regularly get up by 5am for the past two years to work on Financial Samurai for three hours to then get to work as a dad. Instead, I would have probably slept in until 7am because taking care of a toddler is exhausting.

Hardship makes us better appreciate the good times.

Let's Move To Virginia Instead!

Given how much racism and bullying has given me, I think it's best for us to move back to Virginia and rejoin a 5.5% minority.

To survive in a less comfortable situation forces you to adapt. Learning things like self-defense, conflict resolution, self-deprecation, positive thinking and humor are all useful skills through our adult lives. What wonderful skills to teach our son.

Hawaii just seems like too comfortable a lifestyle to get motivated to do more than the average. When it's 79 degrees and sunny, only the most disciplined individual would stay inside and study for three hours instead of go to the beach and play.

Lovely Virginia

The Importance Of Being Consistently Uncomfortable For Personal And Financial Growth

Virginia, overall, is a wonderful state with a strong economy and good people. People are products of their time. I don't blame a minority of Virginians for thinking the way they do about minorities.

In general, I look back upon my eight years there with fondness. The good outweighed the bad. Virginia was my rite of passage into adulthood.

It's just the recent racial incidents involving Virginia's political elite that have triggered forgotten memories.

Norther Virginia is about 50% cheaper than San Francisco in terms of housing. Meanwhile, there are plenty of solid public schools. Although, there is an ongoing war on merit in the Fairfax County Public School district.

With each difficult encounter, his mother and I will mentor him by teaching him about hate and ignorance. And perhaps with each encounter, our boy will also develop a chip on his shoulder. Maybe he'll grow a FIRE to prove the haters wrong that he cannot become somebody great.

Welcoming Homogeneity

By shunning a diverse environment for a more homogenous environment, my son will have a chance to experience more racial discrimination than if he were in San Francisco or Honolulu.

I fear that if we shelter our children too much, they'll grow up to be ignorant, unmotivated individuals. They might whine at the slightest of inconveniences.

I have three immediate neighborhood households that all have adult sons still living at home with their parents because life is too easy. When your parents pay for everything as an adult, there's no longer an incentive to try.

Taking away a person's ability to provide for themselves is so sad. It feels so amazing when you establish your independence.

My hope is that by putting our son in an environment where he will have to struggle more to get ahead, he'll gain a tremendous amount of satisfaction and self-esteem as he grows older.

Besides, my mother-in-law lives in Virginia. My sister and nephew live in Manhattan. And my sister-in-law and family live in North Carolina.

Fear is the key ingredient for achieving financial independence. And I fear my kids will become soft because they live such a comfortable lifestyle.

Examples Of Uncomfortable Situations For Personal Growth

When life becomes too easy, nothing really happens. Besides experiencing racism growing up, here are some personal examples of uncomfortable situations that helped me grow:

  1. Being the new kid at school all the time. I was the new kid every 2-4 years growing up and I hated it. But I grew to have no fear chatting up anybody in a new environment, which made a big difference in my professional growth.
  2. Having to get into the office at 5:30am. Getting in by 5:30am for two years at my first job, and then by 6am on average at my second job for 11 years, never felt natural. But after about 10 years, I no longer needed an alarm clock. I was conditioned to naturally wake up earlier than my peers to get things done. This productivity accelerated my path to financial freedom.
  3. Confronting my boss for a severance. Without a manual, not many people have the confidence to argue their case for a severance. But I knew my worth, and I knew what would happen to the business if I suddenly left, or worse, went to a competitor. This confidence came from having to repeatedly stand up for myself growing up.
  4. Writing mind-benders that may offend. I go through a process every six months which I call, “The Culling.” The Culling entails publishing an article that enrages a subset of undesirable readers who are unwilling to read beyond a headline or unable to understand the nuances of what I'm trying to say. My goal is to reduce the accumulation of easily triggered readers and grow a community of intelligent readers with well-argued rebuttals.

Feeling Uncomfortable Is A Catalyst For Change

Now that I've shared such convincing arguments about the importance of consistently being uncomfortable for personal and professional growth, it's clear that we should move to Virginia and not to Hawaii.

Oh, but wait. With important geoarbitrage moves, unless a divorce is what you want, it's a good idea to have a consensus between spouses and partners.

Let's see what my wife has to say. She spent 20 years growing up in Charlottesville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, Virginia.

The Choice Is Obvious – Thoughts From My Wife

Hi everyone! Sam and I are fortunate to be quite a balanced couple. Opposites attract as they say.

He’s mostly an extrovert; I’m a total introvert. He’s very athletic; I’m a total klutz. She’s super efficient and fast at most things; I tend to be slow and cautious.

So what are my thoughts on Sam’s idea to move to Virginia? Absolutely not. My answer is, Hawaii of course!

Here are just a few of the reasons why. 

1) I grew up in Virginia and although I agree that it is a beautiful state with plenty to offer, I booked a one way ticket out of there after college graduation faster than Quicksilver in X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Virginia: Been there, done that. I’ve never looked back.

2) Racism is terrible. Plain and simple. Does it exist more in less diverse places? Probably. But sadly it exists everywhere. Our son will likely experience some encounters of racism no matter where he grows up. I also do not want to intentionally expose our son to unnecessary negativity and hatred. I do plan to teach him to respect people of all sorts through travel, reading, volunteering, and having many open discussions wherever we live.

3) I do not believe our son needs to experience racism and be a minority in school in order to be a driven, hard working individual. His personality is unique and definitely a blend of both Sam and me, although I see Sam’s focus and determination in our son as clear as day. My motherly instinct already tells me our son is going to be a good student who wants to succeed. I know he will need coaching and a supportive environment to get past obstacles and we’ll be there for him. 

For example, when our son can’t do something, like get a block to fit into his shape sorter toy, he yells out in frustration and throws the block to the ground. He has daddy’s fire. 

That’s my cue to pick up the block, put it back in his hand, help him wiggle it into the right spot, and then share in his excitement. Seeing the ear-to-ear grin on his face when he pushes the block in followed by him immediately try another shape by himself says it all.

Fight Or Flight For Personal Growth

Growing up as a multiracial kid, I was at the top of the minority list in school. I was literally the only one of my “kind” – Japanese mother, Caucasian father. I didn’t look Asian; nor did I look white. Our town was almost completely 50% white, 50% African American. 

I looked “weird” as some girls said. “What ARE you?” was another question I’d often get. Fortunately, I had a few friends who looked past my appearance and the shock that I had an Asian mother. 

I didn’t “belong” in Japan either. Everyone stared at me wherever I went in Japan. Some whispered look at the gaijin; this word for foreigner has a bit of a negative connotation. 

Others said I was so lucky to be half because I had pale skin and big eyes. Thank you, I guess. But what are they saying about people who are tan with small eyes?

Fortunately, I didn’t experience frequent bulling or racist remarks, but I still had my share. That didn’t make me want to fight back like Sam though. 

Criticism Made Me Want To Change

The hurtful comments made me want to leave. The rest were just annoying distractions. I knew they didn’t define who I was. My racial background made me unique and wasn’t something anyone could take away. 

I don’t like confrontation; I never have. When kids and adults have said mean things to me I don’t talk back; I usually stay silent and walk away. Sam sees this as letting them walk over me. Perhaps, but I don’t give people like that any power over me. 

I’m just the type of person who doesn’t want to waste any energy or time on disrespectful people who just don’t get it. 

That doesn’t mean I wasn’t hurt. I felt sadness, isolation, and frustration especially growing up. But, I really don’t like to dwell on negativity. I have so many better things to do!

Finding Motivation From Within

The Importance Of Feeling Uncomfortable For Personal And Financial Growth

The one thing I’m certain of is that we are all motivated by different things. I remember someone telling me that during management training at work and it’s totally true. 

You might be motivated by adversities, or discrimination, the desire to be the best, money, family, power, financial freedom, a better lifestyle, countless other things and likely a whole combination of things.

Growing up, I was self motivated to get good grades. Perhaps it was my perfectionist personality or the desire to be like my smarter sister. Who knows. What I don’t remember though is my parents ever pushing or telling me I had to get straight A’s.  

In middle school and high school, I was motivated to be the best violinist in school and to get the lead part in every theater production. I think a combination of wanting recognition and enjoying those activities were my main motivators. 

Motivation Post College

In my career, I was definitely motivated by power, gaining autonomy, earning money, and recognition for my niche skills and efforts.

As a parent, I’m motivated by an immeasurable amount of love, and wanting to see our son happy, develop and succeed. 

Ultimately, I believe motivation is very personal and has to come from within. I think it blossoms in supportive environments.

Some people get motivated in harsh environments, but definitely not all. I probably would have been mentally crushed over time if I was in a worse situation growing up. So I’m thankful my experiences weren’t much worse. 

Making The Right Choice For Personal Growth

Now that you've heard from both sides, we're curious to hear what you would do if you were us? Your vote will help determine our family's future.

Would you move to warm and sunny Honolulu, where life is even more comfortable than it is in San Francisco? The majority of the Honolulu population will look like our boy, either Asian or multi-racial. He'll grow up in an environment that is much more chill because most people in Hawaii are working to live, not living to work.

Or, would you move to somewhere in Virginia, where it is very hot or very cold for half the year. Such temperature will help him appreciate the other half of the year better. Our boy will feel the discomfort of being a 5.5% minority.

As a result, he'll better learn how to deal with difficult situations like racism and bullying. He'll also get a quicker taste of how cruel the real world is so he can hopefully be more motivated to study and work hard.

A Blessing To Grow Up As A Minority Who Experienced Racism And Bullying

In conclusion, what a blessing it is to grow up as a minority in Virginia. If all I experienced was love and acceptance, I'd probably still be working at my soul-sucking job wondering what else is there to life. There would be no Financial Samurai and no financial freedom.

Experiencing the bad has helped me appreciate the good. As a result, I believe I've reached a higher steady state of happiness as well.

I hope we can all have sand kicked in our face one day. Overcoming adversity is a gift.

Move to Virginia To Be More Uncomfortable Or Move To Hawaii And Be More Comfortable?

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Explaining Why Asian Income Is Highest In America

Beware Of Financial Blind Spots On Your Road To Financial Freedom

Seeking Approval From A Critical Father

Readers, what were some uncomfortable situations you experienced growing up that helped make you stronger? How much real world hardship should we subject our children to before they enter the real world? Are people simply a product of their times, and as times change, people change?

About The Author

158 thoughts on “The Importance Of Feeling Consistently Uncomfortable For Personal Growth”

  1. Hi Sam!

    I don’t agree with everything, but your blog is an amazing resource on running a successful blog and becoming rich!

    I grew up in SF Bay Area, so a little bit of both, and I think about stuff like this frequently. I’d say Virginia- having a motivated peer group on the main land exposes to lots of good information early. Eventually even if someone is say, white, you have to learn to ignore peer pressure and not take stock in others all the time- being able to handle racist comments, as long as it doesn’t get violent or there’s good legal recourse and ways to protect yourself, are all good skills to learn while under parents’ roof. Even if someone pursues a passion career, eventually people will try to screw you over. I really would feel better if my kid was aware of how the world works while I can still help them grow.

  2. Aloha Sam!

    Hawaii for sure!! Just my two cents from a 10+ year reader of your awesome site. I dreamed of retiring to Hawaii ever since my first visit back in the mid 80’s. A few years ago my wife and I finally made the move from LA to Kakaako because she was able to find a government job (I was blessed and able to retire at 53 so my wife was the only one who needed employment.) Both of us love it out here, but as you know it’s not paradise but heck of a lot nicer than LA.

    I’m Sansei, born in Santa Monica, CA and lived in Palos Verdes Estates and LA and my wife was born in DC. She spent many years living in the Great Falls, VA area so it’s kinda similar to your wife’s family history, except my wife isn’t Hapa. Traveling back to VA to visit her family involves a 9+ hour nonstop flight to Dulles and we are thankful for that because United Airlines has the only nonstop flight from HNL to IAD. We were so happy to visit her family last year because we didn’t see some of them for almost four years. Even though her family lives in northern VA, my wife was 100% in favor of moving to Hawaii and was the one who allowed me to retire early.

      1. I agree with your well thought out article and would like to emphasize how expensive housing is in the Kakaako area. The 2bd 2ba 1,016 sq ft condo I’m renting sold in 2019 for approximately 1.22 million and similar condos in the building with ocean views of Ala Moana Beach and Magic Island sold last year for 1.2-1.4 million. A brand new 2bd 2ba 842 sq ft unit at Aalii a couple of blocks away is on the market for 1.25 million, so yeah it’s really expensive!

