13.9.05

Alas, since I last blogged, Katrina turned out to be way, way worse than she first appeared, but by now you knew that already. Among millions of possible Katrina items to comment upon I choose this: if you plug in "refugee" & a recent date in an ADS-L archive search you'll get some interesting discussion. Also here.

As usual I can see both sides of the debate. Folks don't want to be lumped in with some other group they really don't identify with. On the other hand, I can't help but smell some American arrogance in here... it's the same irony I have noticed in the course of doing the Chinese Restaurant Project. (Hey, wow, you mean this might actually be on topic?! Hang onto yer hats, blog readers!) We (some people of color) get so preoccupied with defending our American-ness, i.e. "we belong here too" or "we deserve these rights too" that we seem to forget to question why it's so dang desirable to be an American. What about the other questions like: Isn't it embarrassing (& getting more so all the time) to be an American? Don't non-Americans also deserve respect, rights, resources, &c? What's so special about being recognized as an American? Of course I'm asking these questions in terms of conceptual identity, not in the context of, for example, the real daily crap that undocumented immigrants have to deal with.

I mean, part of my motivation in doing this project has been to demonstrate how we (Chinese Americans) have been here all along & are an integral part of American food culture, & dammit, why don't we get some credit for that? But really, does it matter on that pride/identity level what so-called "real Americans" (i.e. dumb white people who elected Bush) think of us & our restaurants? Why should we care?

Just wondering. Sorry if I'm rambling. I'm a little rusty at this blogging thing. Anyway, here's my suggestion for what to call people instead of refugees or evacuees or IDPs or hurricane survivors: Katrina Americans (smirk).

If you've read this far, reward yourself. I did today & it's almost enough to make me forget about my poor sufferin' hand.

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