The Shared Asian American Experience
The first few weeks of the semester are designed to help you appreciate the range of diversity that is included within the category of “Asian American,” especially if you have not had previous experience in other Asian American Studies courses.
To further illustrate the idea in an accessible manner, watch the two video clips below. Both Eddie Huang and Aziz Anzari have become notable for their pop cultural presence in the last few years. Eddie Huang’s autobiographical memoirs became the genesis for the ABC sitcom Fresh Off the Boat (Links to an external site.) (although Huang distanced himself from the project after disagreeing with the show’s creative direction, which he saw as “whitewashing” to make the material more palatable for white viewers), and Aziz Ansari is known for his stand-up comedy, acting, and most recently, his success in the Netflix series Master of None (Links to an external site.), which has received a number of critical accolades. We will discuss the issues of media representation later on in this semester, but for now, the focus is on the content of these experiences.
As you watch the two clips, compare and contrast the experiences of Eddie Huang and Aziz Ansari. These are both figures that are ostensibly seen as being a part of “Asian America,” yet they are also coming from completely different cultural backgrounds. What are those differences? And what are similar concerns that they address, despite their differences? How do you think their experiences might be reflective of broader Asian American issues?