        Another con to living in the Honolulu area that most people don’t realize is the huge number of property crimes that occur. Per, the area surrounding Ala Moana Center has car thefts, burglaries and assaults occurring just about every other day. Then add 2-3 robberies into the mix every week and it’s a disturbing crime trend. It’s nothing in comparison to LA, however when coupled with the almost worst in the country’s crime clearance rate of the Honolulu Police Department it’s really disappointing. The embarrassing low clearance rates mean if you’re a crime victim, it’s unlikely the case will be solved unless there’s media attention or someone who knows “somebody”. If you ever visit popular scenic areas such as the Pali Lookout, you’ll probably notice broken glass in the parking lots from previous thefts. This occurs so often that the police often park their cars in the lot to deter thieves.

        Even though the article is from Sept. 2020, it unfortunately illustrates how some members of the police department are too “laid back” when it comes to investigating crimes and actually doing real proactive police work.

        On there are multiple incidents of people reporting crimes to HPD with video/license plate information only to find out their case wasn’t properly investigated, or not investigated at all. One person in Waikiki even flagged down an officer who was parked in his patrol car and informed him the suspect who stole his bicycle a week before (he had video of the theft) returned to the area and had an electric bike (that was possibly stolen) in the bed of his truck. Instead of confronting the suspect, the officer drove off and didn’t bother detaining the suspect.

        In the short amount of time I’ve lived here there have been numerous stories about HPD that were disappointing and outright criminal in behavior. If you conduct a Google search, you’ll see dozens of articles about corruption and the “bruddah-bruddah” behavior of not only the police, but politicians and government officials too. And please don’t get me wrong Sam, I completely support our brothers and sisters in law enforcement and understand how difficult their job is. I just feel bad for crime victims because many of their cases are not taken seriously.

        I apologize for going off track, but thanks for listening to some of the cons from the perspective of a retired 26 year detective. The bottom line is my wife and I love it out here!!

        1. Glad you guys love it out there! And if we were to move, we’d move to Waialae / Kahala where there is less density and traffic.

          I’m jealous you guys get to live there!

          1. Mahalo Sam! Time literally flies by so you’ll be here before you know it!

            Also, check out the Kahala neighborhood on for info on what’s going on in the neighborhood.

  3. I love the content on your website but this article is so superficial and anecdotal and totally well racist in itself.

    You had terrible incidents as a child growing up in the south as a asian immigrant. You think that is unique for any immigrant anywhere in the world? You think I didn’t experience the exact same thing growing up Asian in NYC?

    Ask any Asian who went to NYC public school in our generation if they every experienced racial comments and fights in any part of the city. Come on the entire education system in NYC is segregated even today.

    Also you seem to think Hawaii is an ideal place, do a quick search on the how aggressively racist natives are to “Haole” for real teenagers who live on the islands. Hawaii I would argue is the most racist state in the country if you looked at it objectively.

    In terms of Crime which is really the kind of racism you want to worry about, and education outcome the South for “minorities” is far better place. Its safer, the educational outcome of minority groups is far better.

    I get it you used negative experiences to drive you to financial success but seriously you need to rethink that maybe some of what you encountered is just the crappiness of people in general.

    1. I apologize that sharing my negative experiences has offended you. I plan to keep more of my experiences to myself in the future and keep my articles more vanilla.

      Perhaps my experience as part Hawaiian (dad’s side came in 1905) might not be good enough to provide a good view about growing up in Hawaii.

      Can you share with me your background and where you are on your financial
      Journey? How did you end on this article anyway? I’d love to understand what other things are making you upset besides my writing. Thanks

      Related: Three White Tenants, One Asian Landlord: A Story Of Opportunity

    2. I’d love to know why you are so disagreeable. What happened to you to be so easily offended by someone else’s suffering?

      What’s wrong with Sam sharing his own experiences and lessons on his site? Are you used to telling people how are you think and feel? If so, this might be your problem as to why you might not have the strong relationships that you like.

  4. I think you should follow your wife’s advice and move to Hawaii or another city where there’s lot of minorities. I think a young child’s brain is fragile. Constant bullying can destroy them. Do your son a favor and don’t move to a place where he will get bullied. You grew up being bullied. I’m sure when you were younger you wished your parents could move so you wouldn’t be subjected to the bullying. As an adult with past experience from being bullied, why move to a location where your child can be bullied?

    1. I think bullying is everywhere. I wasn’t constantly bullied. But I experienced bullying and I learn to fight back. Then people stopped bothering me.

      There needs to be a good amount of adversity for growth.

  5. Sam, Love your podcast but found the end very judgemental and wrong. I’m currently 42 and I lived at home until I was 29 years old in order to save to buy my first condo. My parents live an hour outside Boston, which is one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. I worked in corporate finance for 14 years before becoming a full time real estate investor. Before my corporate job I had private clients that I would personal train in their mansions in the city. I woke up every single day at 4:15am and did not get home until 8pm and sat in 3 hours of rush hour traffic every day. I did this for 8 years commuting from my parents house into the city in order to get ahead financially. You shouldn’t assume young adults who love at home in their late 20s are lazy or have failed to launch. Today I am a real estate investor with a multi million dollar net worth and financially independent. Also, not everyone is as lucky as you to have found your mate very early in life in college. I’m currently single, 42 and have gone to bars in hopes of meeting a mate, gone on dozens and dozens of dates over the years, gone the dating app route, pursued every avenue possible and am still single. I would love to have a family but it just isn’t happening. The point of me telling you this is for you to realize that many people strive for that and pursue it but it just doesn’t happen. You shouldn’t talk and laugh about people as if they are failures because they are single or are living at home until 30 to get ahead financially in life. College debt and real estate prices in coastal cities nowadays make it impossible for millennials to get ahead if they DONT live at home until around 30.

    1. Hi John, sorry to offend you. I’m reading my post and I will go back and listen to the podcast again and try to find the point where it talks about judging people for living at home too long after college.

      I though the over arching point of this post was the importance of experiencing failures, criticism, and so forth to get better as a person Eg growing up as a minority in Virginia vs a majority in paradise Hawaii. But with your feedback, it seems like I failed to make this point and will improve.

      Let me ask you these questions: as a 42 yo multimillionaire, why do you think it has been so difficult to find someone? Do you think there is any correlation to living at home until 29 and your current relationship situation? Would you rather be with someone and not a multimillionaire? What would you have changed if you could rewind time to when you were 20 years old?


    2. Roxi Connell

      John, Glad this worked out for you so well financially, but one of the reasons you didn’t find a mate in your 20’s is that no woman wants a man who is living at home with his parents, regardless of reason. There are plenty of other options to save money. In college I lived in dorm, then had multiple roommates all through 20’s and 30’s (part of the time in SF) until I got married while I also worked in finance and extra jobs. Truth is, when you’re working that much, you’re hardly home, so no need for big empty house unless it’s an investment. Even then, you can have roommates and get income from it while you’re living there. Many times after divorce, I lived in VERY small renovated studios or mother-in-law units, places without laundry facilities, hotplates with no oven. showers but no bathtub… one rental in the basement of a house had 67 steps up a steep hill to the front door! Not easy while moving in or carrying groceries! My point is there are options other than living with parents. Don’t mean to sound judgmental; I also never found the right person therefore never had any children, but have had a surprisingly fulfilling life so wouldn’t change anything. As for seeking out partners in bars… is that how you would look for a person to fill a job? It’s good to get clear on type of person you want and seek them out same accordingly. Best of luck to you!

  6. I live in Hawaii, spent time in the Bay Area too and I mostly agree with the article with some exceptions:
    1. NYC is tough because of the competition, they have some of the most talented and ambitious people in the country. Hawaii, not so much. One tough aspect about Hawaii is the lack of opportunities compared to other major cities, you can’t job hop forever or pack up and drive to the next nearest city. People stay with the same employer for many years for better or for worse.
    2. Housing cost is a killer, you don’t get much bang for the buck. Prices keep going up for whatever reason, eventually people start leaving for the mainland. There has been a population decline the last couple of years. It’s frustrating and unfair for those that are patiently saving. There’s no way living in Hawaii can make you easily satisfied with life when you’re spending half your monthly income on rent or living with your folks. Lower income earners have second jobs.
    3. The further you live away from Honolulu, housing gets cheaper but the commute with traffic can add long term stress and burst that paradise bubble. Food prices is not that big of an issue if you buy in bulk at Costco. But still, the mainland is cheaper with more choices.
    4. Island fever: Staying on an island for an extended period of time after living on a continent and you may start feeling claustrophobic. There are no seasons on the islands to mark the passing of time. Christmas is watching snow fall in other parts of the country on TV.
    5. For me, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond. If you’re just starting out and are motivated and in a career field where you can grow and excel, Hawaii might be the place to be.

  7. Did you end up deciding? Saw your repost on facebook. I would caution against moving to an area where culturally competent mental health providers and other resources are significantly harder to come by, though I’m sure Virginia isn’t as bad as say Wyoming. I also find the framing to be really…myopic, in the sense that if I were raising a kid in the Bay, I’d be excited by the opportunity to ensure that they were forced to interact with people from a wide swath of cultures and backgrounds, including opportunities to stand up for others as well as themselves. Much more to learn there IMHO than simply navigating a white area in a white/non-white binary.

  8. I completely agree with your assessment that it’s important to develop comfort with being uncomfortable. It sharpens your edge and desire to succeed. I don’t agree with the premise that you must move in order manufacture discomfort or struggle the breeds character. Life is naturally uncomfortable.

    If you are planning on moving, I would look for many of the reasons you stated in previous posts. Lower cost of living, better schools, unique opportunities, change of environment/scenery. Two of our factors in evaluating multiple job offers for my next career advancement were cost of living and state taxes. Ultimately we picked the opportunity that took us to Texas. That opportunity has allowed me to build and lead the spin off of a business unit into an independent subsidiary company. The advancement potential and challenge were the biggest factors in accepting the offer. However, Texas’ lower cost of living and no state income taxes were a huge sweetener.

  9. Guillermo Monroy

    Its hard to make a recommendation of a specific place without knowing your guys preferences and such. One of the coasts? South? Midwest? Abroad? I think the struggle is important, but it can be had anywhere and for different reasons.

    These are a sampling of questions and tradeoffs I have considered (mainly so I don’t write you a book):

    Do I want to be in a larger city so I can switch jobs if I please, or have easy access to museums or events/cultural stuff? But then also potentially deal with traffic, higher rent, etc. Conversely, a cheaper cost of living city but with less ‘interesting’ amenities directly in town (but perhaps nearby to other larger cities).
    -Me personally, I find that I say I will travel for fun but it requires more effort / planning, and day to day tend to do whats nearby. But maybe thats OK?

    Also, once you decide where to go, still have to choose where to live in that general area. What do I want to see every day? City / urban jungle or nature / landscape? (may determine how close you want to live near a large city). Do you plan on buying a house? Need to consider school districts, commute, and things like that.

    Do you need to live in proximity to other people (EG family, friends, customer base, etc.)? This has played a larger role than I thought for me personally, making traveling for holidays and such much, much easier. That being said, its not a big deal to travel for those things, just again, takes more planning.

    I hope you figure out whats best – its not easy. Also keep in mind that there likely is no perfect place, you may want to move again elsewhere in a few years if your circumstances change.

  10. Guillermo Monroy

    Why limit yourself to 2 very narrow geographical regions of the country? Is there anywhere else you two have ever thought to move? (Even abroad?)

    Personally, I strive for flexibility, balance, and access. Will either of these places provide more of that for you and your family? Solely focusing on the racial attitudes and elements of where one lives seems shortsighted, as life is much more than that, and as many others have stated, is not the only important aspect in development or life. I would argue the support one gets is very important. What sources of support did you lean on during your childhood?

      1. Given that you speak of the cost of living in places, I would narrow choices by that criteria. I’d also look at public school scores and the state’s rate of taxation on income. When you narrow it down that way, the pacific northwest, Texas, and the Southeast (FL, GA, SC, NC) come out ahead by my calculus.

  11. It seems like such a defining quality of some people that because they happened to have the opinion they succeeded due in part to their environment that was truly difficult, that my child must face the same environment so he will also be as successful as I have or have certain personality traits like I do.

