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The Descriptive Elements of Terkel's "Frank Chin"

Chin realized during the civil rights movement that the Chinese had no presence or image in American culture as people, although they were more favored than blacks. The description of his efforts to appropriate blackness by imitating the distinctive walk, talk and clothing is another example of his use of a humorous description woven into the central narrative stream of the essay. The incident creates an effective segue to his confrontations with members of a local Chinese gang.

The use of the narrative structure is very effective in framing Chinese objections to the civil rights movement. According to Chin, most Chinese saw the civil rights movement as a threat. In the last 12 paragraphs of the essay, Chin explains the Chinese perspective from his point of view. For example, the Chinese objected to school integration because they did not want blacks to influence their children. The Chinese did not want to be identified as a minority. They sought acceptance through total assimilation into the white culture. Chin writes that his people had worked very hard at being acculturated: "We didn't know anything about China anymore" (119).

Chin describes the Chinese attitude of superiority toward blacks. The Chinese believed that, because


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