Studying Asian American Identity Constructs with Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

Robin Fitch

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Studying Asian American Identity Constructs with Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang

Curatorial Statement

This Archive seeks to push educator and student thinking about the Asian and Asian American experience in America. It presents a framework for investigating and examining Identity and querying how Identity is owned, performed and revised.  How does Identity evolve?  Must one hew to a chosen Identity that, over time, chafes and constrains?  What is the difference between revising one’s Identity and refining it?  Can self-assessment lean toward internalized-racism?  How does one balance a sense of history and one’s place in it with an awareness of multiple realities?  Where does America need to do more work to recognize and honor the many cultural discourses that inform and comprise what is known as Asian America?

Using Eddie Huang’s memoir Fresh Off the Boat[1], the Archive seeks to examine the composition of Huang’s Identity by unpacking the workings and construction of it.  The Archive further seeks to investigate whether Identity in general, and Mr. Huang’s in particular, is ever own-able.

Key Questions

Using Eddie Huang’s memoir Fresh Off the Boat, this Archive presents a framework of critical questions to illuminate and examine the workings of Identity through an in-depth analysis and study of Eddie’s journey towards Identity and self-acceptance. This Archive seeks to offer questions that will be useful in considering:

  1. Elements and Influences that comprise an Identity;
  2. Ways in which Identity is imposed, earned, recognized, accepted, discarded, resumed, struggled with, constructed, and re-constructed;
  3. Whether an Identity (such as Eddie Huang’s) that has been performed, branded and commodified can be ‘owned’ and ‘controlled’ on a cultural level; and
  4. When/the ways in which an established Identity remains subject to interrogation, criticism and critique.

The framework may prove of use, in whole or in part, in the examination of Identity generally and it is my hope that it will spark meaningful conversation, discussion and debate in classrooms, as well as amongst colleagues.

Concepts and Key Terms

WhitenessAs used here, privilege that is associated with, but not limited to, the Caucasian race. Whiteness can be described as a state of privilege that is so absolute it blinds the an individual from recognizing his or her own freedom from ‘isms’ that constrain, dictate or appropriate his/her autonomy and ownership/performance of Identity.[2]  (See, generally, Toni Morrison’s description of Whiteness as an Identity formed in opposition to the African presence in the slave-holding USA: in Playing in the Dark[3] and the New York Times’ “How Privilege Became a Provocation, which briefly speaks to the privilege infused in notions of whiteness and a sort of ‘freedom from’ paradigm that privilege confers.[4])

Asian American:  As used here, a person descended from any Asian country that lives in and/or was born in the United States of America.

MetacognitionAs used here, awareness of thinking, processing, understanding and critiquing information.

Satire: As used here, humor used with the intent of pointing out policies or circumstances that are absurd, harmful and/or shameful.

Marxism: As used here, a system of critical analysis that looks at Capitalist values, e.g., use of profit-loss valuation, wealth, status, social class, to assess moral.

Post-Colonialism: As used here, a system of critical analysis that looks at the lasting impact of European Colonialism on a people.

Eurocentricity: belief that European/colonizing culture is the non pareil and all other cultures are lesser to the extent they differ.

Othering: the process of dehumanizing members of a colonized culture for their lack of full adherence to a Eurocentric (or Majority) standard.  Other is the distance between Europe (in appearance, manner, dress, education) and the non-European/colonized individual.

Authenticity: As used here, connotes truthfulness and candor; not subject to any conscious editorial reticence.

Dynamic v. Static: As used here, the tension between an ever-changing and evolving state and a fixed state that brooks no on-going inquiry or any possibility of change.

Code Switching: As used here, the ability to switch between cultural discourses, cultures and/or contexts. Code switching is a learned skill that requires knowledge and understanding of different cultures, realities, identities and modes of effective/appropriate communication

Intertextuality: As used here, the reference of texts by texts to make a point (as a cultural shorthand).[5]

Minority Discourse: As used here, the culture, modes of communication, vocabulary and/or language and experience generally of a culture separate from the majority culture in the USA.

Majority Discourse: As used here, the culture, modes of communication, vocabulary and/or language and experience of the majority culture in the USA.