    I think this is dangerous because it assumes by placing the child in the same harmful environment, the same outcome will be achieved. What if the boy is more like others who grow up in harmful environments and actually do not thrive? Unlimited examples here, but think o the famous one of the boarding school nightmare of Prince Charles, who hated his father because he was forced – in his words – grow up in a living hell. It scared him for life and he is seen to be a less successful person because of it. Or if you became stronger as a result of growing up in a baptist community in the south as a gay child. If you then had a gay son, would putting them through hell to potentially be emboldened really be worth the behavioral and psychological risks involved?

    I’m curious on your thoughts on this. I would think there are far less risky and harmful means to impart the same qualities that you feel you learned in your specific environment.

    I’m 30, a huge fan of your insightful writings, and have lived a life somewhat similar to yours during your 20’s. I look forward to future postings!

      1. What I thought also. I don’t think Sam is suggesting a completely and obviously bad environment. He is suggesting a good environment with challenges that can be used as natural tools that can be used to build and mold character. I also really doubt that he and his wife will not guide, support and help navigate these challenges as need.

  12. As an adult, I’ve seen my initially all white, all straight, family stretch to include both African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and persons with alternate lifestyles. So? None of it seemed to be a problem to anyone, even to the generation behind mine. I’ve lived all over the US and Asia.

    I’ve refused, flat out refused, to let concerns about diversity, or a lack thereof, determine, or even influence, anything about my life (or my family’s).

    Personal safety is another matter but it’s not necessarily tied to diversity or its absence.

    Don’t make decisions based on perceived diversity or lack thereof . Find other reasons to go wherever you go or stay wherever you stay.

    I like Virginia fine (although California has spoiled you as you make it sound more like Minnesota), but I’ll probably never live there again because, in my estimation, anywhere near the coast is too crowded and too expensive and, overall, I don’t like the taxes.

    I love Hawaii, but I’ll probably never live there again because, in my estimation, it is too crowded and too expensive and, overall, I don’t like the taxes. Also, island fever is a real thing, despite how many people pooh-pooh it, and I’m also not fond of making 7-10 hour flights, each way, on a semi-regular basis (heck, I don’t even like commuting to work 15 to 20 minutes each way).

  13. I grew up in McLean the same time as you (Langley and O’Connell though), so I think I understand part of your worldview. I was in NoVa from 1976 until 2011, then got out and semi-retired to my slice of paradise in FL.

    Friendly advice: you, like me, seem exceedingly driven. And, like me, you seem to be “the man with the plan”. I have kids that are in high school now. You know what – life has not turned out anything like I planned for them. They are each their own person despite all my shepherding – and they needed to come into their own self on their own timetable and in their own unique way. In reality, I harmed them by trying to maximize everything for them.

    As a parent, if I were to do it again, I would just provide love/support, values, work ethic and basic financial planning skills. That’s all. Stop overthinking things.

    PS – McLean and Vienna are definitely where to go for the right balance of community, work ethic, schools (in Vienna make sure it is Madison, not Marshall), traffic avoidance and Asian friendliness. North Arlington is good too. And, as you know, you get public Ivy college for in-state pricing which means leftover money for grad school if desired. I’ve thought about going back, but I haaaaate the wet cold and have bad seasonal allergies, so they only time the weather is nice out, I can’t go outside :(

    PPS – The biggest thing that bothers me about living in a beach town is the complete lack of work ethic – it is not a great place to raise kids if the aspiration is for them to make more than $60k. Life really is too easy here and complacency is real. It’s hard to make them hungry. I suspect Hawaii might be the same.

  14. Born and raised in Hawaii, family goes back generations, school and worked on mainland (both coasts) before moving back. Being asian helps you fit in for sure. everyone gives each other a hard time jokingly, though whites get it the worst probably (not always jokingly), but it’s more pronounced because white folks aren’t used to it. If your kid looks white then they may get more flak. Living in hawaii certainly feels like living in a bubble, the outside world just seems to far or foreign to understand, even things happening in the US. I knew a couple black kids, 3 jewish kids, no hispanic kids growing up. Few kids leave the islands for college or work, it’s seems big and scary, it was for me. You’re adventurous when you do. Being the minority for the first time (I’m asian) was a shock. You seem a little familiar with the islands, but you probably know living there isn’t the same as visiting. There’s a reason population has declined the past few years. Folks are struggling. You have money so you might be ok. you mentioned kahala somewhere once which of course is the premier non-gated neighborhood on Oahu, so you’re in a different category than most. Sure folks can be laid back but also why things don’t get done or work poorly. However, I don’t find it any more laid back than cities/towns of equal size of population/density. Being on vacation, in great weather with great scenery can certainly add to that laid back feel. Of course going from SF to honolulu will feel more laid back, as would honolulu to Maui, then maui to Lanai. It’s all relative. Being near family is the only reason I stick around. If not for that, it would be hard for me to stay. Great place to visit, but the islands are changing, and not for the better.

    1. Curious about this logic: If most kids end up staying on the island, and there aren’t that many great job opportunities unless you want to be a doctor (? heard super saturated), what’s the point of spending so much on a grade school education?

      1. You’re kind of right. I don’t know how many parents or kids really think that far ahead though. I think for a lot of people it’s just trying to achieve at the highest level and only thinking of the next step. Trying to get into the competitive big name private school, then the big name competitive college, then big time career and so on. But if your kid wants to live in Hawaii forever and be a teacher or something (no offense to teachers), they could likely do just fine going to public school then UH. I have family members who did that and did well for themselves. I’d say most kids in general stick around but I’d bet most private school kids leave for college and many end up staying there for careers. A majority of my friends went that route and some have, or will, return to the islands taking a lower paying job likely. Some don’t have a good job setup in Hawaii so they can’t move back. Certainly some can make it big with a business or something. If the private school kid goes to harvard then returns back to Hawaii to teach, that’s probably best investment. But again I don’t think many think that far ahead or know what they want.

      2. Forgot to bring up your point about doctors. I work in healthcare and there is probably a shortage of doctors but the problem is, like many other occupations in Hawaii, doctors don’t want to come and/or don’t stay long, which tightens up hiring because some employers don’t want to hiring short-term doctors and try to focus more on doctors with local connections.

        Ultimately, I wanted to add, parents mostly want to provide the “best” for their kid and give them the best opportunity to succeed. It’s easy to understand how private school might provide that, and they’re willing to pay a premium for that chance. Financially, it may not make sense, or the numbers don’t add up, but it’s part emotional too. Personally, I will try my kid out for all the private schools, see what happens. I may succumb to the pressure, emotion, insecurities, etc. and pay for private school as it may just make me feel better that I gave them every opportunity to succeed (whether it’s true or not) without regrets and/or just provide them a nice environment, potentially, for them to learn and grow up in.

  15. Careful some kids may get tougher from racism/bullying, but others may develop life long depression, anxiety, or even suicide.

    1. Mike is correct. This is a very possible outcome. I have suffered severe depression and anxiety for 20 years; not from racism but from age discrimination.

      I was lost when I finished high school; then decided to get a college degree. When I graduated, I was 4-5 years older than the typical college grad.

      At the consulting firm that hired me, I watched all of the other newly hired associates be assigned to clients while I sat in the office with no client assignments and no work. When I begged senior management for work, they promised to find me something; but, never did.

      At my next job; I turned around a complete product line by identifying a problem in the product that was causing adverse selection, and leading the produce redesign. In return, I watched as all my 28-32 year old colleagues received promotions. When I approached senior management about my promotion, all I got was a deer-in-the-headlights response.

      It’s been even worse at my next two jobs. Now that I am over 40, they just outright fire me. The first was a startup that was unprofitable due to poor financial discipline. I built an FP&A practice from the ground-up; then was fired so that a 29-year-old individual could take over my position.

      At the next company, I provided unforeseen strategic insights into the manufacturing process with a revolutionary (for the company) KPI Dashboarding System. 1 week after completion and I was informed that I was no longer needed and abruptly walked out.

      And my last company, after identifying $15 million in annual new revenue opportunities from a research study in customer preferences that I led, I was demoted and handed a 20% pay cut because the company “doesn’t promote people over 40.”

      My kids and family have suffered so terrible because I am in such a severe state of depression just trying to provide for them and being brutally mistreated with every step I take.

      Racism / bullying / discrimination is not a harmless activity. It is severely damaging and has a huge cost. If you’re on the delivering end of such terrible behavior; well, you’re downright sadistic.

  16. Great post! Very inspiring and interesting to follow your thoughts.
    I’d like to propose another option; Singapore. It’s a year-round sunny and nice place. Different cultures live together and you have to respect totally different concepts. Meanwhile, a lot of people are hard working and put in a slot if energy to have a good lifestyle.
    Give it a thought. ;-)

  17. Interesting post Sam,
    I had a somewhat of a reverse experience – that of growing up as a minority in Japan. Born and raised in post WWII Japan I belonged to a very small minority of “Stateless Russians”. Yes I was white. Yes I went to a private school … but we were always the outsiders. Nothing was a given. In school I worked hard to excel not so much to be able to go to a university in the US (as many of my expat classmates did) – that was beyond my parents’ ability to pay, but to be able to get one of the few jobs that periodically came up in one of the foreign companies on graduation. I was successful. But I was still a woman without a country. Eventually came to Canada and found a different approach towards work. First it was not difficult to find a job, it paid well enough. Most of the people I met were good, honest, hard working people, with good ethics and moral standards, albeit somewhat lacking in ambition … if I wanted that, I was told to go east, to Toronto (I was in Vancouver). I stayed. The incentive was not significant enough to weather the extreme cold winters and I met my husband. It is perhaps my one regret in life … the decision to stay in a comfort zone. In Japan it was not easy for us. My parents had to work hard. I had to work hard and that kept me sharp. In Vancouver not so much (I have since changed that by becoming an online entrepreneur). When your environment pushes you, you feel so much more alive. While I understand your wife’s position I’m with you.

  18. Honestly, I hated living in Hawaii. I was born/raised in Virginia Beach, VA and moved to Hawaii in 2001. Immediately moved out 2007 to attend college at UW in Seattle, WA and have loved life since. My parents are still on Oahu and I visit frequently, but I would never live there again.

      1. Hi,
        In Hawaii there’s discrimination amongst different ethnicities too. For example, Filipinos are really at the bottom of the totem pole/respect bc they were the cheapest labor on the sugar plantations. I was bullied and even got beat up for dressing so differently than the “shorts and slippers” style when I first moved there. I did not appreciate the local “pidgin”. I would go as far to say I think it makes people sound dense/uneducated. General attitudes are very laid-back/no sense of the vast world out there because you’re on one of the most isolated places on earth. That also meant no road trips. My career is in cancer pharmaceuticals and I knew Hawaii would not be a place for me to stay after high school. I also love having four seasons! Anyway, I still go there a few times a year to visit my family.

  19. Don’t let your kid suffer and bring him here to Virginia.
    Yes, times have changed since we went to school but it’s not worth the name calling and questioning. My kids are third generation Americans (but we are not white or black) and still are treated as bring different.

  20. Interestingly, my wife–who was born and lived 25 years in an East Asian nation, spent time in about four other East Asian nations, has resided about 25 years in California and has spent time in states in all regions of the USA–feels white Americans are the least racist and most welcoming people as a whole she has encountered.

  21. This was a great article, and reconfirmed some of my own choices, (but positive and negative). Thank you for such an insightful view. Most people get money and run off to a insulated, money bubble, then wonder why their kids can’t cope, or why even their own ideology is unrealistic. Experience is always the superior teacher. Thanks again!

  22. I enjoyed reading your wife’s perspective. I live in Virginia now and believe the east coast is more open minded than the Midwest where I grew up. I think travel broadens peoples’ views and help them appreciate what they have. Perhaps, some visits to VA can help your child value where he lives and lend themselves to a few of the lessons, hopefully non-traumatic, that you value.

    I have a similar view about higher education. The young people whose parents fully fund their college, where they don’t have to work towards paying for it, seem to not fully appreciate the opportunity to study and learn. I think a year of blue collar work, community or universal service, or travel would enable 18 year olds to appreciate the opportunity of higher education and not waste any of it.

  23. I think there is a difference between adversity and racism. I too want my children to be able to handle adversity by the time they reach adulthood, but I would never want them to have to deal with bigotry and hate head-on.

    I think Virginia has a more homogeneous population than Hawaii, but what this discussion seems to be about is more quality of life than racism. The climate difference, for one, leads to a big difference in culture. Living on an island (beaches, vacationers, more relaxed) vs. in-land (especially near D.C. which has a political awareness/feel, plus the hot summers and cold winters.)

