April 23rd, 2014, 12:03 am

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297-A matter of taste

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daviddoesntgetit April 23rd, 2014, 12:15 am

Our family of immigrants fall into two camps, one that's interested in preserving the old ones, and another that's more interested in assimilating into American culture.

Our father's side tend to fall into more the preservation side, but Douglass, who is on that side of the family, him and his sister changed their names to American ones when they moved over. And our mother's side is more interested in assimilating.

The side that's interested in assimilating tend to view themselves as more liberal (the educated side), while the redneck ones tend to be labeled as more conservative. I actually find the liberal, the rich side, tend to be more Republican 'cause, well, they're rich. Our redneck side seems to fall under who gives a fuck about politics? All they want is our tax money. They are redneck.

Concerning this issue, Bernard and I fell in a camp about halfway between both philosophies. I didn't give a fuck what people taught, but we stayed home a lot so I was just used to and more comfortable with Vietnamese food. Even now, I sometimes enjoy working under a Vietnamese workplace more because the boss/subordinate relationship falls more in line with how I was raised as opposed to an American one. Here's a little trivia, the first time I ate a chicken nugget was when Brad and I lived together. I started eating American food in college 'cause I was far from home and I didn't know how to cook anything.

I think the issue of assimilation is pretty interesting. In high school, the Asian kids that were born in America would really hate the FOBs, as they would call them, being embarrassed by their lack of mastery over the English language, and would sometimes shun them. Asian kids were also the one that taunted me when I would bring rice dishes our dad would pack to school and sometimes I'd overhear him later talking about how Asians suck and how much he hated being born in it.

I never really understood those kids until I grew up a bit more. I didn't give a fuck that I liked eating our dad's food or shit like that, but now I kinda wonder how they grew up and how they must have felt at the time.

I was reading how Asians tend to be a quiet minority group 'cause they try to blend in as much as they can and keep to themselves, which in turn affects their portrayal on television etc. etc. I don't believe it's true for every Asian family, of course, but that should go without saying. I never felt pressured to assimilate or blend in so I just wonder what that pressure must be like.

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Reealt April 23rd, 2014, 6:37 am

I definitely understand the whole not knowing American foods thing. My mom raised me on mostly Korean food when I was in elementary and middle school, and the only exposure I had to American food was my school lunches and easy to make microwave stuff, since she worked all the time. Even now my friends still are surprised when I go, I've never had x food, what does it taste like?

The assimilation vs keeping with the old is definitely a hard subject. I grew up mostly with white people who mocked me whenever I did anything "asian", so I never wanted to learn Korean, and stopped as soon as my mom would let me. My brother even started to hate Korean food because of that! Whenever I meet "FoBs" though, they tend to be really nice to me, and I've never understood the dislike people have for them. I've also only heard complaints about them from white people in real life, and not a single Asian person. Strange stuff. Your experience sounds so strange to me, but I grew up in an area with... no Asian people outside of my siblings and me until I was in late middle school, and none of the three of us really talked.

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daviddoesntgetit April 25th, 2014, 8:46 pm

@Reealt: Wow, really? White people mocked you, huh? I lived in an area that was, about 85-80% white when I was growing up, but nowadays it's 20% Asian.

I remember Vietnamese kids that had just recently immigrated over and I'd try to talk to them in Vietnamese and ended up mostly embarrassing myself, haha. I didn't grow up with Vietnamese kids my age so I didn't know how to use honorifics with them.

Anyways, interesting to hear your story, thanks for telling me. I had an aunt learn Vietnamese after college and she has an extremely thick American accent. Then her younger brother still thinks learning Vietnamese is worthless.