Tolerance v. Agitation/ResistanceAs used here, the tension that exists between accepting the values and implicit Eurocentric influence of the majority and rejecting it.

Tokenism: As used here, signifier (or box check) of a passing effort to achieve diversity but may be associated with (i) a lack of spirit to truly diversify; or (ii) of a small concession made in order to block more systemic and effective moves to diversify

Identity Constructs/Framework Questions:

  1. How and where is whiteness perceived in the text? How does the writer define whiteness in relation to his or her Identity?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

At High School parties, Eddie was convinced he was only invited because he was ‘wild.’  He and his friends thought they were part of the entertainment and that their presence leant credibility with the hosts.  He demonstrated his hostility to this ‘service’ role by trashing the houses.  His white friend Warren did not approve and did not understand.  His reaction and Eddie’s refusal to change his behavior drove a wedge in their friendship.

“Warren was disappointed in me.  He was friends with everyone and didn’t understand why I’d tear people’s cribs up with Mike and Justin.  Par of it was just being crunk, but I hated these people.  They’d judge me in class, call me a burnout behind my back, but that one weekend their parents were gone, they’d call me and my friends to party because they were fucking tourists.  Warren was torn because no matter how close we’d become, his reference group was still white.  He didn’t understand that I didn’t hate white people.  I hated whiteness. (Huang, 114)

Eddie comments that he is neither white nor Asian.  Here he struggles with his identity, and at this point in the text is at a loss as to how to define and take pride in himself.  His circumstances may be further complicated by the beatings he suffers from his parents, which also further disconnect him from kids his age. (Huang, 148)  Huang later comments that he connects with black youth over being struck by one’s parents.   (http://library.fora.tv/2013/05/07/Author_Eddie_Huang_Racial_Identity_in_the_New_America?fb_action_ids=626692087397&fb_action_types=og.likes — see part 3)

Consider drawing students out on this quotation.  What questions do they have?  What do they understand and ‘read’ into Eddie’s comment.  The quote is a great opportunity to model and practice meta-cognition.

  1. Does the writer perceive and comment on the workings of the majority discourse culture’s ability to dominate or redirect understandings of events? To what extent does the writer accept or reject a majority discourse’s ‘version’ of events?  How does that acceptance or rejection refract elements of the writer’s Identity?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Eddie’s up and down sense of himself – sometimes he’s very negative and defeated and sometimes he’s extremely buoyant – reflects his tendency to judge himself according to dominant discourse standards, react with hostility and resentment when he’s disappointed with himself, possibly act out, and then regroup.  We see this pattern with the Spam Launcher and with his company Bergdorf Hoodman.

His experience with the second restaurant (which failed: XiaoYe[6]), and his recent media spat with being called out as sexist seem to indicate that his relationship with parallel majority and minority discourses continues to be episodically tempestuous.  One issue this raises is whether some elements of Eddie’s Identity are more fragile than others.  From Fresh Off the Boat, we see that, while Eddie may react defensively to criticism, he really takes it to heart and mulls it over.

Consider working with the XiaoYe controversy and Eddie’s more recent public spats over what he says and who he says it to as a way of critiquing the dynamics of approval, disapproval, anger, resentment and hostility that spill out from XiaoYe.  What does the episode help us understand about Eddie?  Be ready for a lack of consensus amongst students and work to foster a culture of mutual respect and comfort with ambiguity in your classroom.

  1. Do the writer’s preferred music, literature and leisure pursuits signify or shorthand issues of concern and relevance that the author feels he/she connects to?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Eddie strongly identifies with Hip Hop culture and becomes highly literate in NBA athletes (particularly Charles Barkley – student who know of him will have an opportunity translate what Eddie’s devotion to Barkley might say about Eddie), hip-hop fashion and signifiers such as clothing and sneakers.[7]  His devotion to this subculture is genuine, but he also commodifies his interest and begins collecting and reselling sneakers, designs t-shirts and judging others as ‘tourists’ or ‘locals’ based on their hip hop literacy.  Some of the people he respects most are peers whose hip hop literacy matches or exceeds his own.  Eddie tends to admire individuals.  (See 214-222; Eddie’s friends Jae and Stephen.)

