Many people have asked my reaction to the book. It was culturally familiar on a personal level, and unnerving, at the same time. While it was a “memoir,” Chua used sweeping assumptions and outdated stereotypes throughout.
Watch Natalie Keng TV interview, 11Alive Weekend Morning News with Valerie Hoff, 1/29/11
My hope (and task) as a cultural translator will be to help folks move beyond one-dimensional stereotypes that cheapen and divide to understanding genuinely what it is to be Asian-American, filling in the hyphenated space that both separates and connects these two worlds.
Defining the hyphen includes theÂ history of challenges and successes of Asian Americans in the U.S. and the diversity of experience. Unfortunately, the diversity of the Chinese and Asian experience is often overlooked or cast aside for more convenient (and powerful) stereotypes.Â The stories are sure to be just as diverse and rich for non-East Asian immigrants, e.g. Jewish Americans, African Americans, Latino Americans, Indian Americans and more.Â For me, sharing my family’s journey from China to Taiwan to the Deep South and what it’s like to be Chinese and American and Southern is a step in that direction.
Keep talking, listening and reflecting….and let me know your thoughts or questions.