From FOB to Fobulous

How Asian Americans are turning an insult upside down.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/margolove/2757511201/">margolove</a>/Flickr

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Getting called a FOB (“fresh off the boat”) used to be the ultimate put-down for Asian Americans. But “FOB blogs” have turned the insult on its head by celebrating FOB-iness—particularly the culture gap between assimilated Asian kids and their parents. Favorite topics include parental quirks such as excessive frugality, unrealistic academic expectations (“So I heard you got into Harvard for graduate school, that is very…uh…adequate”), and ESL malapropisms (“the itchy, bitchy spider went up the water spout”).

Beyond the filial impiety, there’s a streak of pride, says Suzanne Leung, the 25-year-old cocreator of the blog Absolutely Fobulous: “We really see it as embracing our culture. When we say we’re being FOBs, it’s just being true to where we come from.” Teresa Wu, the 21-year-old behind My Dad Is a FOB and My Mom Is a FOB, says that “Being a FOB’s kid is cool.” She’s learned to take condiment packages from restaurants and “judges prospective husbands for their height, majors, and wealth,” something that may sound familiar to anyone with an immigrant relative, whether it’s a Chinese mom or a Jewish bubbe.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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