RIP Philo

the Asian equivalent of "you're so articulate!"

Two obvious ABC's (American Born Chinese) were sitting in front of me on the train. Their every move, every inflection, was distinctly American.  Facial expressions, facial lines, hair, clothing choice, conversation. Everything.

I was thinking as I was eavesdropping:  "I'll bet they get a lot of flack about being so American, from their non-American born counterparts."

At that moment, I could tell he was listening in on another conversation himself, someone speaking, probably, some Chinese variant.  I could tell he didn't understand the whole conversation, but was trying.

Anyway, I digress.  My point is I was doing all this wondering about the prejudices they must have to endure, when she stood up to get off the train. Her handbag had a cute cartoon on it:

Blonde caricature:  "You speak English so WELL!"
Asian caricature:  "I was born here, DUMBASS!"
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
April 25th, 2008 12:14pm
I've gotten that before.  "Your English is very good!"  I usually give them a funny look.  Never quite sure how to respond.
Permalink the great purple 
April 25th, 2008 12:27pm
Some of the Chinese teach their kids Chinese first, to preserve tradition, so maybe some kind of accent survives.
Permalink LORB 
April 25th, 2008 12:27pm
I mean the ones here.  I work with them, they speak Chinese to each other all the time.
Permalink LORB 
April 25th, 2008 12:31pm
"My point is I was doing all this wondering about the prejudices they must have to endure, when she stood up to get off the train."

Shark, you do realize people can live in this country and participate to different extents(?)  I know some people that know virtually no American idioms, no commercial jingles, news, sports.  It's not all a given.
Permalink LORB 
April 25th, 2008 12:35pm
>Two obvious ABC's (American Born Chinese)

it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly racist you are, and how oblivious you are about it.
Permalink . 
April 25th, 2008 1:07pm
"Your English is very good!"

Appropriate rejoinder:  "Sorry about yours."
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
April 25th, 2008 1:14pm
"it never ceases to amaze me how incredibly racist you are, and how oblivious you are about it."

My office partner in 2001 was an ABC.  He told me how to tell.

The people were clearly Asian, and according to his checklist, were obviously also, ABC.

That isn't racist, that is observant.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
April 25th, 2008 1:53pm
the equivalent Indian is called an ABCD - American Born Confused Desi.

The identity thing is big, bigger than you might think.  It's why I love movies like "Bend it Like Beckham" so much - it just nails all the identity issues right on the head.
Permalink the great purple 
April 25th, 2008 2:04pm
>I've gotten that before.  "Your English is very good!"  I
>usually give them a funny look.  Never quite sure how to
>respond.

"Did you assume by the color of my skin that I am not an American?"
Permalink Colm 
April 25th, 2008 2:07pm
How about "Thank you.  I try to speak clearly to the mentally handicapped."
Permalink Aaron 
April 25th, 2008 2:10pm
That's too insulting. You want to infer that they're an idiot by an admission they make "well, hm... yes, i guess i did think you weren't american... (red face)" rather than insult them, get them wound up and think that you're an asshole.
Permalink Colm 
April 25th, 2008 2:12pm
Colm, that's a good reply.  I don't have the guts to be even that confrontational, though, even though it's pretty minimal.
Permalink the great purple 
April 25th, 2008 2:13pm
"It's why I love movies like 'Bend it Like Beckham' so much"

I suppose that watching Parminder Nagra doesn't have quite the appeal for you as it does for me.  My chief interest in that movie.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
April 25th, 2008 2:14pm
>Colm, that's a good reply.  I don't have the guts to be
>even that confrontational, though, even though it's pretty
>minimal.

It doesn't have to be confrontational. You can totally do it with a ;)

"Ohhhhhh, you thought I wasn't American because I'm brown skinned." --- said with big smile and a wink

It would lightly embarrass them but wouldn't make them think that you're a bitch.
Permalink Colm 
April 25th, 2008 2:16pm
Fucking twinkies.
Permalink Michael B 
April 25th, 2008 2:47pm
coconut, Micheal B, not twinkie.  Unless you're referring to the Chinese, in which case twinkie might apply.
Permalink the great purple 
April 25th, 2008 2:53pm
> "Your English is very good!"
>
> Appropriate rejoinder:  "Sorry about yours."

Or: "You've tried him?"
Permalink man on the stair 
April 25th, 2008 3:01pm
I actually lol'd, out loud.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
April 25th, 2008 3:04pm
I am having a very amusing notion of you shouting out "Lol!" in your cubicle.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
April 25th, 2008 3:54pm
It *is* entering the language.

Saw ROFLOL on a vanity plate last week.
Permalink Clippy 
April 25th, 2008 9:43pm
It's not ABC, it's "banana" - yellow on the outside, white inside.  Here, the bananas are now outnumbered by the FOBs/LOGs/LOBs/astronauts.

FOB - fresh off the boat
LOG/LOB - little oriental girl/boy

Both these refer to people more like Rick than my wife - probably born in HK, came here as teenagers or older, speak cantonese fluently but english so-so, more likely to have close relatives still in HK.

Actually, they're all being swamped now by the mainland chinese - you hear way more mandarin than you used to.

(and Astronauts are parents who commute between HK and here)
Permalink Send private email Ward 
April 27th, 2008 6:58pm
I don't have tons of indian friends, I don't know of any label for the more westernized ones.  I think the Sikh community is more close-knit - more homogenous - than the chinese community.

Koreans, OTOH, are amazing in the stick-togetherness...
Permalink Send private email Ward 
April 27th, 2008 7:00pm

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