One Woman’s Twitter Story Brilliantly Captures the Massive Influence of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
“Crazy Rich Asians,” the adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s book of the same title, has made a huge impact on many Asian Americans including Huffington Post editor Kimberly Yam.
In a series of Twitter posts, Yam begins sharing a story of her father delivering food to her class in 3rd grade where the other children made fun of him and his accent.
You’re 8 years old. Your 3rd grade class orders chinese food & your father delivers it. You are so excited to see your pops in school. He’s your hero. But apparently other kids don’t think he’s so cool. They laugh at him and mimic his accent. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore. pic.twitter.com/6vW9DXZK6x
At age 9, Yam learned that a girl at a ballet camp she attended hated her and thought that she had “ugly shaped” eyes.
You’re 9 years old. You attend ballet camp. Someone tells you that another girl *hates* you. She thinks your eyes are an “ugly shape.” You don’t have the vocabulary to describe why that’s hurtful. But now, you hate your distinctly Asian face. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore.
Her classmates dressed up as “Asian tourists” for Halloween when she was 16 years old and taped their eyes back.
You’re 16 years old. It’s Halloween & 2 students come to class dressed as “Asian tourists.” They’ve taped their eyes back, strapped cameras around their necks and chucked up peace signs. You feel uncomfortable. When a teacher asks if you find the costumes offensive, you say no.
“You don’t want people thinking you’re uptight. You laugh along with everyone else. You don’t want to be Chinese anymore,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Then, at 17, she met other Asians while in college, and one boy asked her why she doesn’t speak her family’s language.
You’re 17 years old. You’re off to college & you meet other Asians. They have pride that you never had. You meet a boy & he wonders why you don’t speak your family’s tongue. Why your favorite food is grilled cheese, not xiao long bao. You say your family doesn’t live that way.
“But you know you rejected your culture a long time ago. You know you refused to speak Chinese & you remember calling your mother’s food ‘disgusting.’ It’s f***ed. It clicks. It’s a race to reclaim everything you’ve hated about yourself. For the 1st time, you want to be Chinese,” she wrote.
Yam spent several years trying to “repatriate” herself and getting her family’s name tattooed on her skin.
You’re 20 years old. You’ve spent the past several years repatriating yourself. You get your family’s name inked into your skin. That character is there forever. You won’t let anyone make you feel the way you did all those years ago. You love being Chinese.
The beautiful moment came when she watched “Crazy Rich Asians.”
You’re 25 years old. You see a movie with an all-asian cast at a screening and for some reason you’re crying and you can’t stop. You’ve never seen a cast like this in Hollywood. Everyone is beautiful. You’re so happy you’re Chinese. #CrazyRichAsians#RepresentationMatters
As lead actress Constance Wu said, quoting director Jon M. Chu when she revealed why the film means so much to her and other people in the Asian American community, “Crazy Rich Asians” is “more than a movie — it’s a movement.”