Fresh Off the Boat, Restaurant owner and writer Eddie Huang’s ABC sitcom about a Taiwanese American Immigrant family, featured an interesting scene in its first season. Eddie Huang’s younger self is seen opening the school lunch his mother packed for him: several delicate looking rice dumplings that were met with the jeers of his white classmates who were not accustomed to Chinese cuisine. Eddie went back to his parents later with one request: I need white people lunch.
Being the children of first-generation immigrant families is tough work. These kids live in duality between two worlds; they constantly balance between embracing the cultures of their new home whilst not forgetting the cultures of their parents. Not too long ago this “otherness” was seen as a faulty quality; immigrants were expected to assimilate and get used to the cultures of their new home.
Today, the same children of these immigrant families celebrate the very cultures they were told to shun.
For the second year, Northeastern University’s Chinese Student Association (NUCSA) hosted a culture show that celebrates that duality between its member’s two worlds. From Dragon and Lion Dances to contemporary Chinese pop songs, the skits and acts of the show featured a myriad of Chinese Culture that are both old and new.
Brian Zhu, the President of NUCSA and a first-generation immigrant, said that the culture shows each year feature a different issue. “[The show] this year is a lot more ‘real’ and deals with the themes of running a cultural organization as minorities,” said Zhu, “Last year our topic was the lack of Asian American representation in Media.”
The show also featured four performances by the Chinese Folk Art Workshop (CFAW), which performers were mainly made up of middle schoolers and high schoolers.
“Our mission is to increase awareness of Chinese culture in local communities throughout Boston, Massachusetts, and New England Areas,” said a spokesperson of CFAW, “We want our young performers to embrace and cherish their heritage, while spreading awareness of their beautiful culture with others.”
Based on the success of the culture shows so far, Zhu said that NUCSA has plans to turn the Culture Show into an annual event.