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No-No Boy Response Paper

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jaehong
Words 882
Pages 4
James Hong ENGL-UA 716

No-No Boy Response Paper

I was chatting with my girlfriend about No-No Boy, which led us to a discussion about whether we saw ourselves as Korean-Americans, American-Koreans, or simply Americans. While we both believe the identities that represent us is a matter of personal choice, my girlfriend used to see herself as an American first Korean second, which amusingly reminded me of the Louisianan Filipinos from My America…or Honk If You Love Buddha, whereas I wholly saw myself as Korean-American, a homogenous blend of two cultures. She explained to me while growing up in Ohio, Asians, as with other ethnic groups, were inescapably compared to whites and had to embrace their cultural norms or risk becoming an outcast. To form an identity that deviated from being “American” was to create a division, which led to ignorance, hatred, and even conflict. Tiffany’s childhood situation resonated with Ichiro Yamada’s situation where Japanese-Americans were viewed as irrevocably alien and antagonistic post-WWII due to their hyphenated identity. However, Ichiro did not have the same freedom to adopt a new status because he was stripped of his birthright as an American, which led him to embark on a quest for self-identity in a fragmented society in the form of a bildungsroman.
Tiffany asks why I choose not to associate myself as solely American because unlike her, I am an American citizen and have been immersed in its culture since birth. While I do consider myself an American, my mother’s indoctrination of having Korean pride within me has had a significant impact on why I feel obliged to hand onto my Korean culture. Although this is similar to why Ichiro remained loyal to his Japanese culture, I choose to identify myself as a Korean American because we lack roots that connect us to this country. Unlike Chinese-Americans, who laid...

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