One of the things that makes me laugh is hearing an Asian that speaks like a local and has developed a regional American accent.
This isn't a sign of disrespect, on the contrary. I consider it a sure sign of assimilation and that the speaker has worked hard at learning the language.
I have heard Asians speak in Boston and New Jersey accents, but the one that made me grin the broadest was a guy about thirty that looked like he was born in Japan yet spoke with a West Texas drawl.
It just didn't seem to fit, yet it did fit, it fit him perfectly as the rest of his mannerisms were totally Texan.
I've also seem a number of immigrants hop on the Americanna wagon and get with the program of being an American. Some time ago I met an Indian born businessman that had located himself in Texas and had simply looked around, opened his eyes and gotten with the local program.
When I met him in Mobile, Alabama he was dressed like a stereotype Texan, hat, boots, western suit, big belt buckle and string tie. He looked like a well dressed Texas businessman. He was also drinking bourbon.(What else?)
I asked him about it and commented that he looked foreign born yet had adapted well. His answer made me pretty pleased to have him as a new fellow citizen.
Now if you are a regular reader you know my curiosity overcomes any shyness I might have and I am not too afraid to ask people questions. I asked him about his manner of dress when it seemed he was foreign born.
He looked at my face and immediately knew I was not trying to be insulting and explained to me that when he came to this country he came here to be an American and not a displaced Indian.
He had opened a business in Texas and embraced his new country and decided to leave his Indian heritage behind and adopt his new country. He simply became an American from Texas.
He also told me that he thinks he made the right move because he told me that he seems to have opened a few doors with his attitude. He reported that there were a number of the Good Old Boys that have accepted him and regularly give him their business because of his attitude. He's successful and I respect him for it.
I asked him if his wife had adapted and he grinned broadly and told me she dressed like June Cleaver around the house. I laughed outright. I'll bet his wife is a great hostess and compliments his business. Of course, I pictured a dusky skinned June Cleaver with a prayer dot, but I'd bet she fits right in.
I asked him if he still ate Indian dishes at home and he admitted that he did sometimes but had really learned to like Tex-Mex dishes and said that he figured it just added to his list of things that he liked to eat.
I gave him a good natured dig by asking him if he drove a powder blue Licncoln with big horns on the hood and little six-guns for door handles and he laughed outright.
"Fix it as cheap as you can, Son. We're trading this one in as soon as the ash tray gets filled!" he replied, and I laughed. Then he told me he did, in fact, own a pickup because it was handy for his business.
I like people like him and I'd just bet that the people he meets in Texas like him too because he is one of those people that adapted instead of trying to make everyone else around him adapt to him.
Texans think they are different, but they are not. Like everyone else they expect newcomers to do things the way they do and they do not like being pushed into doing things the way someone else from somewhere else does them.
I asked him why he chose to set up shop in Texas as opposed to somewhere else and the answer I got surprised me. He told me he wanted to raise his family where his children were expected to be polite.
Having met quite a number of young people from Texas, I'd say he got that one right.
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