While reading and discussing Donald Duk, I began to think about Donald’s resentment towards his parents and others in the novel for failing to Americanize themselves in the way that Donald believes they should. This frustration seemed familiar to me — I’ve seen it in several discourses surrounding minority identity. Specifically, I’ve often seen people arguing that, in order to fully assimilate into and be accepted by American culture, one must avoid acting in any way that fulfills stereotypes set against their minority group. Many more believe there is a set way that one must act as they also further the problematic belief that every individual in a minority group represents the minority group as a whole. Often, I have noticed that this means a person belonging to a minority internalizes a belief that the only way to act in a non-stereotypical manner is to act in a way that conforms to and squashes behavior that threatens the dominant culture. I think Donald illustrates the way this internalized fear of being stereotyped or seen as “other” can lead to repulsion, frustration and embarrassment towards the culture, heritage and community that attracts the ridicule in the first place.
More Thoughts on Donald Duk — Identity and Frustration