Auto-exoticism is Asians performing Chinese New Year for a non-Asian classroom.

Once a year, dmp and her mom performed Chinese New Year for her 98% non-Asian elementary class. Afterward, she went to her grandparents’ house and celebrated Têt, the real New Year’s.

dmp writes:

I learned a new word today. Auto-exoticism (n.): the idea in which the minority culture accepts and internalizes perceptions of itself from the dominant culture. It is performance intended for consumption, it is a sign given to minorities to express their minority status. It is touting Chinese take-out (that isn’t really Chinese) over your family’s home cooking and tossing around fortune cookies (and those weren’t actually Chinese either) and associating yourself with being “Chinese” (even though you aren’t) because it made you more understandable, and calling your family’s most important holiday Chinese New Year because it’s a catch-phrase that everyone understands.

Link: At Home We Called it Têt

(via Who I am When I’m (not) With You)

2 Responses to “Auto-exoticism is Asians performing Chinese New Year for a non-Asian classroom.”

  1. I Am Not the Asian You Think I Am « Land of the Not-So-Calm Says:

    […] Hat tip to Restructure! […]

  2. D.M.P. Says:

    Thank you for thinking that my post was worthy of mentioning on your blog. ^-^ I’m quite flattered.


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