Straight Outta Torrance

The first Season of Fresh off the Boat was one that sparked quite a bit of interest in me due to where I have grown up. Going to middle school and high school in Torrance, I was exposed to much of the Asian culture and experience. Many of my friends had parents who came here from Asia and were trying to start their lives and provide for their kids. I began to form relationships with my friend’s parents and came to notice much of the cultural work ethics that guided their parenting. So, when I watched the first episode of Fresh Off the Boat, none of it came as a surprise to me. My friends had parents who owned somewhat shady restaurants, parents who were strict, and parents who were bent on maintaining their Asian culture. I also watched many of my friends struggle to find an identity amidst American culture and I found that many of my friends did so through hip-hop. Thus, the show didn’t really surprise me or seem too critical to me. From what I’ve seen, though exaggerated for entertainment purposes, what happens in the show is what actually happens to a lot of Asian American kids growing up.
With all of this being aired on television, it does make me feel somewhat proud that these stories are getting told. Many of my friends growing up are some of the strongest and most successful people I know and their parents are equally as impressive. Because of this, I think that this show can serve two purposes. First, it can give those who did not grow up around these Asian-American homes a perspective at the challenges of assimilating into American culture. And secondly, hopefully it will cause people to look around at many of their Asian-American friends and find an appreciation and a respect for what many of them have had to go through in order to assimilate into American culture. Though the story told in this show is not everyone’s story, it can be related and relayed across many different cultures and backgrounds.

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