Performing Foreignness in the Motherland (a comic)

Christina Xu
Jul 19, 2016 · 1 min read

Art by Wendy Xu (no, we are not related )

Even though I’ve lived in the U.S. for over 20 years, someone’s always asking me where I’m “from from.” So when I embarked on my nine week trip to do fieldwork in China, I thought that passing as a local would feel like a refreshing change of pace. Instead, I quickly realized that being read as foreign had its own perks: people are more curious and open towards foreigners, more forgiving of blunders and dumb questions. The same locals who brushed me off for being a clueless weirdo swarmed white expats for their exotic appeal.

For the first time in my life, I wanted to cash in my foreigner points, too…

This comic is the conclusion to a dead-tree zine I made as part of Multi Entry, an exploration of life in modern China from a Chinese-American perspective. The introduction is online here. If you want to read the other 28 pages in between, you can get a copy here.

Multi Entry

Part of a decentralized collection of stories and media about the creative young people of modern mainland China and the culture they’re creating.

Christina Xu

Written by

Freelance ethnographer/writer thinking about online and offline communities, translation, and social uses of technology.

Multi Entry

Part of a decentralized collection of stories and media about the creative young people of modern mainland China and the culture they’re creating.

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