Eddie’s cousin Angela’s boyfriend, Tom, earns Eddie’s contempt and the label “Uncle Chan” when Tom call’s Tupac’s All Eyez On Me ‘garbage.’ (66) Teachers may want to discuss the term Uncle Chan (connect to Uncle Tom) and its use as a censure of a certain kind of unquestioning acceptance or mimicry of majority discourse preferences.  Eddie also notes that “there’s pain” in hip-hop.  (152) Teachers could excerpt a quote from this reflection and use it to demonstrate/discuss Eddie’s authentic love and appreciation for hip-hop and hip hop culture.

  1. In what ways might sarcasm and irony be used to make meaning or establish a connection between majority – minority discourses or minority – minority discourses? To what extent does the writer accept, reject or make use of the communication techniques of sarcasm and irony?  How do the writer’s chosen means of communication (i.e., obtained through birthright or affinity), including larger systems of discourse, contribute?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Eddie reveals that he was powerfully affected by Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal.”  He has easily spotted “Aha!” moments for teachers to discuss with students (amongst them, many that deal with food – green bean casserole, the Taiwan food market… consider asking students to identify Aha! moments and offer why a particular moment was memorable to them).

“One day about two weeks into the summer, the professor came in with packets of five pages stapled together and dropped them in front of us.  I looked at the title: “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift.  I remember the first time I heard Michael Jackson’s Bad, I remember the first time my cousin played “Fuck wit Dre Day,” and I remember the first time I read “A Modest Proposal.”  It was like going to the gym early in the morning and hearing the first basketball hit the floor, dumph.  From that first drop you can feel the game is on.

When I read Swift it was like I could hear this motherfucker.  It wasn’t writing anymore, it was live.  I could feel how he felt with someone standing over him his whole life.  He was sick of it.  There was some real hate behind his words.  Swift was beyond “Letter from Birmingham Jail. […] Swift reminded me of Ghostface on the intro to “Biscuits.”” (122-123)

This passage offers two intertexts that might be helpful in fully understanding the depth and nuance of Eddie’s reaction to “A Modest Proposal.”  Teachers might consider playing lyrics from the referenced songs and offering a section of “A Letter from Birmingham Jail” to highlight Eddie’s response and to demonstrate/celebrate the cultural literacy he, through diverse minority discourses, displays here.

As students read further into the memoir, ask them to identify moments of sarcasm, criticism and satire.  The memoir is rich with examples and students should be able to make much with these concepts.

  1. Does the writer express admiration or resentment of peers who are more successful at garnering approval from members of minority and majority discourses? Does the writer find stories of success inspiring or intimidating?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Certainly, Eddie is suspicious of peers who are better behaved/seem to tow the line more than he.  As a college student, he reviles and ridicules those of his college classmates who pledge fraternities. Eddie does not like the price of being in a ‘tribe’ that fraternities require and refuses to play the game once he understands that the ‘rules’ will require him to debase himself and his dignity in the service of white upperclassmen:

“The worst was when my cousin Phil joined a frat.  Something about watching my older cousin with a PKA hat on his fat head being hazed by white “brothers” pissed me off.  It must have been how our grandparents felt watching the British or Japanese herd their people around in water lines.  Ok, maybe I was imposing my own meaning on the image, but there was something wrong with it either way.  White people making my cousin carry their shit, wear their colors, and walk with his head down.  It took every ounce of self-control not to go apeshit on his brothers, and when I was done, beat the shit out of Phil, too!  Like watching William Hung sink your entire race with each word of “She Bangs,” we died every time Phil walked thorough the towers surrounded by frat brothers. (155)

Perhaps press students on the ways that being labeled ‘good’ can create a sort of self-expression prison.  Consider too, mentioning Celeste Ng’s novel Everything I Never Told You.  Lydia Lee’s story may rather specific to Lydia’s circumstances, but discussing how and why she felt trapped could shed some light on Eddie’s rage here.  You could also work in elements of Post-colonial theory to situate Eddie’s reaction in a broader context.

