Choy describes himself as a banana which simply means that he is yellow outside and white inside literally. This translated means that he is Chinese from his physical appearance but he is white based on his culture and language. His mother and father arrived from china and they are Chinese which explains why he is Chinese. He doesn’t mind being called a banana because it simply means that the North American culture is simply Anglo-white which his case is. His parents arrived in North America unwanted as aliens which is far much better that if they would have stayed and died in China.
Later on in the late 1800 all the Chinese who had arrived either as laborers laying down the cliff-edge train tracks or as concubines were granted citizenship in either Canada or the United state .During this time racism was intense and his father would be called a ‘chink’ which is a hateful racism name stereotyping the Chinese eye. They finally survived racism after the Second World War after Chinese volunteered as members of Canadian and American military.
A banana is not a racist term and it simply means the generation that assimilated well in the North American life got good education and has good jobs. Chinatown teenagers felt that they did not belong in either world while their parents wanted the best of both worlds for them. They have less understanding of the Chinese traditions, and neither were they interested in traditional China stories.
Just like everyone else the Chinatown brains were colonized by the U.S television programs, magazines and movies. The American Music made their Chinese music sound like noise and as time went by they had distance themselves from the Chinese histories hence the term banana.
Choy felt that he did not belong anywhere after the death of his mother and father and it is at this point that he starts to trace his Chinese roots. His college holidays were spent researching and reading Chinatown stories and articles. He writes a book of how he recreated his past and his struggle of being a banana (being Chinese and being a North American). He discovered that every human being there is something that makes us feel different from everyone else even though we are all the same. This makes him proudly a banana accepting the paradox of being both a Chinese and not a Chinese.
Wayson Choy. I am a banana and proud of it. From reading to writing. Chapter 37.