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Chiufang Hwang, M.D. was born in Taiwan but came to the United States as a toddler so her father could pursue a PhD. Usually the only Asian kid on the block growing up in Columbia, South Carolina, Chiufang was outwardly shy but inwardly eager to absorb the culture of her adopted country. It wasn’t until she met Janine that Chiufang would identify her own inner-American by embracing the melting pot of cultures she encountered.
“I was the token Asian and happy to hang with any kids willing to have me. And the one who embraced me more than anyone was Janine. Janine was my best friend in grade school. She was my protector. And in many ways she was also my mentor, tutoring me on the ways of American culture in general and black culture specifically—how to take an attitude, how to talk, how to dance, how to have swagger … the latter not an easy thing when you’re barely four feet tall. Even though I only lived in Columbia a short time, it was a seminal time, and Janine was front and center.”
Finding Janine describes Chiufang’s journey to discover what it means to be American, offering a unique perspective on how our country’s greatest cultural strength is its ability to embrace and assimilate the ethnic diversity that has been part and parcel of our history from the beginning.