    Look, no kid wants to get out and shovel when it’s snowing outside, but you learn something by doing it. Endurance, maybe? But sometimes mainlanders don’t know how to just relax for the sake of it, like Islanders seem to be able to do.

    Not sure where I’d say to go, I think Virginia has more opportunities for young adults, and for exploring by taking road trips and going any direction, rather than being confined to an island. But I loved Maui and would consider a move there, if it weren’t so far from family.
    Great article!

  24. I do agree that facing some adversity as a kid definitely produces a tougher adult. Although in today’s PC world, I’m not supposed to say this, it is more important for boys to be challenged and tested than girls (but a healthy amount is good for girls too. Just not as much). That being said, being closer to family is a big plus for VA. But taking family out of the equation, moving to Hawaii and enrolling your son in a martial art program like Brazilian ju jitsu will give him all the benefits that come from facing adversity in a controlled environment. Best of luck whatever you choose.

    1. We’ll definitely be doing martial arts. I’ve learned martial arts for a long while now, and it gave me a tremendous amount of confidence growing up. I used this confidence to physically fight back when I was a kid. I remember being on the bus when I had a kid behind me pick on my. I turned around and chopped him in the nose. He never messed with me again, and we became buddies.

      My family is in Hawaii FYI.

  25. Paper Tiger

    I’m a white guy married to a Hispanic woman. Our daughter was born outside of SF (San Ramon) but we moved to WI when she was 6 months old and she lived there until she was 5. She lived the rest of the time in Scottsdale and is now in her second year of college at a well known NE University.

    We are upper middle class and she has never wanted for anything and has grown up around affluence and great wealth. She is competitive, strong, hard-working, personable, diverse in thought and actions and has a great desire to serve others and is pursuing a degree, and ultimately a career, with that in mind.

    My humble opinion is selecting a place to live that exposes your child to external forces that you think will “toughen him up” and all the other things you mention is not the best way to accomplish the objective. It is the internal values you instill and how he observes YOUR values at work and on display on a daily basis that will have the most influence. As he grows up, the people he chooses to surround himself with will also play an important role. You become who you choose to be around. Instead of putting him in a negative environment around people who may or may not challenge him in the right way, place him in the comfort of strong, principled, hard-working, spiritual, caring, giving, accomplished people that will build him up rather than tear him down. The strong values he develops in this environment will serve him well when he does ultimately have to deal with the negative side of people and life in general.

    To me, this has been the greatest gift we could have given our daughter in her overall development. She is our only child and we are very proud of the young woman she is turning out to be.

  26. Interesting post. As others have mentioned I think the problem in Hawaii is not lack of racism but simply lack of challenge. It’s a notoriously laid-back place. Although, adversities like sudden volcano explosions are nothing to sniff at.

    My problem with Virginia (at least what I know of it) is there wouldn’t be a lot to move there for other than the adversity for your son. And personally, I don’t really buy into the world view that your race/gender/orientation combo determines how hard life is. Life has a way of dishing out plenty of adversity to almost everyone. Plus, you run the risk of your kid becoming radicalized by negative experiences. The internet has no lack of enclaves of people agreeing and amplifying each others hatred for certain groups, and I think young males are especially vulnerable to falling into them. I think it would be really hard to accidentally ensure your son faces too little adversity but relatively easy to ensure he experiences too much.

    I’ve lived in South Korea for about 3 years now. Far from racist/ignorant experiences making me feel determined to succeed here, I’ve only come to understand it’s much better to live without them. Although there are other factors (air quality, job possibilities) I’m returning to the West later this year.

    I’ve seen people here that received too much ‘adversity’. Dirty apartments, getting lied to and cheated out of money, laughed and pointed at and judged, getting used as an English practice target dummy or fashion accessory rather than a true friend. Very few people are able to turn that kind of experience into a positive, even though they usually rationalize it as such after the fact.

  27. I grew up in SF and although it really is one of the most diverse cities in the US, I did encounter some racism growing up but mainly when I was in grade school. It would be kids from other racial backgrounds that would make racial jokes. I would often hear in high school of gang fights because of racial influence so it’s not like all races got along. At the same time my experiences was close to thirty years ago now so I’m guessing it has gotten a lot better with how kids of different backgrounds get along.
    I would pick Hawaii just because your wife is more comfortable moving over there. You wouldn’t want to move to an area where she didn’t have any desire moving to.

  28. Northwest Islander

    I think a couple of the (presumably non-minority) posters above simply do not get it.

    My family is white. When I was in high school, we moved from a large city to a small town in the Midwest. Simply being from “not around here” was enough for me and my siblings to become targets in school and social groups. My brother was the victim of a hazing incident that left him with multiple fractured vertebrate and permanent damage/physical pain for the rest of his life. His was the worst of our collective injuries. Adding insult to injury – one of my sibling’s assailants was the son of a local cop. It took months for my parents to get their insurance to cover his treatment because they wanted a police report from the attack and the local PD was not about to write one.

    All the character building in the world is not worth what we all went through in that backwater Red state he!!hole. I cannot imagine how much worse things might have been if we had belonged to a minority ethnic group. Completely empathize with the fears of gambling with your child’s future by moving to a place where such “discomfort” is all but guaranteed. It only takes one incident.

    1. Sorry to hear about the difficulties. May I ask why your family moved there and what city and state did all this occur?

      How are you doing in terms of grit and character after having gone through that? Does it make you appreciate life more and work harder? Or did you come away with more of a negative perspective?

      1. Northwest Islander

        This happened in NW Indiana; prefer not to disclose the town. Parents moved the family there for LCOL factors and in-state college opportunities for their children.

        You raise good points via your questioning. I became a high grit, high character, and high empathy adult. I’m not convinced those qualities would have significantly re-calibrated if we had stayed in the city. My capacity for hard work has been described as “beyond human” and the average bystander would describe me as extremely successful. But my personal life has not developed the way I’d like, and I’d venture to say that is the result of my knowing too much about humanity’s worst instincts. I am late 30s, single, and inclined to think I will always be better off single and self-sufficient – also taking care of the family I already have (parents and siblings; we are thick as thieves). Trust nobody but family; prioritize investment in tangible assets (eg real estate) over relationships and other intangibles; etc.

  29. NoVa is a pretty goddamn bleak place to live. If you have millions of dollars and are out of the rat race NoVa is not where you want to be imo. The only selling point for NoVa is the strong economy/job market and that doesn’t seem to be applicable for your family. I agree that Hawaii may not be ideal place to raise a family, but why not compromise and move to a nice neighborhood is SoCal? If I were in your shoes I would move to the following places.

    1) Carmel Valley, San Diego
    2) Boulder, CO
    3) Pacific Palisades, LA
    4) West Lake Hills, Austin
    5) Aspen, CO

    I’ve heard many highly successful people express the same sentiments about intentionally making your kids suffer through adversity because it will make them “stronger” later in life. I don’t understand the argument that you should suffer your entire life so that you can make a lot of money and then move somewhere crappy so your child can have the same painful life that you experienced. When does life get good? Live it up man! Give your kids a lifestyle you were never able to enjoy. They will be fine. There are plenty of highly successful people that were raised in “nice” places.

  30. I would choose Hawaii. Even though I don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated, I think it’s natural to keep your kids from unnecessary harm. But I agree, doing what feels right is not always the best decision.

    But I’m more than sure your son will encounter many challenges that he needs to overcome. Sharing your experiences with him and guiding him on his way, I’m sure it will all work out fine. A parent’s support is all a child needs to grow and succeed.

    Best of luck!

  31. Hawaii, because of your wife. Why is Virginia in the cards if your wife doesn’t want to move there?!

    Our family has a similar decision we are trying to make. Our son is about to go into kindergarten next fall. I am Latina and my husband is Asian. Our neighborhood school represents us demographically and offers Spanish and Mandarin language immersion, although the school is dilapidated. The majority of the students at this school receive free/reduced lunches.

    We are trying to decide if we should move closer to the grandparents to the ritzy suburbs with award winning schools. It just irks me that this community is homogeneous in regards to income and race.

    I’m leaning towards the city school as I can’t see myself living in the suburbs, even though I know the suburb school will be better resourced for my son. We are also almost done paying down our house and I don’t want to dish out more $ for another house. I also don’t want my son to think that when he’s older, his kids need to live in the suburbs to receive a good education.

    1. Because she spent 20 years growing up in Virginia and her family is still there. That’s one good reason. Further, I think it’s important to reflect on our upbringing and address racism in this situation that’s going on in Virginia right n because she spent 20 years growing up in Virginia and her family is still there. That’s one good reason. Further, I think it’s important to reflect on our upbringing and address racism in this situation that’s going on right now.

  32. Nice post. Great touch to include your better half’s point of view.

    While I completely agree that confronting difficulties and being out of your comfort zone leads to perseverance and personal growth, the main reason I would recommend Virginia to raise your young child is the proximity to friends and family (I.e. your support network).

    Many years ago I read about a study that looked at young parent’s additude towards starting a family. The researchers were surprised to initially find inconclusive results. They controlled for the obvious factors (age, income, education, etc) but still some young parents loved the experience and others would not recommend it. So the researchers went back to the drawing board and asked more questions. What they discovered was that the only significant predictor of their additudes was whether they had friends and family involved in the child’s upbringing within 90 km (European study) of their home.

    Conclusion: young parents without family within an hour drive did not recommend the experience while those that did highly recommend it.

    When we had our first we faced this decision – move to Madrid, where we knew no one or move to NYC where I’m from. My better half chose NYC and today we are happy parents.

    Whatever you decide, I wish you lots of luck.

  33. I’ve met several Asian West Coasters who seem lost not being surrounded by more Asian people. I’m used to being a minority and find it weird to be in SF where there are so many people who “look like me.” But it wouldn’t necessarily be easy street growing up around a lot of Asians either. Asian people pick on me for looking different, and both my parents are Chinese.

    1. Also that it doesn’t simply go as deep as binary Asian/non-Asian. Ask a Korean what they think of the Japanese or ask a Filipino what they think of the Chinese. On the grand scale of things worldwide being non-white in a western country is usually pretty tolerable.

  34. Very much liked this post, as always, Sam! I vote for Virginia (I am biased, I live here in northern VA). I am the grandchild of sharecroppers form Tennessee (I am caucasian), and my parents moved to this area in the late 1970s because of the opportunities. I haven’t experience racism, but have, like most women (and ones that posted earlier in this thread) experienced sexism. I think your son’s opportunities for broad cultural experiences will be better in Virginia.

    All of that aside, though– your wife needs to be happy too– and think that that’s the most important point.

  35. Hi – I’m a 40ish male born to South Korean immigrants in Chattanooga, TN. I was raised an hour north of Chattanooga in a small town with a current population north of 13,000. There were some isolated racial-laden incidents that I can remember, but for the most part, I assimilated fairly well and rarely had to defend myself because of my ethnicity. And back then, I was a small guy, so I had to rely on my wits to avoid trouble. For instance, Kung Fu Theatre on the USA Network was a very popular show with my peers back in those days. Fortunately for me, the show perpetuated a stereotype that Asians are mythical creatures that can fly, leap over walls, and kill you with just three fingers. Use your imagination.

    People from my hometown live Christian-led lives and carried a very pleasant “do unto others” disposition (even though most of the white folks still generally kept themselves segregated from African-Americans).

    I found that if you all make the extra effort people generally see you as a person and not that “Asian” person. This attitude and outlook helped me form very strong friendships, and a lot of them embraced my mom’s Korean cooking and stinky kimchi. I have nothing but fond memories for my experience and the people I got to know in my hometown.

    My sister’s story sounds a lot like your wife’s in the way that growing up in the south really bothered her due to the homogeneity and isolated racial incidents that she experienced. As a result, my sister chose to be a recluse for most of her childhood and when the opportunity arose to GTFO — she GTFO and never looked back. (I am not saying this is your wife’s experience, but she wrote a lot of things that my sister always said to me about our hometown.) Currently, she lives in the Bay Area as you all do. She loves it and is thrilled that she has friends that look like her and had had similar upbringings to ours. It’s also not lost on me that a girl’s “growing up” experience is filled with challenges that I could not even imagine.