  1. At what points in the text does the writer reach or achieve a new understanding? Does this understanding spur a new Identity construct or does it provide metacognitive evidence of why the actor acts or speaks in a certain way.
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

In addition to referring back to many of Eddie’s “Aha!” moments, an ancillary text that would be useful here is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s interview of Eddie Huang for The Atlantic Monthly.  Eddie discusses a number of moments when he begins to see his role and connection to Identity constructs, amongst them: hip hop culture, his heritage from Taiwan, and his situation in what he terms “Racial America.”

Exploration of  “Racial America” would be useful and illuminating both in understanding Eddie and for students.  Mr. Coates has recently written a book entitled Between the World and Me[8] in which he tries to explain what it means to be black in 2015 amidst the killings of many young black men – Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray as well as the recent death in custody of black woman Sandra Bland.[9]  Teachers might consider supplementing Eddie’s comments in Fresh Off the Boat and this interview with excerpts from Mr. Coate’s book.

  1. Does the writer question the motivations and “authentic” commonalities between groups of peers in his/her ethnic Identity Group or use such connections to further his own agenda?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Eddie questions the agenda of his more obedient and higher-performing Chinese relatives (cousins) and peers and observes that assimilating means ‘losing’ one’s culture. (See, pp. 131, 189, respectively.)  It would be interesting to press students on whether this is a genuine critique from Eddie or whether he’s fractious as a way of displacing his own disappointment/lack of confidence in himself.

Also, in law school Eddie really goes after his fellow APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Students Association) members whilst forging connections with other minority students:

“As a minority at law school, I was on a lonely-ass island so I joined APALSA.  It was the first time I ever joined an Asian club.  Within a few months, I remembered exactly why I hated it.  Everyone was concerned with jobs, but not what it should mean to be an Asian with a law degree.  It was the same drill as always.  I thought that I’d be joining a club that would provide opportunities to do pro bono work on legal issues that affected the Asian community, but it was all cursory.  Every month, we’d have meetings, invite Asian alumni who worked for firms, family court, legal aid, etc. and they’d talk to us about their jobs and if we were interested in getting jobs, they said that we could email them.  It sucked chicken feet.

I proposed that we spend money on cultural events or bringing in Asian councilmen/women to speak with us, but they only cared about jobs and an annual ski trip.  The whole club was full of pea-brained, slanted-eyed idiots who thought upward mobility meant they could climb a ladder and escape ignorance.  I knew better and started going to meetings for the Minority Law Students Association that a black woman, Michelle Andrea Smith, headed up.  For some reason I can’t explain, black people just understand the quan better than Asians.  I know I’m being ignorant and stereotyping, but for real, the BLSA and MLSA always understood from jump when I mentioned how programming should talk about social issues and not just jobs.”  (212)

There’s a lot for teachers to work with here.  To what extent is Eddie exhibiting internalized racism?  Should he be given a pass for his casual viciousness in describing Asian American Law students whose values displease/disappoint him?  Should readers simply assume that Eddie’s values here as the ones that should be followed? Does Eddie strengthen or weaken his argument that ‘whiteness’ is his enemy?  To what extent do students feel themselves creating an Identity for Eddie when he gets obnoxious and flippant?  Can Eddie shrug off unfavorable opinions?  What examples from recent events  (Hulk Hogan[10], Mitt Romney[11], Britt McHenry[12]) (you may want to keep this list updated as these examples will lose their freshness), can you and students make connections to?

Eddie’s second restaurant, Xiao Ye, was not a success and many critics took issue with that restaurant’s menu for being obnoxious and offensive.  Eddie did not take the criticism well and got embroiled in some pretty ugly exchanges, one of them detailed here.

Questions for students here are manifold.  Is Eddie ‘losing control’ of his Identity?  What elements of Eddie’s personality is he less in control of than he believes?  Can Eddie ‘fix’ this?  In that regard, Hogan, Romney and McHenry (see above and footnotes) have all apologized.  Is that enough?  If Eddie apologized, would that be enough?

