Study Guide

How I Got That Name Race

By Marilyn Chin

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And there I was, a wayward pink baby,
named after some tragic white woman
swollen with gin and Nembutal. (17-19)

Marilyn Monroe is the "tragic white woman" the speaker refers to in these lines. By describing her as "white," the speaker calls attention to race: Marilyn Monroe's white, but the speaker isn't.

Indeed, they can use us.
But the "Model Minority" is a tease. (41-42)

The speaker's reference to the "Model Minority" here highlights how racial minorities in America are often stereotyped. Chinese-Americans especially are presented as the "model minorities" who do everything right. This stereotype is misleading, according to the speaker.

She was neither black nor white (82)

The speaker's talking about herself in the third person here. As Asian, she is in fact neither "black" nor "white," the two dominant races in America. She's something in between the two—and this suggests how as an Asian immigrant she doesn't easily fit into the dominant racial categories.

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