Alone on the Range

When May-Lee Chai first moved to the tiny South Dakota town of Vermillion, she was amused to find that her family could stop traffic just by walking down the street. "Cars and pickups slowed, sometimes in both lanes, and the passengers turned to stare out the windows," she recalls. At first she thought that the Chais, as strangers, were natural objects of curiosity to their new neighbors. "I didn't know then, because I was 12, that they were staring because they had never seen a Chinese man with a white woman before."

They did more than stare. Over...

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