When Eddie Huang’s family first moved from Washington D.C. to a suburban neighborhood in Orlando, Florida, Eddie felt like he did not fit in in that environrment. Eddie being highly influenced by black culture and its music, claims that hip-hop is his outlet, it is something that he can relate to and fall back on. He wears baggy cloths and jeans in order to showcase and represent his love for hip-hip and black culture. Now, here comes the question. Is this considered cultural appropriation or cultural appreation?
Having lived in Oakland my entire life, I can attest that most first generation Asian-Americans are highly influenced by the black and hip-hop culture. It is almost a second cultural identity that first generation Asian Americans acquire when being exposed to an environment such as the city of Oakland. This is not only the case for Asian Americans, but also other ethnic minorities as well. The daily and frequent exposure to hip-hop has contructed a unique culture and bond between ethnic minorities. After school rap battles, dance offs, and pick-up games were all part of the culture that hip-hop helped create. Like Eddie, lots of us wore baggy clothes and jeans and it is not because we wanted to “be black”. It was the culture that we were exposed to since a young age and that became a part of our identity as first generation Asian Americans living in a primarily low-income neigherhood. As first generation Asian Americans, we have to search and discover our own identity and that all depends on the environment that were brought up in. An Asian American who was brought up in Oakland will definitely differ from an Asian American who was brought up in Alabama.
The influence of black culture has definitely had a significant impact on my life and that will always be something I will identify with. It is an outlet for me to freely express myself with no limitations.