The Asian Accent: A Curse or Source of Pride? | Haiyun Lu | 5 Min Read

Dec. 23, 2022

This is part three in Haiyun Lu’s Little Things Matter Series.

Just a few weeks ago, Licorice Pizza began showing in selective theaters. While the movie has been receiving positive reviews, there are a couple of scenes in which a white restaurant owner speaks with a fake Asian accent and has a replaceable Japanese wife hanging on to his arm. Many Asian people found this offensive. The producer was called out by Asian communities for incorporating racist stereotypes in an otherwise well-done movie. This whole experience reminds me of a memory, which I have been subconsciously suppressing.

21 years ago, when I first landed at the Milwaukee airport, a friend asked my first ever American neighbor to pick me up. Since they were running late, I sat on a bench outside waiting for them.  In my mind, I rehearsed two lines of English that I was confident I could say: What’s your name, and how are you?

When my friend and the neighbor arrived, I saw a 6’7” giant loom over my head who stretched out his enormous, long arm. I began to panic. Then he said: “Hello, my name is Andy. Nice to meet you.” That…

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Haiyun Lu

Haiyun Lu, a Chinese language teacher at the University School of Milwaukee (WI), is also a writer, blogger, trainer, curriculum designer, meditator, and Co-Founder at Ignite Chinese.