    Back in the late 1990s when I was in my mid-twenties, I moved up to New York and lived there for four years (Manhattan, Queens, and back to Manhattan). Believe it or not, I was involved in more racial incidents in one year there then I was for 18 years living in Tennessee. Here are a few choice incidents that I experienced in New York:

    – Karate noises, “Ching Chong Chinaman,” “Jackie Chan,” etc.. yelled at me numerous times in the subway or on the streets
    – “That dude eats dog meat” directed at me from a white dude in a pub near my apartment on the UWS
    – “F—ing chinks” also murmured my way by some white dude in a restaurant

    SFO is a fine place to live if you can afford it. Something about it never really struck a chord with me as I think I’m East Coast through and through. I’m sure your kid will grow up balanced, normal, and well on his way onto the path of success regardless of wherever you decide to call your next home.

  36. Virginia.

    Life is chapters of seasons and challenges. Don’t make life too easy for your son. Experience all seasons. Short term gain has long term cost.

  37. As an white guy, my thoughts will be dismissed but hey I’m going to throw some out there anyway.

    There is an overemphasis on “racism” in public spectrum right now which is designed to keep the public in turmoil, NOT solve “problems”.

    In realty, the times we live in are some of the best for humans the world has ever seen. Relatively little worldwide turmoil, fairly good economic activity, improved healthcare and technological advances that make life long and easy. This ease brings opportunity to those of any race/religion/orientation/background who are willing to work with the opportunities presented.

    In fact, things are so good that it allows charlatans to come in and make noise about all kinds of things like: racism;global warming;”fairness” and other tripe. The charlatans make noise not to solve problems but to obfuscate and confuse people who they hope will turn over power to them.

    Life is not guaranteed to be risk or turmoil free. As you state, the turmoils experienced have made you better. My biggest fear is that as the charlatons claim to make a turmoil free world, we lose what makes us strong. The terms snowflakes and microaggressions come to mind.

    Note that I do not think you are a charlatan Sam. You are not trying to take power. You are just discussing how you and your family manage observations of the world to determine what works for you.

    1. Can you propose any specific solutions?

      What are some hardships you faced and help to develop as a person? Are you willing to expose your children to diversity or homogeneity?


      1. Solutions?
        For individuals: How about teaching personal responsibility instead of expecting government to take care of you. Or instead of “poor me”, work to better yourself.
        For government: Stop rewarding bad behavior and punishing good behavior.

      2. I am not sure what problem you are asking me to offer solution for. The point of my comments are just the opposite of solving a “problem.” Just because someone may be “offended,” does not mean there is a problem requiring solution.

        Here are a few thoughts that could be solutions:
        1. more people could learn to think for themselves, consider how they carry themselves and their values rather than worrying about how others think and act so much.
        2. Stop listening to the charlatans who claim they have solutions if we give them power.

        Hardships i have faced?
        1. Being a landlord and finding out I misjudged character. I became better at it and yes- more judgemental. After all, we are talking about my money.

        2. Investing too much emotional energy, time and life into positions that proved to not be ‘worthy.” These experiences helped me develop disciplines around FI.

        3. Health scares have helped me evaluate priorities.

        4. Being stuck in cities full of crazy bats&^t liberals who fall for charlatans all the time.

        Our kids are now adults living on both coasts. We raised them in areas that supported our lifestyle and need, not theirs. They were kids! They just came along for the ride.

        I am sorry but I have to reject your question about whether we would raise our kids in a diverse or homogeneous environment. I find this to be a flawed question that assumes things that may not be true. To be honest, neither attribute would come into my mind. There are way more important criteria than either of these.

        I enjoy reading your articles and thanks for allowing me to respond to your inquiry.

  38. I do not see you in Hawaii, or more specifically Ohau — too limiting. I have an idea where you live in San Francisco, and I am not living there. Nothing personal.

    You are a natural Easterner. Neither California nor Hawaii have solid credit ratings – New York is not terrible, and it is where the money is, However, North Carolina and Virginia have absolutely solid ratings. Williamsburg is great – I do not see you there, nor around DC.

    A lot of people will be surprised about North Carolina; however, the Triangle area Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill is a tech and Asian paradise. The average age is under 40. I would opt for Chapel Hill myself. I see your son at Duke, so you can visit more easily.

    Here is your choice of Chapel Hill Homes. I do not charge commission

      1. Just outside NYC, and in NC.

        Very high quality of life – a more natural match for your somewhat conservative views and probably better for your son. Very tech-heavy — great colleges close by — more similar ethnicity but still diversity. Your “star” will be brighter. Lower living costs. You can buy a mansion for a million and use the extra sale proceeds for investment. One of a small number of states with across the board highest credit ratings. You can get anywhere from RDU – NYC. Duke is a true world-class hospital. Did you say you had a relative in NC – is it near the triangle? You are close enough to the ocean, which is actually warm, and the Smokies.

  39. All of this financial stuff aside, I’m sorry you & your wife had to put up with those hardships.

    1. Thanks, but it’s quite all right. As I try to write in my post, I am very grateful for the racism that I experienced growing up. It makes the good times so much better.

  40. The biggest thing for Hawaii is that your wife needs to be on board and obviously she is dead set against Virginia.

    You make some valid points Sam about wanting to get some exposure to the bad early on so that you are prepared for it as an adult but I would not make that a priority in choosing between two vastly different locales.

    I think living in Hawaii is the dream of a lot of people because of the weather and the scenery and the reason why people don’t is because of how expensive it is to live there. You are very fortunate to be in a position where this does not matter and I would take full advantage of that.

    Your kid will develop habits from you and your wife and from what I see that will make him a go getter and I doubt you will have any problems launching him from your house when the time is ready.

  41. Go to HI.

    Having lived there for a couple years as a blonde/blue-eyed Caucasian, I promise you your son will experience racism.

    Teach him it’s wrong, and to stand up for his haole classmates, etc.

    1. Tell me more about your racism growing up as a white person in Hawaii! And do you feel better and stronger because of it? You growing up in Hawaii as a white person might be similar to my son growing up as an Asian person in Virginia.

      What are the positives from your experience. Thanks!

      1. No, grew up in MN (pretty oblivious to racism), wasn’t in HI until my thirties.

        Experienced racism there near daily. Old enough to not be too affected by it, but was why I moved away.

        Positives? Did make me more aware/sensitive to racism, of course.

        The thing is: your son doesn’t need to be on the receiving end to experience it.

        Teach him to be aware of it and that it’s wrong, and (HI being the most overtly racist place in the US), he’ll have many, many opportunities there to see how best to deal with it.

  42. I’m a big believer in the phrase, happy wife happy life. But seriously, why would you want to move to a place where your significant other is unhappy and/or uncomfortable?

    Out of the two options, I’d choose Hawaii. That said, if the primary considerations are to limit both racism and complacency in your son’s childhood, there’s probably a decent amount of other cities to consider.

  43. Great article! Both of you make excellent points, but I think there is another angle to consider that neither of you mentioned in your arguments: If your son grows up in a great place that he really enjoys, he will be more likely to come back and visit more often (which is great for you and him)! For example, I grew up in San Diego, which in my (very biased) opinion is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I don’t live there at the moment, but going back to visit is doubly exciting because I’m not just visiting my parents, but visiting my amazing city as well! Beautiful beaches, amazing weather, the best Mexican food in the states hands down, what’s not to love?

    Now, you could say that if your were to raise your son in Virginia and then move to a more desirable location after he is grown you could potentially kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, but I would argue your son would not feel the same attachment or get the same enjoyment going to visit you in a city, regardless of how awesome, that he did not grow up in. The benefits of going back home to a city *that you grew up in* are:

    1. You know your way around like a true local and thus can maximize your experience: all the good places to eat, hang out, best hiking trails, etc

    2. You will always have friends in town to hang out with. Though this can be true anywhere, it will be more so the case if you grow up in a desirable location like SF, San Diego, Manhattan, etc. Reason being, these places tend to have strong job markets meaning many friends simply live and work there as adults, and even if they don’t they will enjoy coming back more frequently (especially for holidays) just because of how awesome the city is (just like your son probably would!) thus increasing chances for your son to reconnect and/or maintain childhood friendships into adulthood.

    3. You will always be reminded of great childhood memories whenever you return, and will continue to add to them as your city provides many opportunities for adults to have fun. This will lead to a lifelong collection of great memories associated with his hometown that your son can be proud of and treasure forever.

    4. Higher odds of meeting a romantic partner from your hometown. Big attractive cities are both home to more people and also tend to attract younger people due to job opportunities and higher quality of life, thus, having a lasting connection to such a place can increase your odds of benefiting from the allure of the city and meeting some of the young, like-minded people it attracts.

    In conclusion, consider the value of giving your son a childhood home city that he can enjoy for his whole life! Despite being extremely spoiled growing up in San Diego (incredible weather, virtually no natural disasters, not a lot of big bugs, etc. – growing up in a place like that sets the bar high and makes adjustment difficult when you move somewhere with more extreme weather, huge spiders, or a less laid back vibe) I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Yes, there were some difficult adjustments, but I adapted! It’s one of our greatest qualities as humans and there’s no doubt your son will be able to do the same.

    Let me pose the question to you like this: you believe exposing your son to hardship early and often will better prepare him for the difficult and trying world that awaits him, but conversely, do you believe that if you didn’t expose your son to that hardship that he would be unable to cope with other difficulties that confront him later in life? In other words, is it your belief that exposure to hardship is *necessary* for a strong mindset and success later in life, or instead that you can still foster that mindset through other means, i.e. great parenting, natural inner motivation and drive, participation in challenging activities like sports, instruments, etc.,

    Just my two cents! Hope it was interesting.

    1. Hey Luke! Great thoughts! I love Del Mar and the boutique hotel, Las Ventanas. I try to always stay there when I go down. SD is great, truly is. More like Honolulu than somewhere in VA for sure.

      “Consider the value of giving your son a childhood home city that he can enjoy for his whole life!” – Such a great point. I LOVED going back to Honolulu every year growing up. It felt so awesome to see my grandparents, eat mango, drive around with my dad, visit the beaches, and so forth. I was never bored and always excited.

      What a GIFT to have children first of all. But another gift of them wanting to come home and visit us when we are old an less mobile. I’d like that very much.

      I will say that wherever we live, home will be special. I’d love to go back to Williamsburg, VA and spend a couple weeks. So many fond memories.

      I absolutely believe going through hardship makes us appreciate the good times more. I love remembering the times I had to wake up by 4:45am to get to work by 5:30am to do someone else’s bidding in a pressure cooker situation. It makes me love getting up by 5am 20 years later and work on my OWN passions without anybody telling me what to do.

      What a gift to progress!

  44. McArthur Wheeler

    Furthermore, while this is a rhetorical exercise, the reality is that where you live does not impact your son much. It is what he sees and hears daily that will impact him and his behavior. Little Sam will be just fine. This you already know. Its just better wear shorts and sweet Hawaiian shirts while doing it.

    On second thought, if you live in Hawaii, you will be constrained to high speed underwater electric rail or electric submarines with limited seating, or hang gliding across the Pacific. Tougher to get to the mainland US or to get items from the mainland.

  45. McArthur Wheeler

    Hawaii, in particular Kauai. Local fish mongers to stop by daily, calm environment, not as many people. What is not to love. Not to mention a hot plate lunch, warm waters, and the expected dress of shorts, t-shirt, and sandals. Maybe even getting to appear on the reboot of Magnum PI. The original is far superior, but the reboot is fun too! Maybe you and the the decision maker (wife) might contemplate another small human to give your boy a wrasslin’ companion.

  46. I suggest Europe
    (South If Europe so climate and food are good)
    Since overthere you might be a “double” minority (Asian and US) while living in a great Continent with a lot of culture (great for your son) , able to learn a new language (English is too easy…learning a Latin language is another way to stretch your comfort zone)

    And did I say cheaper cost of leaving and mostly free health care?

    Besides if you relocate to Portugal they offer 10y tax free on your income and possibility to get permanent card (and subsequently EU passport) if you buy a property worth 500KE
    In Spain they offer a similar program (tax break excluded)

  47. Sam,

    I’ve gotta side with your wife on this one. You guys don’t necessarily have to move to Hawaii, but from your writeup, I wouldn’t touch Virginia with a 10 foot pole. From what you and your wife wrote, it sounds like a pretty trashy place.

    You can teach your child how to deal with adversity and overcome challenges in life without intentionally subjecting him to racial discrimination. Plus, people who are like that are a cancer on society and don’t deserve the economic activity people like you bring into a community. Let the racists stay with the racists, they deserve each other.

    Best to you and your family. If Virginia was as bad as you say, then wishing you the best means wishing you never go back.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    1. Hmm, I failed in my write-up then, b/c Virginia is not a trashy place. It’s a lovely place with a strong economy and overall nice folks.

