Bicultural Identity in David Hwang’s FOB and Yellow Face

Abstract

David Henry Hwang (1957- ) is a Chinese American playwright who uses political satirical set up to portray racial identity. Hwang’s parents are both Chinese-born; they immigrated to the United States before they met there and got married. In spite of the fact that Hwang – in a number of interviews – describes his Chinese American childhood as free of any racial issues, he is known in his works for his inquiry into identity and the concept of belonging. Hwang reveals his awareness of racial stereotypes in relation to the common perception of Asians and Asian Americans, and he admits experiencing racism when he first went to New York City. His plays usually centre on complex characters and depict their experiences with racism, imperialism, discrimination or generational differences, FOB (1980) and Yellow Face (2007) are outstanding examples. Asian characters that have been presented in theatre in Europe since the nineteenth century were played by white actors, like in The Queen of China Town (1899) by Joseph Jarrow and Madame Butterfly (1900) by David Belasco.  As a result Asian American playwrights wrote a number of plays depicting discriminatory casting of characters, like David Hwang’s Yellow Face, premiered in Los Angeles in May, 2007, and Lloyd Suh’s Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery (2015).

Keywords: Discrimination, Immigrants, Stereotype, bicultural, race

Article Review Status: Published

Pages: 1-10 (Download PDF)

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