In a blog post that was originally posted on the Birkbeck blog – Birkbeck Comments – TLANG team member Zhu Hua reflects on the personal significance of a question that sits at the centre of our research.
In his open letter published in the New York Times on 9 October, Michael Luo, who was born and grew up in the US, told of his encounter with a woman who yelled at him and his family, ‘Go back to China!’, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan when they came out of a church service. Puzzled by the event, his 7-year-old daughter asked ‘Why did she say, ‘Go back to China?’ We’re not from China.’
What Michael Luo experienced is ‘perpetual foreigner syndrome’, a problem facing many transnational individuals in everyday interactions, especially those who may look or sound different from the local majority. Back in 2002, Frank Wu, the first…
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