“They’re being told, ‘These people coming in are going to take their jobs’ ― which is not true,” the restaurateur and “Fresh Off the Boat” author said.
Eddie Huang is ready to dismantle the harmful stereotypes and misconceptions surrounding immigrants.
In a recent interview with a National Public Radio station, the restaurateur and author talked about his upcoming unscripted TV show “Cash Only,” which looks at the culture and identity behind immigrant kitchens. Huang said the project’s impetus stems from his desire to change minds about the immigrant experience ― especially during a time when harmful rhetoric on that helps influence the zeitgeist.
“I think Americans are having trouble seeing the immigration issue objectively and with clear eyes when it’s in our backyard,” Huang said on Santa Monica, California-based KCRW. “They’re being told ‘these people coming in are going to take their jobs’ ― which is not true. And they’re afraid these people are going to date their children and become part their families and erode their values and continue the dispossession of whites in America.”
Huang, whose parents are Taiwanese immigrants, will visit immigrant communities in cities across the world on his new show. He told Variety he’s taking a look at working-class populations, including those in Russia’s Central Asian community and North Africans living in Sicily.
Through the show, he told KCRW, he hopes to fight for “global opportunity and mobility” while also helping viewers understand the immigrant experience.
“I think through this show, by traveling around the world, and by seeing how immigrants are treated and used and abused around the world, [others] might develop some empathy,” he said. “Every single city in every country in every continent around the world has an immigrant population doing… jobs that they don’t want to do.”
Huang, whose book Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir inspired the popular ABC-TV series, stressed that too often, people see immigration as a zero-sum game ― that one culture loses with the addition of another. But this attitude stems in part from an inability to “examine one’s privilege,” he said. He added that in actuality, “There is enough to go around.