Contesting Asian-American Identity in Selected Digital Literature Works
The rapid movement and changes in technology have brought great transformations in many aspects. It does not only affect how people live but also their ways of thinking and perceptions. Almost all aspects are transformed into digital, and one of them is literature. The digitalization of literature has used various media, features, and forms. It is also widely known that digital literature has gained popularity nowadays. Teens today spend more time using their gadgets to access online platforms that are visually more appealing than the traditional version. For young people, who mostly use social media in their daily life, digital literature gives them easier access and better visuals. On the other hand, most digital literature works are also free and easy to access. Since digital literature is closely related to young people’s lives, many young writers use social media platforms to express their feelings. Thus, this paper aims to interrogate the issue of the search for identity that is faced by Asian-American teenagers, the impact of the predicament on them, and how they select their identity and define themselves. In investigating those problems, the researchers borrow five social media literature works, “Asian is not My Brand”, “Snippets of Time”, “Clay”, “Not American Enough”, and “Mocking an Asian Accent is Never Funny”, that are taken from the @dearasianyouthliterature Instagram platform. This issue is important to be discussed because the works were written by Asian-American teenagers who experience stereotyping, predicament, and ambivalence. In unveiling the issue of identity, the researchers used descriptive qualitative study and documentation as the data collection method. In addition, Bhabha’s theory on ambivalence, in-betweenness, third space, and hybridity was also used to illuminate the researchers in deconstructing the problem. From these two social media short stories, the researchers find that Asian-American teenagers have to face predicaments and dilemmas because they are seen as not Asian enough to be Asian, as well as not American enough to be American. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that Asian-American teenagers decide to voice the voiceless and embrace and celebrate their Asian-American identity. Lastly, these social media short stories have not been discussed widely by Indonesian researchers; thus, it is a good opportunity to have a scholarly discussion using social media literature works.