  1. What is a ‘static’ Identity construct versus a ‘dynamic’ one? Is the writer aware of static constructs?  To what extent does the writer resist or reinforce static constructs of Identity?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Fresh Off the Boat is rich with examples of static v. dynamic Identity constructs.  Teachers might consider asking students to make lists in small groups to present for discussion to the larger groups. Eddie is very clear about his likes and dislikes with regard to his culture, his ethnic heritage, his parents’ treatment of him and his brothers, and his feelings about white people and whiteness. It might be a useful exercise for students to identify and explain one inconsistency in Eddie’s credo as a way of showcasing how complex and tangled the forces that construct Identity are.

  1. Is the concept of Race a component of the writer’s Identity?
  • Fresh Off the Boat Connections:

Eddie, time and again, finds echoes of his own feelings and experiences in individuals who are racial or ethnic minorities.  Similarly, one of the aspects of Eddie’s memoir that is really appealing is his sense of ‘lift off’ when he learns something inspiring or revealing.  Eddie struggles with unhappiness, disappointment and unstable levels of self-esteem.  When Eddie returns from Taiwan, he indicates he felt ready to learn his way.  In rationalizing moving away from his parents dreams for him, Eddie finds inspiration in Audre Lorde:  “Luckily, I got my Audre Lorde on and realized you can’t tear down the master’s house with the master’s tools.” (200)

Eddie’s two favorite professors at Rollins College are Dr. Jennifer Henton and Dr. Maurice O’Sullivan.  Dr. Henton offers Eddie respect and audience.  He is able to bring his critical reads of Asian male characters like Long Duk Dong in “Sixteen Candles” into her class.  It’s the kind of affirmation that Eddie thrives on; the positive attention to his meaning (if not his mode) invests Eddie in school.  From O’Sullivan, Eddie learns that there’s a lot he doesn’t know.  Eddie keeps trying to ‘beat’ O’Sullivan at the game of knowledge.  He credits O’Sullivan with teaching him discipline. O’Sullivan didn’t let up on Eddie, but he also doesn’t write him off or ignore him.

Clearly, something about O’Sullivan’s style engages Eddie – speak with students about the qualities a good, tough teacher possess.  Consider excerpting some of Frank McCourt’s Teacher Man (his first day of school when he eats the kid’s sandwich might work well).  Ask students where Eddie would be in the mix of McCourt’s first day in the classroom and have them explain why.  That sort of exercise will firm up their assessments and understandings of Eddie’s character and they can challenge each other’s assumptions in a constructive, low-stakes setting.

*************

At this point in the memoir, students should have a wealth of examples of Eddie mentioning race and using race as a way to understand his Identity as well as how he is perceived by family, friends and ‘the world.  Have students offer their own examples and start a discussion of how Eddie speaks in the discourse of race and, in part, constructs elements of his identity with it.  (Hip Hop references, references to poets, writers, musicians, athletes, fellow chefs (he tears into Marcus Samuelsson and creates a stir; Samuelsson’s response, in part)

  1. How does financial success, or the lack thereof construct the writer’s Identity? To what extent does the writer’s means of supporting him or herself reflect or contradict one or more of the writer’s Identity constructs?

There are many ways to approach this question, and it could easily become a final exposition essay or essay test prompt. To what extent is financial success – longed for or actual — a construct of Eddie’s Identity?

How does the goal of financial success explain Eddie’s actions?

“I chose the name Baohaus because my favorite movement in architecture and design was Bauhaus.  It stuck with me ‘cause shit was simple, clean, masculine, and conscious.  It wasn’t aesthetically driven design; there was a mind to it, just like our Baohaus.  We didn’t have the money to design shit like Bauhaus, but just out of brokenness, the shit was undoubtedly simply if not clean.” (267)

Questions to follow up with:  what is Bauhaus?  Take a classic Bauhaus design and contrast it to that of Eddie’s Bao.  Make sense?  What does Eddie mean by ‘out of brokenness’?  How can that phrase be used as a credo of sorts to understand others of Eddie’s creations?

