Sunday, September 25, 2011

Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai's "Making Guacamole"

What are three words in the poem that jump out at you?  Why are the words important to you and why do you think they caught your attention?


  1. "Ghetto" why is important to me because I used to lived in the ghetto area, where my neighbor were a drugs dealer and gangsters.

    "Color" where in America we do not supposed to judge people by their looks and color.

    "immigrants" this probably the most important to me because I am! These people who make this country colorful!!!! :P

  2. 3 distinct words that stood out to me in this poem:

    The word "American/America" because the entire poem seemed to focus on how the author desired for the meaning of this word to shift from symbolizing Caucasians to encompassing all those that reside in America, especially immigrants of Asian descent.

    "Yellow" since she uses it more than once to present this idea that she wants the description of Asian skin color to bring to mind the hardships and perseverance Asian Americans showed in getting to America; not just for it to mean the stereotypical "Korean shop owners" and "ball-busting Kung Fu masters."

    Lastly, the word "chameleon" because she uses the word in context to show the struggle she goes through with sometimes desiring to assimilate into the white beliefs of what "American" means instead of holding tightly to her Asian roots.

  3. Three words that stood out to me were...

    Chameleon- Everyone and every ethnicity is different I believe that she uses the word to describe herself trying to blend in with others instead of be who she truly is. All to often people try to be something they are not, to simply blend in. Where in the poem she shows how people should not be afraid to be who they are or what ethnicity they are born in to.

    American- It is not a secret that many times "americans" are referred to as white people. For example my auntie regularly says this. But being american means more then just being white. People come to America for freedom and a chance at a new life for themselves or there family. And that is what I believe america or being american means. Not a color, but people independently striving to be better.

    Community- In america no one community is the same as another. Each has its own unique people and different ethnicities. My community is different from yours, but also it is the same because if I consider America as my community I would say its a location where i live with millions of other people with many different backgrounds all coming together in one place to live, thrive, and be Americans.

  4. "outsiders", in a society where everyone is American, we shouldn't have outsiders, because everyone has atleast one thing in common. We all live in America, and we are all American. But I do understand this word "outsiders"... When I work in Los Gatos, everyone I see is Caucasian. Yes, it does make me feel uncomfortable because I can tell they look at me differently and assume things about me before they even talk to me.

    "color", by looking at one's skin color, we can tell what their ethnicity, race or background is. We prejudge certain aspects of their lifestyle.

    "American", my parents always refer to Caucasians as "American", They never refer to Asians, or Hispanics for example, as "American". I just thought that was interesting because Kelly Tsai, also said stated that in her poem. I feel like I could relate.

  5. "Chameleon" This is one of the words that stand out to me because since I lived in North Carolina, which had a tiny Asian population, there were many times where I had to blend into many other cultures so that I would not be judged differently for being Asian. I think this is true for most Asians as many have to become chameleons to fit in.

    "immigrant" also stands out to me because I am an immigrant to this country, as well as my entire family. Although I am a proud citizen now, I can still remember the day that i first arrived in America. Coming into a world with a different culture and a different language is something that is hard for many immigrants.

    "succeed" is also important because that is what my family came to America to do. My father brought us all the way to America so that I could succeed by getting a good education. Although Korea has a great education system, it is extremely competitive, and also flawed to appoint. To give ma a bigger opportunity to succeed, my father worked hard to bring our family to the United States.

  6. "Color", many people judge others stereotypically by their skin color without ever even meeting or talking to them.

    "American", many people, usually the last generation still view Americans as just Caucasians.

    "Chameleon", many people try to blend in with color of the people's skin around them to fit in. The author uses this negatively to say that we should be proud of who we are individually.

  7. Outsiders -- Kelly wonders what they are doing in her neighborhood and by outsiders she means white people whether it be drug addicts or doctors "driving away in their shiny cars..." This word stood out to me because when one is around a group of certain people for a while and you see someone different you automatically wonder what they are doing and that they must be outsiders.

