Graphic Comp Analysis - Derek Pieser Yang and Biss: On...

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Derek Pieser Yang and Biss: On racial identity and stereotyping Have you ever been unsure of your race or been the victim of racial stereotypes? As races continue to mix in the United States, many people are faced with the decision of which ethnicity to affiliate themselves with, and are often characterized by others into one specific race. American Born Chinese and Nobody Knows Your Name are two texts that discuss these two issues, which are present in our culture today. American Born Chinese , by Gene Luen Yang, was published exclusively in graphic novel form and takes the stance that you cannot be something that you are not, in terms of identity and ethnicity, as well as that there is nothing to be ashamed of in having a mixed ethnicity. Yang conveys these claims through interconnected stories about Jin Wang, the Monkey King, and Danny. Jin Wang is a Chinese American boy who was moved from his hometown of San Francisco, to a town where people with culturally mixed ethnicities aren’t as frequent. The Monkey King is a monkey that was born to rule all of the monkeys, but desires to be a deity. Lastly, Danny is an American teenager in High School who is constantly embarrassed when his cousin from China comes to visit. In her essay, No One Knows Your Name , Eula Biss states that race is not biologically based, and instead the concept of race serves “a purely social purpose” (173). She supports her claims by recalling her and her husband’s childhood and present experiences, as well as the history of Irish immigrants in the United States and how they were considered a “distinct race” from the British (171). Biss’ personal experiences include reading a National Geographic article, titled “Celt Appeal,” after which she concludes that race in our current era can be defined as feeling “touched by the history, myths, and artistic expressions” of a certain group (180). I will compare Biss’ essay and Yang’s graphic novel and how they depict that life is difficult when you cannot identify with a certain race, and that people
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of mixed race are frequently characterized by stereotypes of only part of their ethnicity. I will also examine how each author makes appeals to ethos by establishing common ground with their audience and illustrating their own credentials.
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Graphic Comp Analysis - Derek Pieser Yang and Biss: On...

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