My Vietnamese Identity

717 Words 3 Pages
With every passing moment, I became more distant with my Vietnamese heritage and become closer with my desire for an American one. I wanted nothing to do with being Vietnamese or Asian because all that it had brought me was a sense of inferiority and constant bullying. My desire to suppress my Vietnamese identity brings up a point that is brought up by Ms. Mori, the protagonist’s friend with benefits. During one of their conversations, she asks, “So why are we supposed to not forget our culture? Isn’t my culture right here since I was born here?” (73). She is a Japanese American who has forgot about here Japanese heritage including its language and traditions. The “here” that she is referring to in the quote is America. I have often asked …show more content…
This is especially the case when a Department Chair of the college, where the protagonist works, assigns him homework. The homework is to simply list the characteristics that he sees in himself as both an Orient and Occident. As an Orient he came up with a list that says, “self-effacing, respectful of authority, worried about others’ opinions, usually quiet, always trying to please, teacup is half empty, say yes when I mean no, almost always look to the past, prefer to follow, comfortable in a crowd, deferential to elders, self-sacrificial, follow my ancestors, straight black hair, short (for and Occidental), somewhat yellowish white” (62). For an Occident he is, “occasionally opinionated, sometimes independent, now and then carefree, talkative (with a drink of two), once or twice have not given a damn, glass is half full, say what I mean, do what I say, once in a while look to the future, yet yearn to lead, but ready to take the stage, value my youth, live to fight another day, forget my ancestors, limpid brown eyes, tall (for an Oriental), somewhat palish yellow” (62). The purpose of the homework was to show the “problems of identity suffered by Americans of Oriental ancestry… They feel out of place” (62-63). That is exactly how I feel: out of place. I can identify with most of these traits, which made me

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