    Belong -- It's true when Kelly emphasizes the idea that everyone tries to belong and we do feel achievement when we finally feel as if we belong to something or some group. This word stood out to me because as soon as I found a group of people that I can bond with, I felt like I belong here to be friends with them :)

    Common -- Kelly says that she's struggling to find thing we have in common. Common kind of ties into belong. The easiest way to see if you belong to a group is to have things in common. Every race is different. Every person is different, but sometimes it is easier to find that bond with someone or some group if you have something in common to talk about or something to bond over.

  8. Chameleons- It's significant to me because she feels like a chameleons because they blend in to protect themselves from danger as to her referring to her race.

    Race- The word is significant to me because she speaks as if there there is a border around people when we're human beings.

    Americans- Parents view Americans as only Caucasians but never anyone else.

  9. "Gap" I think this is important because sometimes the children of immigrants feel that there is a gap between their parents and themselves because of differences like culture and ideals. I think it caught my attention because I have gotten into disagreements with my parents because of our differing views.

    "American" This word jumps out to me because like Kelly's family, my parents use the word American to describe a Caucasian person. This conflicts with my definition of American because I would describe myself as one since I was born in the US. This word caught my attention because my dad has used the word "American" negatively but he doesn't seem to realize that his children are American too.

    "Foreignness" This word is important because I think my parents still feel like foreigners even though they have lived in this country for a really long time. It also reminds me of how foreign I felt when I went to China because of the difference in culture.

  10. Immigrant- I immigrated to America from the Philippines when i was ten years old.

    Cultures- I never really thought much about culture until i stepped out of my own and realized how vast, and different each one is.

    Race consciousness- its human nature that almost everyone have biased opinions regarding to race.

  11. "nationalism" - I think nationalism is what she wanted most for her ethnicity in America because she feels that they have always been looked down upon. She wants for Asian Americans to be able to be themselves and be equal to Caucasian Americans as well as listen to the music and wear the clothing of her culture without feeling ashamed.

    "chameleon" - This word caught my attention because it tells a lot about Kelly and how she feels about her culture and ethnicity. It shows that she is [somewhat] ashamed of her culture only because she doesn't want to be judged, so she conforms to what is "normal". However, other than that, she is proud of who she is and where she comes from.

    "color" - Skin color is a way that people use to classify others, and to have a color represent a race/ethnicity shows how significant it is in a particular location.

  12. Anxious- I tend to worry about how people see me. I need to look into why I have allowed myself to feel this way.

    Community- I feel like I belong in both American and Japanese communities. I don't see why I have to choose one over the other.

    Joy- No matter what kind of challenges we face, we must be rewarded with joy in order for us to live and move on.

  13. Cultures- I think this word stuck out to me because it has to do with one of three main components of this spoken word. Cultures derive from ethnic backgrounds and she is speaking from her perspective of her culture and roots in America.

    Colors- I found this to be the second main component of te spoken word because she doesn't classify the whites as Americans. Better yet she doesn't use nationality or gender but the color of skin to classify how we all different colors besides white, are trying to make a name for oneself.

    Finding homes- I found this to be the most crucial because America is where we live it is our home but yet she is on a quest to find reasons for america to not be only her home but everyones home in unity.

  14. The word "Guacamole" caught my attention because it is in the title. It's a funny word to me. I also love guacamole.

    When I heard the word, "Hypocrisy," it struck me as confusion and frustration. Kelly's curiosity runs, but her realization of self contradiction stops it. I find myself doing that a lot.

    As immature as this sounds, the word, "Fucked" caught my attention. It stuck out to me because it is not a pleasant sounding word, but also because this word is only used to when someone is trying to describe how doomed something is. When this word is used, I usually think to take caution to what they are saying.

  15. Chameleon- Although kelly is comfortable in her skin and is very proud of who she is, she sometimes feel the need to blend into the crowd like most asian americans that feel embarrassed about their culture.

