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Pet Sins September 2000

Chinese woman complains that new haircut is 'too Oriental'

My European American co-worker married a woman from China. After sh got a haircut from a Japanese hairdresser, she complained, "I don't like this hair style. It is too Oriental!"

Her husband joked, "But what are you?"

I did not like her. Like some other mainland Chinese, she worked very hard at losing her accent. She was successful at sounding American. There are other mainland Chinese and other foreigners who do not see any point in changing their accents. Their English is good enough to be understood by Americans, and that's all they need.

Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not rare. Many Asian immigrants in the West seem to go out of their way to put down Asian things, be it films, clothing, customs or hairstyles, in front of their Western friends, thinking that would somehow make them fit in more.

C.H.