Manager and server at Wo Hop, one of Chinatown’s oldest restaurants still owned by the original family.
“A lot of American-Chinese style of restaurant has closed down. Our business is still doing well, because we’re in the basement. The rent is cheap. And during Christmas, people come back to visit their old neighborhood and remember, I’ve been to Wo Hop. Because after 70 years, we’re still doing the same food.”
The last several paragraphs of the book are revelatory. Davies writes with a rare emotional resonance and a deft sense of structure; it's hard not to be in awe of the way he's composed this complex, beautiful novel. The Fortunes is a stunning look at what it means to be Chinese, what it means to be American, and what it means to be a person navigating the strands of identity, the things that made us who we are, whoever that is.
More specifically, the advent of a growing diversity in the United States, and worldwide, is an important impetus for psychologists, counselors, and other helping professionals to develop competencies to work with these different communities. For the future, diversity is a compelling need which psychologists and helping professionals need to meet. History is an equally important justification and one that is sometimes overlooked or not focused upon because it may be deemed as not relevant to multicultural competencies. Yet history, and a thorough understanding of it as it pertains to diversity and multiculturalism, helps us understand why we are discussing and learning about diverse others at all. As I just noted, the United States has always had diversity and diverse individuals and communities. I believe it would be safe to assume that there were women, racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and gay and lesbian people throughout the history of the United States. What history allows us to understand better is why this diversity is not reflected in our history texts, our cultural knowledge, and our important institutions such as law and education. What we can usually learn from our uncovering of these diverse histories is the ways in which these peoples and communities were segregated, isolated, and marginalized. And the ways in which these diverse communities were disregarded and invalidated helps us to understand how these problems still persist today and how these issues may manifest in an individual’s worldview. For helping professionals, deciphering, uncovering, and then connecting these historical and systemic issues to the client’s presenting concerns, and linking them to how the client will become better, is an integral aspect of multiculturalism. History and an analysis of these dynamics allow us to introduce topics such as privilege, power, exclusion, marginalization, and resilience. All of these topics, which will be covered later in this course, are pertinent in the ways in which know and do not know about culturally diverse others, our biases and stereotypes, and our assumptions in our work within these communities.
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Metters considers himself more in touch with his Chinese heritage than the average American-born Chinese because he visits his mother’s relatives in Taiwan every summer. The City University of New York graduate in political science and Chinese also spent a year on exchange at Peking University in Beijing in 2015 and 2016, and will start his master’s in international public policy at Fudan University in Shanghai this month.