  1. Is Tokenism an explicit or implicit theme in the text?

Eddie struggles with wanting financial success and feeling like he’s somehow submitting to or agreeing with the racialized system that has systemically othered and silenced him.  He can lash out at successful Asians (Tommy Wu in law school (213)), but he also aspires to have ‘stuff’ – the right shoes, the right jerseys, etc.  It’s safe to say that Eddie is pretty conflicted about trailblazing if it in anyway reinforces established systems and accepted discourses that he feels undervalue or marginalize him.  His unwillingness to submit to accepted and approved ways of succeeding have led him to criminal behavior (e.g., drug dealing, trashing kids’ homes) and to great innovation (Baohaus at its conceptual best functions as a place where ‘otherness’ is celebrated, so much so that not being conversant in Eddie’s literacies (Bauhaus, Ghostface, Michael Jackson, etc, see 264-265) were disadvantages.

An interesting in-class essay question might be: to what extent does tension exist between trailblazing and tokenism in Fresh Off the Boat?   Tough question, and the thinking that backs up the response is where students can stretch their perception of and understanding towards Huang’s ambiguities and inconsistencies.

  1. To what extent does a person ‘own’ his Identity? What forces wrest control of one’s Identity and Image from him or her?

This is a very broad inquiry.  In Eddie’s case, the more he becomes a ‘brand’ the more he is subject to the whim of popular approval.  How Eddie handles pushback when he angers or offends members of the public might point to the ways in which he continues to try and exercise control of his image.  At the creation of this Archive, two scandals in the media that ‘revise’ established Identities are: the Bill Cosby sex scandal,[13] and the Tom Brady “Deflategate” scandal.[14]  Each could work well to model the idea that public Identities might just be public property.

Perhaps less clear is Eddie’s attitude toward his family’s depiction in the TV show “Fresh Off the Boat” At first very excited about the show (he relocated to California), Eddie has spoken out against it and now claims he does not watch it

Students could watch a scene from the show (or a whole episode) and discuss the extent to which Eddie’s Identity has subsumed his ability to harness or direct it.

In-class Activities and Exercises

What you do in class depends on many factors.   How long are your classes?  How many classes can you devote to an Identity Constructs unit?  How old are your students?  Do your students tend to complete their reading or will they need class time?  What are your technology capabilities.  Will a text that features foul language and admitted-to criminal activity be permissible to teach in your school? Are you required to link your units to the Common Core Framework or other standards?  Will this unit interrupt necessary and required test preparation?  What writing requirements and grade level expectations must you account for?

Here are some activities I have found useful.  They are in no particular order.

  • Do-Now Prompts
  • Turn and Talk
  • Small Group inquiry and the whole class report
  • Small Group Jigsaw analysis
  • Identity Maps
  • Use of the questions herein to support analytical/reflective writing (investigating matters of Eurocentricity, points of tension in majority-minority discourse intersections). Adaptation of questions for writing prompts or paper assignments.
  • Have students practice critical literacy by comparing and contrasting current events texts (make use of different modes – pod-casts, songs, films, conversations, non-verbal communications, dynamics of implication and inference, instagram posts, twitter wars between celebs, analysis of song lyrics
  • Have students produce a podcast as an Identity project
  • Have students write an I-search[15] paper on an aspect of their identity.

Additional Teaching Resources

Consider designing an Identity Constructs unit using Eddie Huang’s Fresh off the Boat or a memoir of your choice. The Backwards Planning model set out in Understanding By Design[16] is especially useful in structuring the unit.  A further look at Critical Theory might also prove useful.[17]  Finally, if you want/need to link your unit to the Common Core Framework, a memoir unit is an excellent way to address the Common Core’s non-fiction requirements.[18]

Notes

[1] Huang, Eddie. Fresh off the Boat: A Memoir. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2013. Print.

[2] Some ‘ism’ examples include: ageism, sexism, racism, etc.

[3] Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1992. Print.

