Literary Hub

Matt Ortile on His Early Education in the Model Minority Myth

This week on The Maris Review, Matt Ortile joins Maris Kreizman to discuss his book, The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I’ve Made about Race, Resistance, and Romance, out now from Bold Type Books.

On earning his place in this country:

Maris Kreizman: One of the things you’re very clear about in your author bio and in the first page of your book is exactly how to pronounce your last name.

Matt Ortile: Thank you for saying it correctly here on the podcast. I’ve had a very long journey with my name. Coming to the United States, it’s not something folks have found easy to pronounce… As an Asian American immigrant kid, I didn’t want to talk back. The instinct was to just let it happen, not cause a fuss. Because you are already here as a permanent alien, or as a resident alien. You’re here on papers that could easily be taken away. It was an early education in the model minority myth that I had to be silent but also excellent in order to prove my worth to earn my place in this country.

*

On how Americana informs his style:

Matt Ortile: So much of my style is informed by Americana—my penchant for suits and tailoring, the really put-together aesthetic. It’s great when people respond well to it, I think I look good in it. But at the same time that taste level was really cultivated by an aspiration to whiteness as a kid. That’s how I would try to keep up with my white classmates, with my wealthier classmates. I grew up in the era where it was double popping your Hollister polos. I worked at Abercrombie Kids (I wasn’t a white male model so I didn’t work at Abercrombie & Fitch) because I was good with parents. My eloquence was valued in that way, rather than my visual aesthetic. I’m a skinny brown boy, I wasn’t Marky Mark.

__________________________________

Matt Ortile is the managing editor of Catapult. His writing has been published by BuzzFeed, Into, Self, and Out, among others. He lives in Brooklyn.

Recommended Reading:

H Is For Hawk by Helen McDonald · Mourning Diary by Roland Barthes

Interesses relacionados

Mais de Literary Hub

Literary HubLeitura de 6 mins
We Need to Treat Artists as Workers, Not Decorations
Art and money: the great taboo. Art, we’ve been taught to believe, has nothing to do with money, must have nothing to do with money, is defiled by contact with money, is degraded by the very thought of money. Those ideas, articles of faith today, are
Literary HubLeitura de 3 mins
Zephyr Teachout: Has the Entire American Economy Become Monopolized?
The coronavirus pandemic is dramatically disrupting not only our daily lives but society itself. This show features conversations with some of the world’s leading thinkers and writers about the deeper economic, political, and technological consequenc
Literary HubLeitura de 2 mins
WATCH: Jazz Pianist Marcus Roberts Get the Blues and Talks Musical Influences
This episode continues our video series at Lit Hub to benefit the wonderful Mighty Writers, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that teaches reading and writing to thousands of low-income and marginalized students every year and is seeing more need than