The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker Summary Essay

867 Words May 22nd, 2012 4 Pages
Pivka
October 20, 2011
English 101
P2

“Notes of a Native Speaker” Summary In 1998, Eric Liu wrote a book about his struggle with acculturation titled “The Accidental Asian”. A chapter within the book called “Notes of a Native Speaker” depicts an essay written by Liu which fully describes his struggles with race and how he overcame them. Eric Liu is an American born Taiwanese Asian. His parents immigrated to the United States before he was born and in so, gave him a mixed cultural background. He started becoming a writer after attending Yale University and graduating from Harvard Law School. In his “Notes of a Native Speaker” author Eric Liu argues that as he was “becoming white” he was achieving, learning the ways of the upper
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Liu, like any other kid wanted to be cool. He shares that one major part of being cool, was to have the cool hairstyle. For most of his childhood, Liu sported a bowl cut. The new style in his school however was hair parted down the middle and tapered on the ends. With Liu’s Asian genes it was nearly impossible to accomplish this style. After a couple years of trying various different hair styles that did not suffice as cool, he finally became content with having a crew-cut. Liu also thought that because he was Asian, he had less of a chance to get girls. Liu insists that it was the “sole obstacle” to his “advancement” (Liu 20). His response to this was to do more school activities such as write for the school newspaper and join the school newspaper. Although he wanted to disconcert stereotypes, Liu states that this made him seem like a typical “Asian overachiever” (Liu 21). Another concern Liu had from his Chinese heritage was that he had never been taught American manners. When he went to a friend’s house to sleep over, he never said “thank you” for it. When he had dinner at a friend’s house he ate differently than the others. As he began to change the way he acted and talked at friend’s houses he began to realize that he was getting further and further away from his Asian heritage. College was Liu’s final frontier of assimilating. He did not want to make himself look more Asian than he already was. This involved him taking several steps. He never

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