      It’s just a place where I experienced the most amount of racism in my life. People are products of their times. Richmond, Virginia was the capital of the Confederacy in the 1860s and people are proud of their history.

  48. I would say it doesn’t matter where you live. Your son will learn and respond, based on how you both do. He’s going to find racism wherever you go — maybe less, maybe more, but it will be there.

    It’s not just skin tone and nationality, though. When I graduated from high school in a small Michigan farming town, my uncle (a well-meaning guy) took me aside and said, “Now you need to go to a good Bible school for a year or two, so you can find a nice husband.” What was ironic about that — I was accepted at a ‘nice Bible school’ (Cornerstone University) — but far too liberal for his taste!
    So yes, girls can get the same kind of unfeeling/unthinking responses, too. I feel certain that most cruel remarks are people responding, based on how they’re brought up, and what they’ve heard family members say. THAT’S where you break the pattern. Not only did our daughters never hear that they couldn’t do something ‘because they were a girl,’ but we did our darndest trying to get them to see people as people — not skin colors.

    We’ve lived in Colorado now for 34+ years, so I do need to point out something about an earlier comment on this thread. Yes, people tend to be more accepting here — but they can take it to a level that’s a little frightening. Tolerance only applies to popular trends like marijuana use and gay activists. If you’re conservative, pro-life, or have Christian beliefs? Boooooo….I won’t even bring up the response to President Trump.
    This isn’t always the case, but it’s more common than not, especially in towns like Boulder. It’s not uncommon for the Boulder/Denver area to vote one way — and carry the state, even when the other counties vote differently. Go figure.

  49. As an Asian-American who faced my own share of racism growing up, this was very moving emotionally and thought provoking.

    Thank you to both of you.

    1. A few add on thoughts:

      1) I’ve actually thought of something similar for my future kids but in terms of wealth building instead of racism.

      My ideal plan is to travel regularly to poorer countries with them to show hardship and to experience poverty. That will both motivate them and teach them compassion.

      2) I also wonder about this issue for myself. Having worked for about 20 yrs and climbed the corporate ladder (and then unexpectedly separating from my company), I could just coast since I’m so close to FI. Or I could choose to struggle and sprint to the finishing line. Still trying to figure it out.

      3) On a more existential level, how are we as people supposed to live our lives?

      Is it to struggle so that we can accomplish more and more (queue in Gordon Gekko’s greed speech from the movie Wall St)?

      That’s the values of capitalism and the Protestant (now Immigrant) Work Ethic.

      Or is it inner peace and freedom from disturbance? This is what the early Greek philosophers advocated to attain the good life. And how the Buddhists approach the suffering of this world.

      I’m still trying to figure this out too.

      Wonderful post. Thank you.

      1. I don’t know if we can fully appreciate inner peace and freedom without experiencing conflict and pain.

        For example, I LOVE, LOVE running Financial Samurai b/c I still remember as clear as day my wife and I going to the Apple Store in 2009 to pull the site up on one of the laptops and feel proud. We did our user testing from their computers to squash bugs. So fun!

        If I was just given Financial Samurai in its current form, I wouldn’t feel proud at all. I would feel sheepish that someone spent 10 years and 15,000+ hours to build it. I would feel unworthy.

  50. I voted “other” because, obviously, there are even more factors that we readers can’t possibly know that you and your wife have to consider.

    A big one is how accessible do you want to be to family? I don’t mean that in a back-handed way. It’s just living in Hawaii can make a big difference. Yes, I know you’re FI and can take very long visits when you want to and probably fly others to you, but it’s still a consideration.

    I’m more in your wife’s camp of not wanting to fight unless it’s necessary. It’s hard to know what personality your son will have. I was fine dealing with garbage myself but when someone works overtime to manipulate me; that’s the thing I hate the most. I bring that up as an example of how unpredictable things can be with personalities and emotions.

    The good news is, wherever you go, the base level of personal happiness tends to be where it will be, regardless of situation (to a point.)

    If you can travel enough to visit family and can weigh all the other issues as best you can, I probably would lean Hawaii.

    1. Such a great post as always. Better than ever Sam and Sam’s wife. I voted Other too, for similar reasons. Sam, when your son grows up, he’ll leave Hawaii for opportunities and then you’ll be there alone, except for visits, just like your parents. Also, your wife hated Virginia, so probably wouldn’t be happy going back. My small hometown has changed a lot but I would never go back there to live. Still far too boring, far too religious, far too narrow minded. And I do not think that the shaming treatment I suffered in my small town was character building. It took me 40 years to overcome the damage enough to begin to be happy and healthy. But if you try it, see if it works out, you can always reverse, a few years there, and then off to Hawaii. I think parents spending time with children, and especially working with children in the house, garden, business, is the key. Children with jobs inside and outside the home and responsibilities develop character. Parents who offer a luxurious lifestyle with no responsibilties with the whole family in separate rooms with technology are asking for trouble. Cook meals together, everybody taking turns. Children do what their parents do, including treat their parents how they see the parents treating their parents.

    2. This is the most fascinating thread. I too grew up an Asian-American in McLean, VA and went to college in Southern VA (at UVA)! I eventually married an SF native and we’re here in SF now presumably for good since both sides of the family are now here. But we adore Hawaii!! What a magical place, my husband grew up going to Oahu every summer. We seriously discussed what it would be like to live there year round, but concluded that it would be very tough for our future kids to be motivated at school or work with paradise all around.

      NoVA is way more Asian than it used to be, but certainly it would not be like SF, which is 60% Asian! The feeling of finally being in the majority when I moved to SF was really amazing, but I do worry that it’s a bit of a bubble and that being raised in this environment leaves kids unequipped for the “real” makeup of the US in which Asians are only 5% of the population. That being said, I while I grew up on the East Coast I virtually sequestered myself in Asian friend circles in college and high school and still went into the corporate world unprepared for how to deal with corporate culture in which I would need to be much more overt and assertive to get ahead versus constantly humbling myself or downplaying achievements. I absolutely had faced racism while growing up and instead of toughening me up, it was traumatizing. But I guess it gave me a more well-rounded perspective on American society.

      All in all, no place is perfect! The school system was top notch in NoVA and I would loooove a suburban house in VA, but I do love all the Asian food in SF and being close to Asia and family. Overachieving Asian students and crazy tiger parents in NorCal scare me, but for SURE they are in NoVA too!!

  51. Definitely, agree with your lack of discipline fading when you’re in a place that has unlimited outlets. For me, in Seattle, I found myself more focused on where I was going to hike next instead of learning more code. Really, my time there was like a year off even though I was working full time with Microsoft. I’ve since moved to Dallas. Lame, flat, Dallas. I love it though. Never been more focused and ambitious in my life since being here. Dallas also has a pretty good airport if I really need to get away!

  52. Both of you are killing me lol. I absolutely adore Hawaii as someone from Minnesota, I would be heaven if I got an opportunity to live there. Also to be honest, I remember a certain someone special turned out just fine in the Hawaiian lifestyle and became the 44th POTUS. I think it’s actually based on how you raise your son. If you raise him to be considerate of others and empathize with other people’s experiences, he will be well equipped in a selfish world. As a first generation Nigerian-American living in the Midwest, our state is pretty segregated and although there is several diverse groups here including a large Nigerian population, there is a gap between POC and our white counterparts in the state. The wealth is not with the POC. My husband who happens to be both Nigerian and African American experienced the same disparate treatments I did growing up here. We’ve both had to fight to get the same opportunities and advocate for ourselves in schools and the workplace. Through education, mentorships, books and documentaries we see the importance of instilling the ideals of generational wealth, love, consideration, and knowledge into our newly-turned 2 year old. (Last Monday was his bday so he’s pretty close to your son’s age). So I say all this to say, you guys will do a wonderful job raising him no matter where you go, because I believe it really starts in the home and with the type of parents you have.

    1. Regarding Obama… he’s obviously a good example of success. However, dare I say Obama going to Hawaii is like us going to Virginia?

      African Americans were an extreme minority in Hawaii back then. And to this day, Blacks only make up 1.6% of the population. So I’m thinking Obama went through the difficulties that I experienced and I’m wondering if my son should experience.

      Ah hah! Another vote for being uncomfortable!

  53. Sam, I don’t know which is a better fit for you and your family. But if your main reason to move is your son, how do you know he’ll respond as well as you did to adversity in VA? Also, you’re making the assumption that kids that grow up in a wealthy enclave have less of a hunger to succeed. I really urge you to examine this assumption. What does the data say? You mention the neighbors’ kids living at home, but perhaps this has more to do with their parents (parenting style) and less about the city they live in.

    I grew up in Pacific Heights in SF and my parents insisted on a private education – which I resisted – but many of my peers are “hungry” and have had very successful careers in finance, tech, and other industries. The majority have estaished financial freedom. If anything, being exposed to a vibrant local community that espoused entrepreneurialism and early exposure to tech (though many of us never thought we would work in tech) was extremely formative. Interestingly, the kids whose parents pushed their kids to get straight A’s excelled academically but never really seemed happy and their motivation seemed suspect. Sure, there were plenty of underachievers who never amounted to much, but probably no more than at other schools.

    I don’t have any science or data to back this up, but it seems that the ones who ended up doing well were not only hardworking but self-sufficient and self-motivated. Discomfort helps, but may have nothing to do with these attributes.


    1. Marc – I don’t know for sure, but I will know by the time he’s 5 (kindergarten) about his personality and what he can probably handle. It’s not like we’re going into the Lion’s Den.

      But let me turn it around on you:

      1) How does it feel to be born rich and go to expensive private schools all your life? Was that your normal since that’s all you knew and therefore acted as you would in any environment?

      2) If you grew up in a SFH in Pacific Heights, the house must be worth $4M – $10M today on average. Were you able to recognize growing up this level of wealth versus the rest of the country was not normal? Or, did by going to private HS and college normalize it?

      3) Did your motivation change knowing you had a family business to go back to? Do you feel pride working at your family business or guilt that it was a guaranteed entrance? I plan to keep our family business going for a while as a safety net just in case my son can’t establish himself with a new job.

      4) As an adult, is it easy to avoid the other realities of the world by associating only with your peers?

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  54. If this is about your kids…don’t worry about where you will live. They will experience, racism, bullying, or some kind of injustice no matter where you relocate to just based purely on their upcoming age bracket(9-18). Kids will always pick on other kids regardless if you live in the ghetto or the country club. It is human nature.

    My recommendation is to pick the place the family would like to live and grow in the community. In addition, I would take your kids on your travels overseas to see how the rest of the world lives outside of the US. Even the poor in our country do not compare to the poor in other countries.

    Life is about experiences and they will see the good, bad, and the ugly regardless of where you live.

  55. Sam, are you reading my thoughts? I was just thinking something along these lines yesterday, (while researching best places to emigrate to) that all the Financial Samurai’s/FIRE crowd should just buy property in small towns that are dying out. We’d whip out racism and be happy in a tight knit, stealthy community.

    But seriously it’s exhausting to feel consistently uncomfortable (read as unhappy) about your personal and financial growth. And it’s hard to be creative and energetic when you feel worn down. So I’m siding with Ms FS. (I wonder if public opinion is going to breakdown across gender lines?) If I had the option and means of high tailing it to Hawaii, you wouldn’t even see my dust.

    As Mr. Bo Dangles pointed out, kids are dumb, if it’s not racism, they will find something else to pick on; coming from wealth, not coming from wealth, not in the “it” crowd, too smart, not smart enough, wearing glasses (I was), not pretty enough, not wearing branded clothes, not being athletic, being too hairy (not a word anyone!), being short, being tall. Seriously it’s like they throw a dart at some random list.

    Book link in website box.

    1. Yeah, part of the reason why I’m coaching high school tennis is to understand more about teenage boys. Why not do some coaching and research 12-14 years before my son becomes one right?

      I do believe some kids will always be cruel, but I am IMPRESSED with how almost every kid at the high school I coach at compared to the HS I went to, is normal and respectful. I think a lot of this has to do with the parents. They’ve bought in and care a great deal.

      1. I think you’ve answered the question here. “It has a lot to do with the parents.”
        No matter where you live, it’s up to you and your wife to impart values, expectations, and responsibilities to your son. He doesn’t need additional racism to grow.

  56. Cheryl from Texas

    This is a really interesting post, Sam.

    I am a Black woman (born and raised in Texas). There were/ are some issues some times, but growing up, my parents and I navigated them.