    Boundaries- As an asian american, there may be challenges and boundaries that we face in our daily lives. For example, in the workplace it is harder to find jobs if you do not speak a certain way.

    Joy- At the end of day, we should be happy that we're Asian Americans just because our grandparents or great grandparents or great great grandparents etc. made it safely to America, giving us the opportunity to be whoever we want to be.

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  17. Guacamole-I like eating at Chipotle. i always get guacamole in my bowl.

    Kung Fu-I used to do Kung Fu. Its annoying when non-Asian races think every Asian can do Kung Fu.

    Taiwanese-I am Taiwanese.

  18. Kung Fu- I played Kung Fu for a few years when i was a child. It was quite interesting.

    Asian- I am an Asian. I was born in Hong Kong.

    Community- The community in here is very different from the community that i lived in Asia .

  19. Chameleon - This words was significatnt to me because it showed the struggle to find her racial identity. It was a relatable word to me, because although I am Korean, I was born in the US, and often times in my opinion, to act American means to act White. It showed the struggle to find a balance between my Korean background and the area I grew up in.

    Pride - This word in general brought up the question, what should I have pride in? To Tsai it meant showing your true colors and showing the nature of who you are and where you and your family came from. This inspired me to be more real with who I am and not worry about the thoughts of others because I am one of the faces of America.

    Community - It is hard to have a clear understanding of where I am coming from. Am I a part of the Korean community, or the American community? It showed that there is always a struggle in trying to explain or define where one might stand being the child of an immigrant.

  20. "Colors",I became aware of my skin color when coming to America years ago. I believe that our skin color variation is simply human genetic variation.

    "Immigrants",I am an immigrant to America from Japan.

    "Cultures",I was amazed that cultures greatly vary from one culture to another culture.

  21. "Chameleon" - This word stood out to me because I can relate. Chameleons change color so they can prevent themselves from being in danger. Sometimes I feel the need to blend in, in order to not be judged.

    "Ghetto" - For some reason, when she used the word "ghetto," I can invision a whole scene in my head. Probably because there are a lot of ghetto areas in San Jose so I can see what she sees.

    "Color" - I'm Asian and my skin color is yellow. To me the word "color" stood out because it's interesting to learn about people who are a different race.

  22. "colors" because we usually look at one's skin color to tell what their ethnicity.

    "immigrant" it just reminds me to my friend who is an immigrant from my home country, Indonesia..But i thinks she is still proud of her home country.

    "community" I think,community is also the one that is really important around us.

  23. "Chameleon" Sometimes when I go to certain areas where a majority of the people there are white I tend to get a lot more stares than I would like. I could tell i totally don't blend in but that's okay, I don't want to anyway.

    "Accents" My grandparents have heavy accents and sometimes when we go out in public they'd rather have me talk to other people for them because they are ashamed of their accents.

    "American" My parents and their siblings along with my grandparents immigrated here from the philippines many years ago and now they are American citizens. American doesn't mean you have to be white or black.

  24. Color- This word stood out to me because people base stereotypes and make judgements about others just because of their color.

    Korean- When she said this word it jumped out to me because i am Korean.

    American - when someone thinks of the word American they imagine blonde hair blue eyes, when in reality being american means us as a whole (different race, color, religions)

  25. Melded - In elementary school, I recall that my teachers often mentioned the phrase, "America is a giant melting pot." However, from Kelly's choice of words, I believe that she prefers all races to be recognized as separate and distinct. She wants Asians to have their own features that set them apart from those of whites and blacks.

    White - While listening to this poem, I felt as if she loathed Caucasians. She refers to them as outsiders and mentions that they, "Cruise away seemingly undisturbed in their shiny cars." She talks in a condescending tone when she describes the "white folk."

    Histories - Kelly heavily relies on events that occurred in the past. She wants people to remember the pain and struggles that the Asian races had to endure before and after they arrived in America. She wants the past hardships to act as a motivator to encourage Asians to have pride in their culture.

