Native Speaker the Evil Called


/I wear khaki Dockers./I own brown suede bucks./I eat gourmet greens./I have few close friends "of color."/I married a white woman./I am a child of the suburbs." (Lines 1-10)

Liu would be considered white by many who feel that his choice to have more white friends or watch certain channels or engage in certain activities makes him white but Liu thinks this is not true. It is indeed wrong to connect these with whiteness or aspirations of being a white, instead we must understand that these are things that people with certain educational and economic background would enjoy even if they are people of color themselves. It is just sad that most less educated people with less power are people of color. "When I imagine myself among white people who influence the currents of our culture, it is not for their whiteness but for their influence…It is cruel enough that the least privileged Americans today have colored skin, the most privileged fair. It is crueler still that by our very language we should help convert this fact into rule. The time has come to describe assimilation as something other than the White Way of Being."


Being white or not being white is not connected with the kind of activities one engages is, instead it's a whole mindset. We need to understand that people of certain economic status would enjoy certain activities and also have a certain mindset. This might give them certain inclinations and tendencies that would give them more reasons and chances to along with like-minded people. For example a person with a white collar job will join a few nice clubs, his children will attend private schools, and he will spend his weekend at his beach or farm house but that are the perks that come with having a good job. This doesn't make him white or non-white. However ironically, most people doing the same thing happen to be white because they have better educational opportunities and thus better jobs. And hence a person of color or from any minority group who gets a white collar job has more white friends than friends from his own ethnic group. Others think that he is acting white because he has assimilated but that's not true. Assimilation is not bad; it is the way it is perceived that makes it evil.

In conclusion, we must say that assimilation is wrongly portrayed and is poorly defined which makes the very word sound evil. The process of assimilation doesn't make anyone any less of a stranger to his own culture and heritage than he chooses to be. "The time has also come, I think, to conceive of assimilation as more than a series of losses -- and to recognize that what is lost is not necessarily sacred. I have, as I say, allowed my Chinese ethnicity to become diluted. And I often resolve to do more to preserve, to conserve, my inheritance. But have my acts of neglect thus far, my many omissions." Some things are just not worth preserving and what get lost in the process of assimilation may actually be those things. The author thus says that the thing which we lose were not necessarily sacred.