    Fast forward to years later, I lived (working) in China for a few years. There were also a few Africans in the city where I was living. Interestingly, I had a much easier time adjusting to life than most of my African contacts; coming from an environment where I was used to being “the only one” had prepared me to face this dynamic in real life.

    “Black” (African ancestry) hair, for example, needs special products, routines, care, etc. Even here in the US, I am used to having to hunt for specialized products and looking for ways to find them in a country where Asian/ White/ everybody but Black hair (lol) is the norm. When I moved to China, it wasn’t a big deal for me; I was used to having to find another way. Many of my African friends were incensed that they had to search. In essence, they experienced whiplash being a minority for the first time in their lives as adults.

    For me, it was just another chapter in a progressively exciting story. ;-) That is to say, it was uncomfortable some times growing up, but as a woman I was (and am) prepared for any situations that come my way. I can do whatever it takes to succeed. *high fives Sam*

    Best of luck to you and your wife, Sam! I’m sure that it will work out either way.

  57. TerriHermosa

    I cannot comment on the race aspect of the conversation but I have felt sexism in my line of work as a broadcast engineer. Actually had a couple of male “promise keepers” one night try to talk me out of working overnights and to go home to my family. I enjoy my career, have been quite successful and now am reaping the rewards of nearing FIRE. I have a side of my family that grew up with money in sunny Florida in beautiful waterfront homes and the children did not turn out well at all and another side of my family from the heartland with modest means and all the children turned out motivated and adjusted.

    I do feel we need to test and challenge our kids. I hope that can be done by education, volunteerism and exposure on travels. Both you and your wife have earned the beautiful life you want to have for yourselves in Hawaii. Maybe there are environmental projects, social projects, hospital work etc. that can be included on a regular basis to keep the challenges available for your son. Hawaii is so gorgeous but personally don’t know if I could live for longer than a year or 2 at your young ages so isolated…..

    1. Thanks for sharing! Why do you think your wealthy kid relatives didn’t turn out so well? Do you mind elaborating on what not so well means? There’s a wide gamut here. Why do you think they didn’t turn out so well?

      I think my wife and I have earned our freedom, but our son hasn’t. So far, he’s just been lucky to born to us, and that is not an accomplishment based on effort.

      Do you have children of your own? If so, what would you do?

      1. TerriHermosa

        Well…..not so well is drug problems-bigly, lack of respect for higher learning so no college, being bailed out so many times that it looks like their chance for success will be when an inheritance finally arrives. (being set up with jobs with calls to friends, having a business bought for them and failing) Taking care of their grandkids or should I say effectively raising them. I think the parents step in too quickly to fix things and now also their love for the young grandchildren keep them in a vicious cycle.

        I have 2 sons ages 11 and 13. We are comfortable but both still working. We are definately advocates for higher learning. My husband and I have different opinions on working when young and in college. I feel you should start a job and pay for things on your own as soon as possible and contribute and my husband wants our kids to have the freedom to study as long as their grades are good and to have the chance to take unpaid internships for more opportunities.

        I think if I were you I would still go to Hawaii since YOLO and you only get so many years on this rock. I would also plan challenges and motivations for your son to earn on his own and not bail him out of his struggles and I’m sure you would not as seen by your posts. My son wanted a new gaming computer for Christmas and he already has a MacBook and an X-box and we felt that this was excessive. We gave him money towards a new computer (a little less than a 1/3 it turned out) and he had to come up with the rest. He had savings from allowance and past birthdays and then he scrounged up change from every place imaginable and rolled it up and brought it to the bank ($24.50 in pennies alone!!!) He not only loves his new gaming computer, he realizes how much it costs.

        Are you seriously thinking of Virginia and not Hawaii?

        1. To be frank, those kids sound like my worse nightmare. Crap……………. what could their parents have done differently? I would feel like a huge failure and very depressed if my son grew up to be a spoiled, disrespectful who didn’t appreciate education and the importance of finding his own independence.

          Yes, I’m seriously thinking of Virginia.

  58. Sam – not being American gives me a bit of an unbiased view. I would do both, in your position. Move to Virginia on a permanent basis to be close to family and have the advantages of an LCOL area. Then get a holiday let in Hawaii which you can rent out and visit during school holidays and the summer . Or just rent a place when you go to visit. By the time you’re kids grow up you could move to Hawaii with the gazillion dollar and you will have accrued by then!
    My family lived long term in Toronto and then spent summers in Antigua at the Mill Reef club and it was amazing. Best of both worlds.
    Look forward to hearing about what you choose to do !

  59. Move to Hawaii and enroll the kid(s) at Punahou (isn’t that Obama’s alma mater?). There is no need to ‘create’ character building challenges for your children; the world will take care of that wherever you go. I personally think if you have the opportunity to live somewhere beautiful that inspires you AND you have family near by and you don’t do it, you’re crazy and you’ll regret it, but YMMV.

    1. To get in is easier said than done.

      It is a fine balance to live the good life you’ve worked hard to create, and let your children live the good life just because they were born lucky.

      As they say in Japan, “To rice paddy field to rice paddy field in three generations.”

      The Scottish say “The father buys, the son builds, the grandchild sells, and his son begs.”

      1. True enough. You probably will want to seek out opportunities to volunteer and show your son how the rest of the world lives and struggles, so I retract a bit. But I personally wouldn’t be willing to deny myself the fruits of my hard work just so my children could experience the same challenges that I experienced. There are families that appear to be successful, kind and hardworking across generations.

  60. Little Seeds of Wealth

    Northern Virginia has a big Asian community and is demographically diverse. There’d be some racism like in any other big city, but your son won’t have trouble finding someone looking like himself either.
    That being said, I think the choice is Honolulu. Why not say yes to a place you two both love rather than settling for a place where your wife has bad memories growing up? Virginia surely has a lot to offer, but early exposure to racism is a strange reason to choose it.

    1. Yes, a 10% Asian community in Northern Virginia is better than 5.5%, and I did like my time in Northern Virginia. My wife grew up in Charlottesville, Richmond, and Williamsburg, which are less diverse parts of Virginia. So perhaps if she grew up in Northern Virginia, she would have enjoyed it better.

      It’s hard as parents, because we want to educate, but we also don’t want to spoil our children based off the work that we put in. Can you imagine living in a really nice home next to the beach in Hawaii your entire childhood? How magical. And how demotivating.

      1. This is the most fascinating thread. I too grew up an Asian-American in McLean, VA and went to college in Southern VA (at UVA)! I eventually married an SF native and we’re here in SF now presumably for good since both sides of the family are now here. But we adore Hawaii!! What a magical place, my husband grew up going to Oahu every summer. We seriously discussed what it would be like to live there year round, but concluded that it would be very tough for our future kids to be motivated at school or work with paradise all around.

        NoVA is way more Asian than it used to be, but certainly it would not be like SF, which is 60% Asian! The feeling of finally being in the majority when I moved to SF was really amazing, but I do worry that it’s a bit of a bubble and that being raised in this environment leaves kids unequipped for the “real” makeup of the US in which Asians are only 5% of the population. That being said, I while I grew up on the East Coast I virtually sequestered myself in Asian friend circles in college and high school and still went into the corporate world unprepared for how to deal with corporate culture in which I would need to be much more overt and assertive to get ahead versus constantly humbling myself or downplaying achievements. I absolutely had faced racism while growing up and instead of toughening me up, it was traumatizing. But I guess it gave me a more well-rounded perspective on American society.

        All in all, no place is perfect! The school system was top notch in NoVA and I would loooove a suburban house in VA, but I do love all the Asian food in SF and being close to Asia and family. Overachieving Asian students and crazy tiger parents in NorCal scare me, but for SURE they are in NoVA too!!

  61. As a wealthy white guy with an expensive education, I have no idea what it is like to deal with racism directly. It would be a joke for me to claim otherwise. My schools growing up were also 90% white. Undergraduate and law school weren’t really that much more diverse (plus college is a bubble anyway and not the real world). However, my wife is a minority, and I have experienced racism indirectly through her experiences. My solution for my wife has always been to combat racism by never giving control to anyone in this world unless absolutely necessary. You don’t experience racism on the street if you live in a city where it is not tolerated. You don’t experience racism at work if you own the place and hand-pick the employees. My wife lives in a world where in 90% of situations she is calling the shots. I contrast that with when we first met when we lived in a racist city, when she had racist bosses and co-workers, etc. Maybe she was in control of 10% of her environment. Ironically for a portion of that time we lived in Virginia–where oddly the racism was much worse than anything we ever experienced in Texas.

    So, does being exposed to racism make you stronger? I seriously doubt it. It makes you cynical…and sad. Does it give you a chip on your shoulder? Probably. I don’t think that makes you a better person though. Motivation can just as equally come from joy as it can pain.

    Would I take my son to Virginia so that he could be exposed to racism? No. That is insane. As I guy who grew up getting in all kinds of physical altercations, I can tell you that every encounter runs the risk of ending in death or serious life changing injuries. If your son was ever seriously injured growing up because he was “defending his honor” you would never forgive yourself for “needlessly” subjecting him to that environment. Life has too many obstacles as it is without putting unnecessary ones in the way.

    Teach your son love and respect for all. Then teach him that working for other people past the point of training is a waste of life (in my humble opinion). In other words, give him the skills he needs to always be in control of his environment–including the ability to walk away. Racism will be all but virtually gone by the time your son is 25 (in most major cities anyway). I would focus on teaching him the dozens of other skills he will need to thrive in the new world.

    1. “So, does being exposed to racism make you stronger? I seriously doubt it. It makes you cynical…and sad.” – What were some racist experiences your wife experienced to make her cynical and sad?

      “Racism will be all but virtually gone by the time your son is 25.” Do you think you are more optimistic than normal because you are a “wealthy white guy with an expensive education” who has never experienced racism?

      I wonder if it’s easier to dismiss the seriousness of something if we’ve never experienced something, hence why people need to always speak up and highlight the inequities of life.

      1. I remember vividly that she was not accepted at work by her co-workers in Virginia. It was very isolating. Racism is rarely as in your face as it is portrayed on tv, but rather more “underhanded” comments like you mentioned — “do you speak english.” There was a fair amount of that type stuff. I also remember people making racist jokes in front of my wife at school functions. This was 13 or 14 years ago–stuff you just couldn’t get away with saying today if you wanted to graduate.

        Maybe I’m being naive about racism in 25 years. But, I look at progress in the last 10 years and I’m encouraged. I look at progress in the last 25 and I’m really encouraged. You already cannot get away with racism in civilized society today. I mean sure, people can still say what they want, but it is just flat out not acceptable anymore (it wasn’t that long ago that it was). I don’t even hear that stuff in locker rooms and behind closed doors anymore. I’m a white lawyer practicing often in the deep south. It is just extremely rare to be openly racist for anyone under 50. So, my theory, is everyone 55 plus would be dead or near dead in 25 years (certainly not in charge). The generation that is being born today–right now–is going to grow up in a world where racism is simply not tolerated and not socially acceptable. Will a couple slip through the cracks..sure…but it won’t be anything like it was when you were growing up 25 years ago. We live in a different world and it is so much more diverse. There is too much to lose to even joke about such things these days.

        Again, maybe I’m delusional. I just don’t see some white boss at Google in 2045 making a racist crack at work–let alone being an overt racist. I don’t know what your son will choose to do in life, but my guess is it won’t be working at a shipyard in Port Arthur, Texas (which I predict is going to be the last hold out). You can’t change what is in someone’s heart, but your son isn’t going to be racially slurred at work in 2045 in a civilized medium to large city in the U.S. Our generation will be in charge (and the one behind us) and we simply won’t tolerate it. I would personally fire someone on the spot for even making a racist joke.

        Now, it may be I’m talking about racism “classic” — and you are talking about inequality (mixed with racism). Inequality is going to be much more difficult to solve, but the problems there will be based on elitism and not racism. I try to be a decent person in all things I do, but I am definitely guilty of being an elitist from time to time. It can be mistaken for racism when it happens to be directed at a minority–but it has nothing to do with race.

        Big picture, I was commenting on whether it makes sense to raise a child in a less diverse place so that he or she has the opportunity to overcome racism. Whether widespread racism will exist in 25 years is debatable, but what is not is that widespread racism will be less of an issue in 25 years than it is today. It is a dying way of thinking (even if it is dying a slow painful death). So, being able to deal with racism, will be a less valuable skill in 25 years than it is today. So why sacrifice learning how to overcome other obstacles for one that is becoming smaller and smaller?

  62. Enjoy Every Sandwich

    “The one thing I’m certain of is that we are all motivated by different things.”