  26. "ACCENT"-
    This word is important to me because I have a Filipino accent when I speak English. This caught my attention because I believe that having a foreign accent is one of the problem why several minorities with accents are afraid to speak up. Base on my observation, minorities with accents are often being underestimated and making fun of.

    This is significant because foreignness is the main feeling that I had to deal with when I moved here in America. Although most of the time, I believe that I already assimilated myself in American culture, the ambiguity and the feeling of "foreignness" still haunts me from time to time.

    Its the most popular word choice from the poem because for me, this word sums up the whole poem. I couldn't agree more from the previous comments. We may already decreased the issue about sexism or racism on this modern era, however, we are still facing the problem about the question "Who are Americans?". Everybody should really come into realization that Americans are not just being white or being born here but also everybody who contributes to its culture.

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  28. "Color" - This single adjective can define and invoke common stereotypes associated with race. Black, white, brown or yellow are all linked to a group of attributes (good and bad).

    "American" - Who is this really trying to describe or what does it really mean to be "American"?

    "Refugee" - This is such a strong wrong. To be an immigrant and move to another country by chose is very different than being a refugee forced to leave because of persecution.

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  32. undisturbed- it's ironic how the white folks cruise away undisturbed in her neighborhood, yet in that very same neighborhood there are people seem very disturbed with their own issues. ie- drug users, and in kelly's case her racial identity.

    adopt- also very ironic because i understand adopt as a word that means to become a part of or to choose and take to become ones, however in this whole passage she does not want to become a part of the stereotypical assumptions, so she shouldn't be "adopting" anything such as the suspicion and surprise.

    consciousness- i once remember questioning why people would not stand up for something that is wrong, but then came to realize that sometimes things are automatically embedded in your consciousness that the question of being morally right or wrong does not apply to the situation. if you have been conditioned to believe one thing, it'll be there forever and it will be thought of as appropriate.

  33. gap - things such as race and technology provide us with an excuse to become more distant from those who we assume to not be our equals.

    immigrants - from a white perspective, moving to cupertino and being a minority in school here was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

    values - very hard to preserve and pass down to the generations born here in the states, as i've personally seen with my sister.

  34. Hypocrisy - judging people by their race, color, language, beliefs.. etc. before realizing she was judging herself and setting herself into a category of hypocrisy. I believe everyone in some point in time self expresses hypocrisy.

    Yellow - not necessarily black nor white but in between label at a brown/yellow/tan skinned individual. "we both would understand.." only a yellow person would understand using that word.

    Nationalism - She wishes that the whole country would understand equal rights and not refer american to be only white race. Its only right for equality.

  35. Three words that jump out to me are

    color - by looking at one's skin color, we can tell what their ethnicity, race or background is. Some people prejudge based on first impressions of skin color and they shouldn't because that is the same as judging a book by its cover so to speak.

    community - I think,community is also the one that is really important not just as society but also to help learn more about ones heritage etc.

    Immigrant -I think this is another powerful word because for the most part we all even though we are Americans we can trace our heritages back to another country and we are all forms of immigrants.

  36. Three words that stood out to me while reading this poem are

    Immigrant-I believe almost a lot of people that came to this country are mostly immigrants. For example my parents were immigrants, both worked hard to have what they have now and I look up to them.

    Color-Everyone is of color whether your black, white, yellow, brown, or mixed were all human trying to make a good life here in America. People can sometimes be cruel just because of your skin color. People judge you before they even get to know you as a person.

    Pride-This stood out to me because it means that you are proud of what you are and where you came from, your background (roots). We are all of different heritages and unique in our own way. We should be proud of who we are and what we can accomplish together.

  37. Pinoy- being Filipino myself this word stood out because most people I know view Pinoy as more of a negative connotation. Taking it as something a "FOB" would say. But in this content it was more positive.

    Race Consciousness- This stood out to me because sometimes I am not as conscious of my race. Especially where I live in Milpitas because it is like a melting pot of all different kinds of people.

