Thursday, January 31, 2008

Response to My America/Honk

Having lived abroad for the first half of my grade school career (1st – 6th), my experience as a subject of discrimination or center of stereotype has been different than most Asian Americans who have spent their entire lives growing up in the U.S. Because I resided in Japan and Korea, I did not feel the same alienation that some of my peers have felt. Whenever anyone would ask, “Where are you from?”, I would proudly answer, “America!” Although I do not remember the point where I attached the “Asian” prefix in front of “American”, it was well after my childhood years. Like the Filipino-American sisters of Louisiana, I often reply that I am an American before even thinking twice about my ethnicity or background. Upon my return to the states, I was suddenly exposed to the stereotypes that seemed to have amassed during my leave and was unleashed all at the same time.

“Hey kid, where are you from?”

“Texas”

“Cool, where are you really from though?”

“Uh...America?”

Questions such as these have made me question my own identity. Did I belong here in the U.S.A? Who had the right to be the true American? Should I change myself to become the ideal American citizen? Throughout Renee Tajima-Pena's “My America”, she is followed through her journey through the USA examining and revealing the definition of Asian American culture. Her search of “Asian America” through interviews and close examination of the many issues of Asian history in America has helped me understand that I am not the only Asian dash American trying to find my own identity.

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