Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My America...

As stated in class and on this blog, the movie portrayed the idea there is no one stereotypical 'Asian-American story'. However, it highlighted the gut check question, "Where are you from?". The movie opened with her reciting the phrase "Go back to where you came from", which I am sure most of us have all encountered. This statement not only raises a sense of resentment and anger within the victim, but it simultaneously makes for internal confusion. America is defined by whites and whites usually prefer to be in the company of other whites. There is an economist Thomas Schelling who studies racial dynamics and argues a small preference for one's neighbors to be of the same color means that the only stable equilibrium is complete segregation in the long run. I feel that the term Asian-American is an attempt to outwardly counter this economic theory. This is shown throughout the course of the movie in the unraveling of all the different regional accounts and interviews. While there may have been no universal story, there are underlying themes of all the Asian-Americans finding a niche in their community which was not formed on the basis of race. The most extreme examples that come to mind are the Louisianan Filipino women and the Korean-American youth rappers from Seattle. They both transcend the idea of being foreign and have gone to another extreme of showing how they are part of America. Those shown from Seattle and Louisiana internalized their surrounding region and its culture and have been able to create a comfortable and unique blend with their own background. The film demonstrated a great step in how the both the country is defining itself and how its people are defining the country.

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