hirt that says, ‘I Speak English.’ This makes ironic reference to an American society that at times treats certain minorities differently than the majority culture. This language difference is soon highlighted as the doctor mispronounces the family’s last name and has to be corrected. In other instances, the film seems to parody the attitude that society is overly concerned with ethnicity. For instance, after the doctor tells the family’s mother that one can never be too careful driving, her friend becomes angered and accuses him of ‘straight up racialism’. While such a scene is humorous it underlines a pervasive sense of insecurity that Christopher Wang feels about his Asian roots. Indeed, it seems one of the film’s primary themes is Christopher’s resistance of his ethnicity for an almost hyper-American sensibility; this is a world where basketball is the only acceptable sport and his family’s chosen pursuit of ping pong is more of an embarrassment than a virtue. Other characters in the film express similar challenges. For instance, Christopher’s love interest is writing a dissertation on the exoticization and objectification of Asian Americans. She rejects the Ms. Chinatown contest for this reason. Such stereotypes are exemplified in the clueless public school administrator who panders and condescends to both the Wang family and the Asian reporters covering the ping pong tournament. As the film advances it’s clear that Christopher is slowly coming to terms with his Chinese heritage. While he initially rejected ping pong he comes to accept it as one of his talents and embraces the notion of being a leader to the children in his group. Similarly, he chastises a reporter for the reporter’s ignorance about Chinese culture.
There were a number of notable things I took away from the film. I believe the reason the film is so effective is that rather than attempting to convey a didactic message, it attempts to relay the genuine experience of