Eddie Huang, author of The New York Times’ bestselling memoir “Fresh Off the Boat,” spoke at Scripps College’s Garrison Theater on Tuesday, Nov. 15, about food, politics, and race.
His book, which comments on race and integrating into American society, was inspired by his personal experience as a Taiwanese-American. Published in 2003, it has been turned into a widely-watched ABC sitcom.
Educated as a lawyer, Huang had his first success as a chef with his New York restaurant Bauhaus. He has hosted several food-themed television programs and is currently the host of “Huang’s World” on Vice TV.
Huang showcased his humor the moment he stepped on stage. Looking into the audience, he said, “I thought this was a women’s college!” and the whole crowd roared with laughter.
Huang addressed the election of President-elect Donald Trump and the need to respect all minorities and communities.
“For people of all colors, we’re all fragmented. We don’t get to be whole people in this country,” he said. “What you see with Trump […] is he’s preying on the weakness and fear and kind of anger of the white working American class and directing them the wrong way, directing them against others who are just as disenfranchised.”
Huang noted that Trump is turning “the barbarians against each other” and urged people to stand together in solidarity.
He stressed the need to voice disagreement toward people who perpetuate hate, but to do so in a respectful and reasonable manner.
“It has to start at the dinner table. Like, ‘Grandma, you’re crazy,’” Huang said. “You can shoot them down respectfully. [But] reason has to win over. It can’t be hate, fear, or emotion.”
Huang also addressed a more light-hearted topic, dating, a topic brought up in his second memoir, “Double Cup Love.”
He said that when one is dating, it’s important to respect each other’s cultural differences and have empathy to understand their experiences.
Huang’s talk was well-received by students.
“It was the perfect mix of comedy and straight-up reality on the Asian American identity and experience in America,” Meera Kolluri SC ‘20 said.
Audrey Connell SC ‘20, who has a Caucasian dad and a Vietnamese mom, said she related to the struggle of multiethnic relationships.
“I have no idea how my dad related [to] or understood my mom’s experience because she fled Vietnam during the war,” Connell said.