The Chopsticks-Fork Principle: Multiculturalism and Humor

Aired: June 27, 2010
Writer and philosopher Cathy Bao Bean (pictured above) explores how humor can help us make sense of our increasingly diverse world. Based on her popular Horizon Speakers Bureau program “The Chopsticks-Fork Principle” Bean uses her personal experiences as a Chinese immigrant adapting to American life to highlight the philosophical differences between the East and West. The Horizon Speakers Bureau is available to New Jersey nonprofit organizations.

When her family immigrated to the U.S., the only words her sister knew were “Lucky Strike and shut up.” Bean talks about how important humor is in informing our approach to multiculturalism.

Can a positive image still be a stereotype? Bean discusses the model minority stereotype, how it arose and its impact on Asian Americans.

Bean asserts that everyone is at least bi-cultural, in terms of gender and ethnicity. Rather than ignoring one, Bean argues that living with a split identity is not only possible, but fruitful.

Living in New Jersey, one of the most diverse states in the nation, means interacting on a daily basis with people from varying cultures, races, ethnicities and religions. Bean offers her advice on how best to contend with difference.


To Learn More Visit:

  • Horizon Speakers Bureau: The New Jersey Council for the Humanities offers nonprofit organizations in New Jersey the opportunity to host a speaker on topics ranging from New Jersey history to religious studies to public policy.
  • Cathy Bao Bean: Find out more about Bean’s work, where she’ll be speaking and her memoir, The Chopsticks-Fork Principle.
Bookmark and Share
Latest Episodes:
Select an Episode

Join our Email List