We affectionately call each other a “fob” when we speak ungrammatically, watch anime, or even eat chicken feet for Dim Sum, but at one point in the past, the term “F.O.B.” had been derogatory.
When the term F.O.B. was first coined in the 1980s, it was used as a racist and derogatory term to describe a person with an ethnically diverse background, specifically to those who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from another country.
F.O.B., which stands for “Fresh Off the Boat,” was a term to stereotype immigrants and those of “foreign” descent. It was also used to describe those who had not yet assimilated to American culture.
However, the term has taken on a vastly different connotation, one that is endearing and tongue-in-cheek. Those of us with immigrant parents can now embrace our differences in culture and language, and can now feel proud of our roots and what makes us different from everyone else.
The term F.O.B. has transformed into the term “fob,” which is a term to describe something, essentially, “super-Asian.” The pronunciation has also changed, from pronouncing the letters as an acronym to pronouncing it as an actual word. With the change in pronunciation, the meaning has also evolved.
The websites mymomisafob.com and mydadisafob.com are filled with humorous photos, messages, and sayings that are dedicated to “fobby” moms and dads. The entries can be submitted by anyone, and the websites have garnered popularity and attention from within the Asian American community.
The websites were established in October of 2008 by Serena Wu, a recent graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and Teresa Wu, a senior at U.C. San Diego.
Defending the term “fob,” Teresa Wu has said:
We think our moms and dads are awesome; we’re not embarrassed by them. Maybe they can’t speak perfect English, but the things they do are so lovable that we just want to share them.
The websites are a way of showing off pride in your fobby parents, and for relating to one another the humorous and endearing things that parents say and do; Asian Americans growing up with immigrant parents can share their stories and express their affections and bond over their experiences with their fobby yet lovable parents.
By: Karen Lee