An Analysis of Trying to Find Chinatown
Upon Reading Trying to Find Chinatown (Hwang), a play by Chinese American Playwright David Henry Hwang, I am struck with the question of what determines one’s race. In the case of Benjamin, a young Caucasian, blonde hair, blue-eyed man who was raised in an Asian household being brought up by 2 Chinese American parents, what determines his race? Then there is Ronnie, a young Chinese American man presumably brought up on the busy street New York City, what determines his race? Is it skin color, culture, up bringing, background, society, or the sheer love of a certain people? Could it possibly be a combination these or is it all actually determined by one’s decision to identify themselves as a certain race?
Benjamin that I previously alluded to had a completely Asian upbringing and considered himself part of the Asian community even though he was unquestionably of the Caucasian ‘race’. But if Benjamin accepts and pronounces himself as a Chinese American then I believe his background culture and love of the Asian community supersedes his apparent ‘race’. Just as someone can pick his or her gender identity so can someone pick his or her racial identity regardless of appearance or upbringing.
When it comes to Ronnie that I have also previously alluded to, there seems to be quite a bit of tension towards Benjamin when he sincerely just tries to ask for simple directions. Ronnie took him asking for directions to Chinatown as a threat to his ‘race’ but Ronnie was surprised when Benjamin explained his intentions and cultural upbringing to him. Ronnie thought that Benjamin was intentionally trying to be a racist jerk when in all actuality he was had just as much Asian background...
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... difficult to pinpoint scientifically. “Race is a concept of human minds, not of nature,” Relethford writes. Unfortunately, this view hasn’t completely caught on outside of the scientific community. Still, there are signs of change, one example is in 2000, the U.S. Census allowed Americans to identify as ‘multiracial’ for the first time. With this change, the nation allowed its citizens to blur the lines between the so-called ‘races’, clearing the way for a future when such racial classifications no longer exist.
Often times determining one’s race leads to something called stereotyping. Stereotypes are qualities assigned to groups of people related to their ‘race’, nationality and sexual orientation, just to name a few. Because they generalize groups of people in manners that lead to discrimination and ignore the diversity within groups, stereotypes should be avoided.
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