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/19/magazine/how-privilege-became-a-provocation.html

[5] E.g., reference to Wu-Tang’s CREAM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBwAxmrE194)  in Wyclef’s song “Sweetest Girl” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBwAxmrE194) (which repeats a strongly Marxist value “Cash Rules Everything Around Me”) in the context of narrating the downfall of a young woman.)  Notably, Eddie Huang is a Wu-Tang devotee: http://www.esquire.com/style/mens-fashion/interviews/a33871/eddie-huang-fresh-off-the-boat-style/

 

[6]  For more on the XiaoYe controversy and the flare up of angry dialogue between Eddie and critics of his ‘expression’ check out these two links (and do some further investigating on your own if you want to update them) http://reappropriate.co/2015/05/there-can-be-no-room-in-this-movement-for-misogyny/; http://www.alternet.org/media/dear-eddie-huang-you-dont-get-tell-black-people-or-other-asian-people-how-they-should-feel-or

[7] Check out this Esquire piece on Eddie’s fashion influences: http://www.esquire.com/style/mens-fashion/interviews/a33871/eddie-huang-fresh-off-the-boat-style/

[8] Here is a useful review of Mr. Coate’s book: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/10/books/review-in-between-the-world-and-me-ta-nehisi-coates-delivers-a-desperate-dispatch-to-his-son.html?rref=books&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Books&pgtype=article

[9] Feminist Critic Roxane Gay’s July 24, 2015, New York Times Op-Ed piece on Sandra Bland could be useful in discussing the danger Eddie invites with his behavior as a high school and college student.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/25/opinion/on-the-death-of-sandra-bland-and-our-vulnerable-bodies.html

[10] Hulk Hogan: Racist rant caught on tape: http://nypost.com/2015/07/24/hulk-hogan-apologizes-for-racist-rant-that-got-him-fired/

[11] Mitt Romney: 47% of the population video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2gvY2wqI7M; Romney then explains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWjE5rtYOoo.  Query whether this video played any role in his loss of the 2012 presidential election: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/29/ted-cruz-latino-vote-47-percent_n_2215419.html

[12] Britt McHenry: This ESPN reporter, mad about having had her car towed, is captured on video verbally abuses the tow lot attendant, making it clear that she (McHenry) is better because she’s wealthy, thin and on-TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkxBTklqIcw.  Faced with evidence of her behavior and thinking, McHenry apologizes; ESPN suspended her for one week: http://www.people.com/article/britt-mchenry-espn-parking-attendant-viral-video

[13] The backlash against Cosby and Brady’s carefully constructed Identities – family guy and All-American hero (each worthy of analysis!) has been furious.  Ask students – to what extent have Cosby and Brady lost control of their Identities?  Will they be able to rein them in, ever?

Bill Cosby scandal:  Here are some links that will likely need updating if you think you’d like to make this connection:  http://nymag.com/thecut/2015/07/bill-cosbys-accusers-speak-out.html http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bill-cosby-appeals-ruling-that-unsealed-deposition-excerpts/ http://variety.com/2015/biz/news/bill-cosby-andrea-constand-sexual-assault-2-1201547572/

[14]Tom Brady scandal: – reaction to Deflategate is mixed and falls along regional lines.

Patriots nation tends to side with Brady, owner Robert Kraft, and the Patriots: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/07/29/patriots-owner-robert-kraft-blasts-nfl-over-deflategate-; http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/patriots_nfl/new_england_patriots/2015/07/guregian_robert_kraft_must_now_back_up_his_toughpenalty/18IqKehM9nAbE51OOQzOAK/story.html?p1=Article_Related_Box_Article

Supporters of other NFL teams widely condemn the Patriots and Brady for reasons of character, sportsmanship and tactics: http://www.indystar.com/story/sports/columnists/gregg-doyel/2015/07/28/doyel-tom-brady-deflategate-villain/30804985/; http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2015/07/30/jets-fans-fly-cheaters-banner-over-patriots-training-camp/; http://nypost.com/2015/07/28/tom-bradys-put-himself-in-this-mess-with-nixonian-like-coverup/

 

[15] Macrorie, Ken. The I-search Paper. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, Heinemann, 1988. Print.

[16] Wiggins, Grant P., and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1998. Print.

[17] Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: A User-friendly Guide. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2015. Print.

[18] http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/current.html (See, specifically, English Language Arts Grades 6-12)

About Robin Fitch

Ms. Fitch is a high school English teacher and grateful Seminar participant.

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