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American Born Chinese

May 8, 2007
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Apparently we were supposed to be offended by the character Chin-Kee according to the Fuse #8 blog: http://fusenumber8.blogspot.com/2007/05/youre-supposed-to-be-offended-that-was.html which linked to this piece “Gene Yang on Stereotypes” http://firstsecondbooks.typepad.com/mainblog/2007/05/gene_yang_on_st.html. Thank you Trisha for doing some background checks on this topic.

Jolene: I know you guys didn’t care for it, but I liked it. Can’t resist the William Hung reference.
Gayle: I didn’t like the whole Chinky thing it bugged me
Trisha: You mean the cousin?
Jolene: I felt it was more like a commentary on being Asian in America.
Trisha: Well, being Asian in parts of America.
Jolene: Yeah Hawaii is a whole other animal.
Gayle: Yeah wth?
Gayle: Buck teeth, queue, yellow. That bugged me.
Trisha: The accent!
Jolene: But that’s how America viewed Asians at one point in time in history.
Gayle: How long ago was that?
Gayle: Did you ever see those Mr. Wong skits online?
Trisha: No. Where?
Jolene: Yeah, I found them hilarious.
Jolene: Icebox.com
Gayle: Chin-Kee sort of reminded me of Mr. Wong.
Jolene: It’s comedy to me like the Dave Chappelle show.
Trisha: Oh, Chin-Kee, Chinky… Totally didn’t see that before. I’m slow.
Gayle: No way. [in reference to Jolene]
Gayle: So anyway I totally hate the whole Chin-Kee thing. Ruined the story for me. I was like get Mr. Wong out of here, you biter.
Gayle: I know Gene Yang saw Mr. Wong skits
Jolene: Well I do see your point.
Trisha: Huh, the second storyline was my least favorite. When Danny was still Chinese. Like, just because you’re Asian you have to be friends/date the other Asian kids? At least we didn’t get a history lesson about China and Japan in World War II.
Jolene: I liked the whole Monkey mythology part.
Trisha: Yeah, I did, too.
Gayle: That part wasn’t bad.
Jolene: I liked the way he blended that into the story.
Gayle: I didn’t like Chinese Danny because he was uncool to the other Asian kids, like distancing himself from them would make him less Asian.
Gayle: So we like the non-original content of the book, the retelling of the folktale
Jolene: Yeah I guess so. Go figgah yeah?
Gayle: Sad.
Jolene: What’s wrong with us?
Trisha: We like folktales?
Gayle: We just don’t like the stereotypical Asian American characters. Bottom line is we don’t like the perpetuation of stereotypes.
Jolene: But how else could this characters be described without using stereotypes?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jolene permalink*
    May 10, 2007 3:08 pm

    Okay after reading the article, I totally see Gayle and Trisha’s dislike of the character Chink-Kee. I suppose living in Hawaii,where we all make fun of each other’s stereotypes, racial commentaries on America often go unnoticed in our ‘local’ culture. Compare ABC to ‘Pidgin to the Max,’ which is loaded with local cultural stereotypes and it may make people feel more uncomfortable. I suppose it’s all about the context in which one views race in America.
    Yang’s Chink-Kee and Icebox’s Mr. Wong is comparable to the “Black Face” stereotype http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

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