Stereotypes in “Hong Kong Nights” by Renford Reese

This storyline is built on the contrast between the Asian and African cultures and how stereotypes about different races affect people’s ability to see others as they are. For example, the Hong Kong natives have prejudice toward Africans. During one of the discussions with frineds, Marshawn says the following about stereotypes: “I’m telling you this for you to understand how cruel people can be to people and how strong stereotypes and traditions are.” Hence, one of the central topics of this book is stereotypical thinking and how this approach negatively affects relations among people. Over the course of the story, Marshawn struggles due to the Hong Kong natives’ stereotypical views of him, his race, and social class because he is often treated unfairly or looked down upon.

Notably, when Marshawn first arrived in Hong Kong, he was annoyed by Dez’s curiosity and the desire to know more about Marshawn, which was similar to that of the customs agent. Trek, on the other hand, had many stereotypes about the African-American culture; for example, he assumed that all African-Americans were athletes and into sports. Moreover, Marshawn faced stereotypes in everyday situations upon his arrival in Hong Kong; for example, at a restaurant, the waitress gave him chopsticks and ran out to bring the other utensils. Upon return, she was surprised by the fact that this African-American managed to eat using chopsticks with ease. Hence, this book points to the many stereotypes and prejudice that people in Hong Kong had toward Marshawn.

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