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Mona In The Promised Land

by Gish Jen

Whether you pride yourself on being constantly politically correct or conversely you grind your teeth at every politically correct statement, read this and smile. It's absurd, it's funny and will leave you spinning in whatever direction you choose.

Extract

'This is Sherman' says Mrs Mandeville. 'Hello,' Mona says 'Non how a,' Mona says. She's glad Barbara Guglestein isn't there to see her Chinese in action. 'Jin-nu,' she says, 'Shee-veh.' Later Mona finds out that Sherman's mother asked if there were any other Orientals in his grade. She had him put in Mona's class on purpose. For now, he looks at her as though she's much stranger than anything else he's seen so far. Is this because he understands she's saying soy sauce rice gruel to him, or because he doesn't? 'Shah-man,' he says finally. Mona looks at his schedule card. Sherman Matsumoto. What kind of name is that for a nice Chinese boy?(Later on, people ask her how she can tell Chinese from Japanese. She shrugs. It's the kind of thing you just kind of know, she says. Oy!)

Parallels

How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
 

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