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FOBs speak broken English, or with a heavy foreign accent.
The joke is that FOBs are immediately identifiable, even before they open their mouths; in their manner, their dress.
Yes, one might be able to argue that white, western culture has historically been the idea of normal in America, still is.
But now more than ever, how can American minorities ever move beyond that one idea of normal if we don’t accept the many ways to live as hyphenate Americans? I realize that terms like banana, coconut, Twinkie, FOB, ABC, ABCD, etc.
Banana, Twinkie, coconut, FOB, mangosteen, ABCD – and those are just a few of the kinder ones – there is a whole language of Asian-American life meant to pit one’s Asian self against one’s American self. An Asian-American person only wears the skin of an Asian, but endeavors to be as white as possible in manner, dress, speech, etc.
If you’re a FOB you can’t normalize; if you’re a banana you’re a try-hard who’s abandoned your culture in order to gain acceptance.
As in FOB style, FOB culture, FOB as a reaction against all things “white on the inside.” Words like banana or ABCD have also been embraced by those that have been taunted as such.
There’s even a Banana Magazine, a magazine that “But the question remains, why does there have to be a right way to “do” Asian-American?
During the first half of the 20th century in America, when Asian-Americans were either banned, arrested, counted like cattle, or publicly loathed, the question of assimilation was always somewhere in the conversation.
Can Asians ever really assimilate into American culture?
When I was in graduate school, I directed a short play that had an all Asian-American cast and production team.