The Paris Review always has interesting, thought-provoking articles. It’s probably the first time I’ve seen the term whitewashing used this way; the term certainly fits. One of the beauties of the electronic age is that anyone with access to it HAS A VOICE. There will be no more whitewashing for those with eyes to see!
Still from The Curse of Quon Gwon (1917) The first known Chinese woman in America was nineteen-year-old Afong Moy, who arrived in New York City in 1834 on the steamship Washington. Three weeks later, she was put on display as part of an exhibit called the “Chinese Saloon.” For fifty cents, New Yorkers could purchase a…
via The Missing Images of Chinese Immigrants — The Paris Review
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Ok this. THIS. I remember when I came to college in America, and realising no one could – or wanted to – correctly pronounce my name, and that the college administration could not process it in the computers the way it was supposed to be written. For the entire length of my undergrad and postgrad studies, I had to add a hyphen to my name because no one EVER could understand that no, I did not have a middle name, 90% of Chinese names HAD two separate characters for a proper name, and they should go together. Yes, separately, but together. I remember how so many of my classmates were puzzled that the movie ‘Chinatown’ (which we watched in our film studies class) made me so angry, and how I discovered what explaining things to a brick wall meant. I didn’t know the term ‘erasure’ then, but by golly, that movie showed me what it could FEEL like.
(There was also a whole other confusion about how I could be of Chinese ethnicity but still be Malaysian, how we could be multilingual, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.)
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in the U.S. there is a methodical indoctrination that begins at birth (or before?) and is relentlessly reinforced through media and others who are indoctrinated. it has been a long trail of unlearning that will never end. i’m thankful for the internet and the opportunity to learn another way. living in a berg in Michigan doesn’t present many opportunities to learn from those in the community. Shuku, I’m sorry you came up against the brick walls and the feeling of trying to be erased by it.