    Community- stands out because we are all part of different communities that are part of bigger communities. It reminds me that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves.

  38. "struggling" - everyone has their own struggles in life and i think it is important to over come these struggles instead of avoiding them by thinking of the struggle as a challenge and use it as a strength.

    "succeed" - I've been thinking lately about my future. My sister set the bar high by becoming an RN and actually landing a job right away. Being a successful nurse means hard work.

    "values" - Having values defines the person you are. It's important to me because when I think about my values it gives me another reason to keep on going.

  39. Three words that stood out to me were:

    "struggling" - Every person has to deal with their own set of struggles, certain things are harder for different people. But even though the struggles may be long, hard, and make you want to scream, and tare your hair out in the end it might be worth it. Because its the journey makes us stronger and even though things can be hard you have to keep going even with bumps on your road.

    "common" - When people meet for the first time in order to become friends they need to find things in common. But sometimes differences can bring people together as well. Having things in common is always good but sometimes the differences are what makes a great friendship that can even last a lifetime.

    "chameleon" - I always remember trying to fit in wherever I went, mostly it was with school. All the other kids in my class were always so cool and I felt so alone because we were just too different. I was acting like someone I was not I was afraid of turning into them, not being myself. You don't always have to fit in with the crowd being different is cool it just means your unique you have something special, something no one else has. Be yourself, be who you want to be, be proud of who you are whether your White, Black, Asian, Hispanic, or something else never be afraid to stand out.

  40. "yellow" because I'm an Asian American.
    "immigrant" i wasn't born here like most people do. I came here when i was a little. but it doesn't change that fact that's who i am.
    "America" it is a place where you can find any type of people. And that's how amazing it is. But all of us have one thing in common; we're American.

  41. Chameleon- This is something I've had to do all my life. Trying to fit in, not feel different or inferior to anyone else.
    Immigrant- This word has a heavy meaning to me, because although my family is from vietnam, and migrated here, I never thought of my parents as immigrants.
    Color - Used to describe immigrants, this word carried a derogatory meaning, but ironically everyone is colored.

  42. The word "yellow" jumps out at me because I am asian and that word can sometimes be said in a hurtful way.
    "Struggling" was an important word for me because it kind of summaries this poem to me.
    "Value" stood out to me because every community values one thing more than another.

  43. The three words that have stuck out to me were

    "American" Growing up I did not feel that I was American, I'm Filipino and growing up my parents hammered into me the culture and ideals that they grew up with. My parrents only called Caucasians American. My parrents enrolled me into private schools because they said it'd be safer, but for me I kind of felt out of place, bothe my grade schools and high school were prodominantly white.

    "Gap" In high school I always felt like there was a gap between mee and others. My high school was a private school and it happened to be prodominantly white, even on the football team I was one of the only Filipinos on the team, rest being caucasian and african american.

    "Ghetto" Well I wouldn't say I live in a ghetto, but the reason why this word stuck out to me was because people would always call me ghetto because I never followed trends and always wore baggy clothes in high school.

  44. These words stand out to my in the poem:

    “Foreignness” – because I moved from China to Japan and many times in between before I settled down in America in age 8, I felt (and was) foreign no matter where I went. Because of that, I never accepted myself into one culture.

    “Molded” – since I was thrown into three different cultures within 8 years of my life, I was forced to change and accept many things. I sometimes stop and think what kind of person and culture I would have accepted if I weren’t “molded” into who I am today.

    “Undisturbed” – the poem hints that there are ‘outsiders’ who were ‘cruising away undisturbed’, sort of reflecting how I sometimes view my own cultures nowadays. When I drive through the different cultures in my mind, it’s hard to pick one and accept it, so I tend to brush away any thoughts of my own culture and leave my forgotten memories “undisturbed”.

  45. Immigrant- a word that might be controversial.

    Guacamole-this word caught my attention because I am very hunger.

    Chameleon-not a word you hear everyday.