by Lightspeed Magazine
The way assimilation in the USA is so difficult in how it affects generations mentally, emotionally, culturally.
Such a good question you ask "But on the other hand . . . if we don’t put ourselves in stories, who will?"
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggle with us.
Hm. So this is how "cultural assimilation" works mostly? Scary.
THIS. THIS THIS THIS. My father came to the US after medical school, married my mother, a white American, and raised me and my brother in the New Jersey suburbs...basically as white. We saw it "as normal" but it wasn't until college I realized that "as normal" and "as white" mean the same thing in the United States. If anything when I first began writing fiction I felt I didn't have a right to write Chinese characters because THAT WOULD BE APPROPRIATING A CULTURE I DON'T HAVE, same as a white writer doing it. I later developed a more advanced take on that -- it took until I was in my late-20s to realize that as white as I felt, as "not Chinese" as I was, I actually was NOT the same as all my white friends and that I actually DID have a different experience from them when we went to Chinatown, saw a kung fu movie, etc. It literally took me until I was almost 30 to realize that or to feel it, appreciate it. Now I'm almost 50 and I'm still learning it. The emptiness I felt, the cultural void I felt was left, was I yearning for something that was an illusion to begin with? I don't know--there's no simple answer. But thank you for this essay. Thank you, thank you.