    Totally agree. Being white and growing up in the Midwest, I did not experience racism or bullying based on my race or ethnicity. We didn’t have much money growing up, but my parents did sacrifice to send me to private school from K-12, where all the rich kids in town went to school. I did get bullied for living on the “wrong side of the tracks”. For me, that was part of my motivation to want to succeed in life. All of the kids seemed to have an easier path than me. I funded my own way through college and grad school through loans and working.
    I am better off now for that experience growing up. My kids have a different upbringing now and it’s a constant concern of mine that it’s too easy for them.

    I lived in NOVA for a few years while working in D.C. I really liked living there. I worked with a few African-Americans who said they would never live in VA due to its slave state past. This was eye opening for me, and something that never crossed my mind due to where I was raised.

  63. Simple Money Man

    Virginia is awesome, no doubt in terms of schools, raising a family, diversity and all. But come on, you can’t be thinking between it and HAWAII! Your kid will be pissed if he finds out you decided VA and had the latter option, lol. I grew up in the ghetto and there were both hard and soft people. So area IMO doesn’t shape you. Your parent’s and inherent nature shape who you are and who you aren’t.

    1. Good! I hope you gets pissed off. It’ll build character! You can’t always get what you want. But if you work for it, you might just get it. And that satisfaction of working toward something is priceless.

  64. I grew up in the Midwest just outside a small city for my entire childhood. I definitely think growing up as an Asian kid in the Midwest forced me to deal with being different. I felt the same way you did about wanting to prove them wrong. I sometimes look back and wonder if it was “racism” or just the fact that all kids find a way to pick on anyone who is different. I now think it’s just kids finding any way to exert power over others that they might feel threatened by. Moving away and going to college in South and now living in a big city in the South, I think it’s good to see what different things are out there.

  65. I voted HI. My parent moved every few years too and I had some challenges as a kid. However, I’m still an introvert. It’s not fun for me to chat up strangers. It depends on your personality too. You can’t say the environment shape everything. Maybe 50%?
    Anyway, we didn’t experience racism much. We lived mostly in Southern CA and the Portland area. I don’t think our kid has encounter racism yet. It’s much better now. Is the west coast better than the rest of the country when it comes to racism?

  66. Michael Green

    I understand the allure of Williamsburg. . . college town, rich history, quaint neighborhoods which is why I moved to neighboring Yorktown.
    I think you’ll experience the same charm but with a more Libertarian approach to one another. . . live and let live.
    Thanks for your posts!


  67. Interesting topic and one with no perfect answer. Both my husband and I are immigrants (I’m Asian, husband Caucasian). I grew up in the midwest, one of less than a handful of minorities in my high school graduating class of 600. I never felt overt racism (this was in the late 80s) at that time, but definitely knew I didn’t “fit in.”

    Fast forward to the present where I have children, who are multi-racial and we have returned to the midwest. The diversity equation has improved, my kids have 10-15% of their class level that are non-white. I would also say there is more overt racism today than 30 years ago (not a surprise given our political climate right now).

    We’ve lived in other parts of the US and our choice to return to the midwest has been for proximity to family (my kids get to see their grandparents every month), we have college town diversity and amenities, fresh air, 10 minute commutes, cost of living and we have our network of close friends. We are very happy here and our kids are growing up with a well balanced life. They are living in reality (they are the melting pot of the US) and can see both sides of a situation – I think these are valuable lessons. We are able to travel frequently and they are exposed to both of their cultures.

    I haven’t seen it as a negative to grow up and have my children grow up in the midwest.

    For your option of the 3 places you listed to live in – my response would be none of them :)! Each family does what’s best for themselves.

    All the best in your decision!

    1. I don’t think it’s a negative to grow up as a minority in the Midwest. I think it is a positive! It’ll teach children to be more adaptable and grow because they are different.

      That’s the whole point of wanting to move to Virginia. Why move to Paradise when you can move to Virginia and have more struggle to grow as a person. If all you have is paradise, then it’s hard to appreciate anything else.

  68. I’d stick with SF, personally. Hawaii is a different lifestyle where you would find comfort- but would you, or at least would your son, find challenge? I’ve only visited a handful of times, so I can’t speak to the atmosphere for locals in terms of opportunity for advancement. But it seems to be a very relaxed place, even by your own observation.

    As for Virginia, I agree with your wife: been there, done that. While your son would likely face racially-charged situations which might make him stronger, is this the best path for him? You two clearly know how your son responds to different situations and would be best suited knowing how he would handle adversity. I wouldn’t choose to willingly submit my child to known evils like that, even if for good intentions. You have the gift of hindsight telling you how your childhood went. He might not have the same outcomes you experienced.

    Knowing how he would respond is the telling factor: is he conflict-oriented in terms of development or does he learn best in a controlled environment? You could strike a balance of your upbringing and your wife’s by moving to a new multi-cultural city every 2-4 years. Maybe this will engender social adaptation skills while also exposing him to many diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. See which environment he thrives in most.

    I suggest SF as your choice because it offers the multi-cultural population you seek with the challenge of a meritocracy. If you want to move to the East Bay down the road, this might help for cost and exposing him to a different population mix.

  69. As with any state, I think it matters specifically where. We relocated to Williamsburg from Front Royal a bit over a year ago, and we love it. We had no problems finding jobs, and educational opportunities are plenty. Personally, I would be happy to raise a child here. And even more important, I feel safe! Williamsburg is the safest city in VA. Front Royal on the other hand, was backwards and like living in the past. Btw: I am Caucasian and my boyfriend is Thai.

    1. I love Williamsburg, having gone to William & Mary! Such a beautiful town with a beautiful campus and friendly people.

      I just wish there was an easier way to get there from San Francisco.

      I’d love to live in the Burg for 1-2 months a year. What type of jobs did you guys get and what do you do for entertainment?

      I missed the baked spaghetti at Paul’s Deli.

      1. A good friend of mine just started at W&M as a returning adult. She LOVES it!
        And I’ll have to try that baked spaghetti next time we’re at Paul’s Deli!

        I should also add I have never been to Hawaii, so I can’t compare that one, but I’m from WI and also spent a few years in Naples FL. Personally, I love the environment here. We’re close to it all! Whether you want the beach or the mountains, either can be made into a nice day trip. A friend and I spent the day in Charlottesville last week while also visiting Monticello. It’s an easy drive. Once the weather is nicer, we’ll be doing weekend trips to the outer banks. More local: I love the parks, there’s plenty of kayaking options, wineries, breweries.. and of course Richmond is close by. Did you know you can go whitewater rafting on the James River? That was a great day!

        I was recently talking with a friend who is still in Naples and contemplating a move, and one of things we remarked on was the local temperament. FL is beautiful, but so many people are just flat out rude. They have a sense of entitlement about them. Here, people are just.. nice! And courteous. It’s refreshing. It was easy to make friends.

        1-2 months a year sounds like a great idea! I wouldn’t mind living 10–11 months here, and a month or 2 on the beach. That sounds like my idea of heaven! Lol!

        Also, I’m a massage therapist and also returning student working on bachelors in business. He’s in law enforcement.

        I wish you luck in your decision making! It’s a lot to think about. But isn’t it great to have choices? And if one doesn’t work, you can always move on to plan B. :)

    1. Sam.
      Enjoy your holiday. Loved this post. I love your sense of humour. I really look forward to your blogs. What can I say? I try to be in an Asian/caucasian relationship in Georgia. The Asian women stare me down, the Caucasian men look at me like a traitor, fortunately my kid is from a previous homogenous caucasian marriage and I’m old and just laugh. And kiss his adorable face!
      oh, and my DNA would make my father turn very red if he were still alive. Ain’t life fun!

  70. Man…I can’t relate, given the fact that I’m a white guy, but it sure makes my heart hurt when I hear stories of racism. I’m sorry for the horrible people of the world.

    I gotta say I’m with your wife on this one for a couple of reasons.

    1. I grew up in the Bay Area. And while you probably don’t notice much racism in SF because you’re an adult, your son certainly will experience it in a public school in any state, because…kids are dumb. They like to bring about reactions from other kids. In my opinion, he’d get a sense of what the world is like by going to school in SF or Hawaii, without being exposed to TOO much of it. I’m sure he’d feel it more in Virginia.

    2. I left the bay and moved to Utah when I was around 14. Closer to the extended family, same as you guys. Absolutely hated it. While Utah is 99.9999999999% white and I fit in that way, I didn’t fit in with the religion and felt like an outsider for over a decade. I made a couple of friends with other outsiders — racial minorities, gay people, and religious minorities. We stuck together and looked out for each other. I finally left about 8 months ago for Colorado, where there is more diversity (yes, seriously), but people are far more open-minded.

    3. I feel like the home should be a place of growth AND comfort. I’d hate for you to have racist neighbors and have your son not feel comfortable in his own neighborhood. Maybe through travel you could expose him to ideas that will toughen him up, but when he gets home he could feel safe.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Luckily you ARE financially independent and if a move turns out to have been a bad idea, you can always move again. Best of luck!

  71. Great post dude. For me, growing up in Baltimore in a really shady neighborhood and surrounded by ghettos and flying bullets, discomfort and being uncomfortable in general was just the norm. I just thought it was how everyone lived. Once I moved to the DC area I realized life can be mostly peaceful. But my life-schooling in Baltimore set me up to handle discomfort and all-out suffering sometimes. I believe those skills set me up for financial independence.

    So my leaning to your question would be Virginia, but this kind of thing is obviously massively personal and regardless of what you do your child will no doubt kick butt in life.

    1. I agree. Living in a more intolerant city or state has helped me grow and appreciate more of what I have.

      The other thing is, if you move to Virginia, things can’t get much worse. Literally every other city you go to will be the same or better. And that’s what is great about starting from the bottom.

      If you start from the top, and other words, Hawaii, everywhere else isn’t going to feel as good.

      1. Hmm, places in Hawaii really are at the time share pyramid.

        There really is something to be said about working your way up. It is so much more gratifying than walking downhill.

        1. Yet you offer no substance to your own opinion, so what’s the point? I don’t think many places in America are much worse than Virginia. And I’m not saying Virginia is a bad place. I’m saying that if you live in Virginia and leave Virginia, but other state is going to be equally homogenous or more diverse. I’ll look at the demographics statistics.

          1. Please look at the quality of life in Virginia. Any way that you’d like to define it. I’ve lived all along the east coast from New York to Florida and overall I’ll take Virginia.

          2. Sams talking growing up in McLean and NoVa. Which has as many Chinese and other Asians as Rockville and Montgomery Co and more than Howard County.

            If you want the top Chinese martial arts or dance teachers they in Northern Virginia. Ya think they decided to start their businesses in the most or least Chinese populated areas?

            Try growing up in Alabama. In the 60s.

      2. *laughing hysterically* Virginia is the worst it can get??? I lived in the MD/VA/DC area for 4 years.

        Try being my sister’s Cameroonian husband and mixed race children in Oklahoma and then South Carolina. He was stopped by a boss hogg-type sheriff, literally, every day for six months on his way home from work, at the exact same spot, who didn’t quit until her husband went into the sheriff’s office and said his next step would be calling the attorney general of the state. Their response ‘what’s the big deal, it’s not like he ever gave you a ticket’. literally the words that came out of their mouth.

        and my sister witness some white teachers telling black kids in SC they weren’t going to amount to anything so why should they bother teaching them.

        There are horrible racist places all over this country. virginia is not the worst.

    2. I think that you and your wife should choose to raise your family in SF, Hawaii, or somewhere your children will have less racism to contend with, that, in addition to the supportive parenting that you will provide, your son and his future siblings will have a better environment in which to succeed. Your role is to tell them that racism exists, and how to overcome it, or succeed in spite of it, because they will have to face it it some point. IMHO, it’s cruel to intentionally inflict a hostile environment on a child, with intention of making him or her tougher. I grew up in a white, working class family, where we were expected to figure out for ourselves how to meet challenges in the world, and learn to survive without much support of any kind. Rags to Riches stories are popular in some circles, but the reality is less romantic. I might have been even more successful, and in more ways than just financially, if I had not had the challenges I had. You have an opportunity to set your son up for success, and to give him a better starting point than many of us have had, so why introduce obstacles?

    3. Inez Deborah Emilia Altar

      If he feels uncomfortable it is at least Virginia, if not it is somewhere abroad one must take over Asia if one comes from there from the root and execute all the wicked there never mind if it looks out of the Prophecies and the Apocalypse

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