Asian American Literature Essay

2543 words - 10 pages

The need for America to value the Native Speakers of Languages other than English. The recently arrived immigrants face a language barrier which is only the part of the many difficulties they endure in US. Many of them are offended by the cultural aspects of America which they do not understand. Even the second generation immigrants cannot be accepted into the American mainstream. They are considered to be outsiders as their skin color is darker and their facial features do not reflect a lighter skinned Americans. Chang-Rae Lee indicates that the non-white Americans cannot help but see themselves inferior to the white Americans. In the Native Speaker, Henry attempts to remove himself of his immigrant identity through voyeurism. As a result, he becomes a traitor to other immigrants. Lee does not write about a character who is condemned to live a lie. A transformation in Henry occurs as he learns to see himself as an individual and not as an American. As he learns to value his cultural background, he can appreciate other immigrants and empathize with their hardships. The phrase ¡°America for Americans¡± reveals the mainstream attitude toward the non-white immigrants. Most of the recently arrived immigrants are people of color. They are easily distinguished from other Americans because of their different appearance, language and culture. Lee portrays many of these immigrant groups becoming a scapegoat to the unhappy Americans. The people who call themselves the ¡°Americans¡± protest against John Kwang¡¯s system of helping the immigrants. They blame the immigrants of their joblessness and financial difficulties. The government blames Kwang for corruption in his dealings with the illegal aliens. A closer look at the American hostility toward the ¡°illegal aliens¡± indicates that non-whites are not accepted as Americans. The list of people who have participated in the ggeh are immigrants of various backgrounds and immigrant status. However, the mainstream media understands every one of the people in the list as participating in the political corruption. The American mainstream fails to accept cultural values of the immigrants. The idea of the ggeh overlooks the legality of the immigrant status. Kwang has been exercising the fatherly concern over the immigrants in helping them financially. It is a cooperative effort which requires trust and common interest of building immigrant communities. One cannot ignore the aspect of political interest in Kwang¡¯s campaign to help the immigrants. However, one questions the venues of opportunities that the immigrants have without the help from other immigrants. The acceptance of the Korean culture would have made the ggeh appear as an ethical system which enables immigrants to help each other out. This cultural aspect is ignored by the American mainstream and ggeh is viewed as a part of the corruption in the immigrant...

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