In Nayan Shah’s “Public Health and The Mapping of Chinatown,” he comes to the conclusion that “The Chinese were characterized repeatedly in terms of ‘excess’ – of their number, of their living densities, of the diseases they spawned, and of the waste they produced” (173). I do not find this conclusion during the start of the Chinatown in San Francisco and different from peoples’ descriptions of today’s Chinatowns including those in Manhattan and Sunset Park. It is a shame that because the Chinese are considered “foreign” or “alien,” they are judged with the full weight of biases and discrimination which is evident in United States history with the Exclusion Act of 1882.
In Edward Said’s “Orientalism,” he comes to the conclusion that “If this (better understanding) stimulates a new kind of dealing with the Orient, indeed if it eliminates the ‘Orient’ and ‘Occident’ altogether, then we shall have advanced a little in the process of what Raymond Williams has called the ‘unlearning’ of the ‘inherent dominative mode’” (28). I think that Said is correct in that “unlearning” and perhaps a color blind approach or close alternatives to seeing other people of different races or origins may help us learn more effectively about different people and their cultures. It is interesting the paradox of learning in different ways would mean unlearning ways he have already been conditioned, to think in dominant terms, in terms of superior and inferior.
In Martin F. Manalansan IV’s “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men in New York City,” he comes to the conclusion “Filipino gay men, as I have shown, respond to various historical instances, such as the AIDS pandemic, anchored to shared cultural traditions that are continually renewed and reassembled” (403). I think that Manahlansan IV’s has a positive tone and outlook to the future of Filipino Gay Men. I think that this is in part because New York City is a diverse, “melting pot” which enables different groups and culture to assimilate easier that a rural or suburban area where cultures may not have the greater chance to intermingle. I think it is interesting in part of other Asian American texts I have read, that he ends on a positive note but political movements are gaining an edge in further acceptance of the gay community which Manahlansan states is not static, but changes with time.
I think all three texts are interesting because they provide some insight into Asian American literature and works. In Shah’s “Public Health and the Mapping of Chinatown,” he is adamant about pointing out the discrimination Chinese people which many Asian literature points to, which makes Manalansan IV’s “Searching for Community: Filipino Gay Men in New York City” interesting because it is a change of pace in most literature I have come across. Many Asian American literature points to discrimination, and unfair practices in the United States such as internment camps, and Exclusion Acts but I think Edward Said’s “Orientalism” is the best way to focus on learning about different cultures, which is ironically to “unlearn” dominant habits and ways of thinking, to be more accepting of different cultures.