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Consumption and Identity in Asian American Coming-of-Age by Jennifer Ho

By Jennifer Ho

This interdisciplinary learn examines the topic of intake in Asian American literature, connection representations of cooking and consuming with ethnic id formation. utilizing 4 discrete modes of identification--historic satisfaction, consumerism, mourning, and fusion--Jennifer Ho examines how Asian American teenagers problem and revise their cultural legacies and scan with replacement ethnic affiliations via their relationships to foodstuff.

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The gender-neutrality that Chinese men occupied in the late 19th century American public imagination was a result of the historical forces that feminized Chinese men into labor roles deemed appropriate for a heathen race. 12 In an 1871 Scribner's Monthly article entitled "A Plea for Chinese Labor: by an American Housewife," a beleaguered white middle-class woman advocates that Chinese men "be imported here and put on trial as domestic cooks, chamber-maids, and laundresses" (Richardson 289). Apparently Chinese men fit readily into female domestic roles.

Instead, Donald engages in what Camille Cauti terms "culinary passing . . the concept of identity-passing in the context of ethnic foodways" (10). 17 Donald's "culinary passing" takes the form of consuming what he thinks of as "pure American food. Steaks. Consuming Asian American History in Frank Chin's Donald Duk 31 Chops" (Chin DD 8). It means little to Donald that his father is one of the premier chefs of Chinatown; spurning his father's cuisine, Donald requests filet mignon (Chin DD 8). As he explains to his family, "'Hey, everybody's gotta give up the old and become American.

Now they're learning English. They still speak their Cantonese, their Chinese, their Viet or Lao or Cambodian, and French. Instead of giving anything up, they add on. They're including America in everything else they know. " (Chin DD 42) As King's first comment indicates, strictly assimilationist beliefs are outdated, and by linking Donald's beliefs with those of his grandparent's generation, he shows Donald that his views are anomalous rather than contemporaneous with a post-Civil Rights emphasis on ethnic pride.

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