Journal 1: Read to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Losing My Innocence,” (attached) and respond to the following prompt questions in 250 words.
Prompt: Coates describes his neighborhood as “a world apart” from that “other world” he witnessed on television, in particular the world that belonged to the idealized white, middle-class, suburban family of Mr. Belvedere, a popular television sitcom at the time: “There were little white boys with complete collections of football cards, and their only want was a popular girlfriend and their only worry was poison oak. That other world was suburban and endless, organized around pot roasts, blueberry pies, fireworks, ice cream sundaes, immaculate bathrooms, and small toy trucks that were loosed in wooded backyards with streams and glens” (par.4). Reflect on how television, film, books, YouTube, and other media have opened up worlds for you, as the sitcom Mr. Belvedere did for the young Coates. Think of one or two examples of other worlds you have witnessed through the media and the impressions you have of them. For example, do you think the other worlds represented in the media are real and attainable or just fantasy? Lastly, Coates explains, “I felt, but did not yet understand, the relation between that other world and me.” What do you fell and understand about the relation between the world in which you live and the other worlds you see in the media?
Journal 2: Read Lily Wong’s essay “Eating the Hyphen” (attached) and respond to the two sets of questions that follow in 250 words.
A) Take a moment to reflect on the title of this essay. What does Wong mean by “eating the hyphen”? How do you define what this phrase means? And how does this title preview the larger argument Wong is making in this essay?
B) Reflecting on what she sees as the “contradictions” within her own experiences as an eater, Wong wrestles with the question of how to define truly “authentic” Chinese or American food? Do you have a standard for measuring the “authenticity” of a given food? Do you think such a standard is necessary? Why or why not?