Reexamining the “Embarrassing Uncle” of Asian American Lit Tara Fickle and Shawn Wong discuss the controversy around Aiiieeeee!
The anthology’s editors—Frank Chin, Jeffery Paul Chan, Lawson Fusao Inada, and Shawn Wong—wanted to establish the Asian American literary canon.
This canon would amplify the silenced voices of Asian American writers (initially defined only as Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino Americans born in the United States) and reclaim cultural space taken up by yellowface Charlie Chan–type shit as well as assimilationist works from more popular Asian American writers.
“If the reader is shocked,” the editors wrote, “it is due to his own ignorance of Asian America.
Wong said the editors tried to correct the narrow definition of “Asian American” in a sequel called The Big Aiiieeeee!