Reaction Paper #2
American Born Chinese
Gene Luen Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese is the story about a young Chinese boy named Jin who does his best to be accepted by his peers. At a young age he was subjected to stereotypes and mockery by his classmates, and as Jin grew older he wanted to identify as American rather than Chinese. Although the main character does not come out and say that he no longer wishes to be Asian, Jin's feelings are told through two other episodes that preview in the story. Yang does an excellent job of showing how powerful stereotypes can be and how deeply it can affect an individual.
Before reading American Born Chinese I knew that stereotypes and racism existed. I knew some of the jokes and slurs that Asians have been subjected to, even though I never told them myself.
Children take notice of what the adults around them say and insert it into their own lives. The children in Jin's class had, aside from Suzy, probably never met an Asian before. On page 31 a boy named Jimmy says that his mother said that 'Chinese people eat dogs.' If Jimmy's mother hadn't said that he probably never would have thought that. Also on page 31 the teacher says things like "I'm sure Jin doesn't do that!" and "Jin's family probably stopped that sort of thing as soon as they moved to the United States!" Little comments that seem almost as jokes or are said half-heartedly are still very hurtful because they are not only attacking the individual but also an entire culture.
Throughout the next 40 pages we see Jin being picked on because of his ethnicity. He is teased...