Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bonus Fresh Off the Boat Post

TK lied--sort of. The best essay to read about Fresh Off the Boat is indeed the essay by Clarissa Wei. But the best piece to read overall is Constance Wu's interview with the Time magazine regarding the show.


TK made it his practice to share links and short thoughts on his Facebook. But the interview with Wu, who plays Jessica on the show, has such great insights that it deserves a post.

Below, for example, is pure gold:
I think the reason people have been quick to throw the stereotype criticism on us is because there will always be people who are laughing at the wrong thing. Some people are like, “Oh, stereotypical accent!” An accent is an accent. If there were jokes written about the accent, then that would certainly be harmful. But there aren’t jokes written about it. It’s not even talked about. It’s just a fact of life: immigrants have accents. Making the choice to have that is a way of not watering down the character and making it politically correct. It’s choosing authenticity over safety, and I think that’s bold.
This is such an incredible point. From the beginning of this blog, TK has been trying to figure out how to approach the distinctiveness of Asian Americans. (For example, this post. Reading this again after seven years, I have many regrets.) Plainly, Asian Americans are different. Then how should Asian Americans, and the mainstream society, talk about this difference? 

Some Asian Americans have carried on as if we should never talk about this difference. TK thinks this is a mistake, and Wu explains why: the difference is real, and pretending that the difference does not exist is to lie about ourselves. This is who we are, and we should not be embarrassed about it. 

Wu makes this point a bit more specific to her character Jessica, which makes her perhaps the most compelling character on the show:
She’s aware of her difference, yet she doesn’t think that’s any reason for her to not have a voice. It doesn’t elicit shame in her. She doesn’t become a shrinking violet. And instead of that being something that Asians should be embarrassed of, I think that’s something that we should be proud of—the types of characters who know they don’t speak perfect English, who know they have different customs, who don’t think that that’s any reason for them to not have a voice.
The difference does not elicit shame in Jessica. This is perhaps the most important lesson that Fresh Off the Boat could impart to young Asian Americans: our difference is what we are, and it should not be a source of shame. We are who we are; don't apologize.

Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at askakorean@gmail.com.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you.This post is pretty good.
    I like your style. I mean, the way you expres yourself is so cool.
    I think... dammit, I wish I could speak good english so I'd be able to expres how much I like your blog. Whatever, I like it sooo much, it's gorgeous.
    Greetings from Colombia (and I apollogize for my english.)
    Nikki, 17


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