Constance Wu got raw about the experience so many children of immigrants share.
The actress, who’s in the upcoming movie “Hustlers,” sat down with “The Off Camera Show” and recounted a childhood memory in which a teacher wrongly accused her of plagiarism while she was in middle school. Though the experience deeply affected her, she explained that she never told her parents for a reason that may sound familiar to many from immigrant families.
“There’s this weird thing that happens with kids of immigrants,” Wu said. “In a strange way, sometimes you feel like you have to protect them from the things that they don’t understand.”
Wu explained on the show that a teacher believed she had copied the paper, telling her that she “was not good enough to have written this.”
“The truth wasn’t enough,” the actor said.
The instructor then looked up all of Wu’s sources and later brought the student up to her other teachers to question whether they felt her capable of producing such writing. The only teacher who said, with conviction, that Wu was “good enough” to have written the paper was her drama teacher.
Wu added that she wasn’t going to risk putting her parents in a situation where they’d be treated poorly as well.
“My parents, while they are very educated ... his spoken accent is very strong and he has a softer voice. ... this woman is already thinking that I’m dumb and I’m not good enough. I’m not going to let her think that about my parents just because they talk differently,” she said.
Wu noted that, even early on, she understood why people would treat her parents differently, despite their mastery of the English language and their education. In the U.S., she said, “you think that your baseline is the baseline from which anybody else is a deviation and is like absurd and weird.”
“You have to get out of the box of saying, like, there is one normative standard, and you have to just open your mind to just thinking that, even though you physically are the center of your experience, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other experiences that don’t center you.”