An open letter from Michael Luo to the Woman who Told my Family to go Back to China

Dissecting the Letter

By dissecting the letter into its component components, it is possible to comprehend the author's standpoint, subject, intended readership, and goal. The author's stance in the letter is revealed by the rhetorical analysis, which is examined in depth. An extensive analysis of the target group and the intended message is then conducted. At the conclusion of the analysis, the letter's intent and effect are determined.

Michael Luo's Message

Michael Luo wrote a combative and fairly straightforward message to the alleged American woman who yelled at his family to return to China. Understandable letter of a frustrated citizen. Reading on the surface, the letter illustrates how Michael was frustrated and distressed with the woman’s words that bite him so hard like a scorpion’s sting. The author takes a complex author position since his message is open to many audiences and takes many angles in delivering his message (Luo n.p.). The words used by the woman act like slow poison in Michael’s conscience, and it troubles him since the author was born and has lived in American all his lifetime. Looking at the letter critically it is evident that Michael's intention is to show the woman how wrong she might be for insulting his family given that they are equally bona fide Americans. The author takes a complex author stance to address all the concerns of his audience in a strategic and straightforward way. When analyzed based on the rhetorical criteria used by the author, a dual audience situation emerges because the author takes an open stance which targets both the woman and other characters who might have a similar behavior like the woman in the letter.

Target Audience

Considering Michaels target audience, it is clear that the letter is primarily targeted at the woman who insulted her family. At the conclusion of the audience when the author's wife responds to her daughter's letter, it is the complex rhetorical situation is clear as it shows that it is directed to all racist people in America. First, he targets to show the woman how her message affected him emotionally and psychologically making the women the primary audience (Tsurumi 35-36). The second audience targeted by the author is the general public and the racist Americans who unjustly abuse and mistreat foreigners. The structure of the letter is in such a way that it is designed to discourage racial discrimination at all levels of the society based on the continuous and repetitive use of “we” that can refer to the author and his family, the Chinese community or other immigrants (Luo n.p.). The author still refocuses his later to a larger audience by using the word “we” meaning the larger Asian American community that has suffered in the hand of racists like the woman in question. Generally, the author directly mentions all the parties involved in the racist remarks which the letter has been written purposely to rebuke (Tsurumi 32). The author continues writing the personalized messages to the woman but still maintains contact with his other audience by referring to his schoolyard taunts, disturbing street encounters. Due to the focus of the letter to an open audience, the author still adopts a complex rhetorical position to pass his message to his audience. As the primary author, he maintains the use of the first person throughout the letter to emphasize his experience and create a confrontational tone in the letter (Luo n.p.). The confrontational tone is emphasized through the author’s illustration of his actions and statements to the women. However, the first person in the letter is also used to denote confrontation to racists in the country.

Topic: Condemning Racism

The letter thus integrates complex structure in delivering the topic of the paper, and the author speaks on behalf of “others” in the sense that the others can refer to the Asian-Americans or African-Americans who are unjustly being discriminated against as illustrated in paragraphs 5 and 6 (Luo n.p.). The author speaks of the whole Asian community when he writes this letter and takes keen attention to address the issue of racial discrimination from a personal perspective. He then shifts his attention to the Chinese people in paragraph 6 and 7 by protesting that no matter how they try they will always be discriminated as foreigners despite being Americans. The letter goes ahead to give a brief history about how the Chinese people found their way to the United States and the achievements that they have attained in the country. The author further draws attention to the active fight against racial discrimination and xenophobia in paragraph 8 by showing the online support that his tweets received. It is clear in the paragraph that people are against racism as he terms the support and consolation he received in the social media as gratifying (Luo n.p.). He shows the support from other segments of good willing Americans, but he expresses his worry about his children’s feeling since they can be young to understand the real weight of the statement, “go back to China” it is painstaking to explain racism to a young child (Luo n.p.). The other fear is concerned with the radicalization of the young minds by poisoning them with racist statements. Writing and aligning his frustrations with the online community helps in bringing the matter to the attention of the society and eliciting the required condemnation of the woman’s actions to accomplish the purpose of the letter.

Purpose: Condemning Racism and Xenophobia

The primary purpose for penning the letter is to condemn and rebuke the issue of racism and xenophobia and to highlight the psychological and social implications of the vice; the author extends his message to the general American public by taking a complex author position. He goes further to support his claims by referring to the social media and what experiences his friends have had in the past. The letter further goes ahead and criticizes the racist remarks through equating the quality of life of the superficial Native Americans and the so-called immigrants who should go back to their home. His approach of criticism focuses on the author mentions that probably the women might be a parent in the school his daughter might be studying meaning that there is no significant difference between them (Tsurumi 33). He further attributes the remarks to the feeling of many Americans about immigrants and the political incitement that has changed the way Americans view immigrants. The collectivity employed in the letter achieves its purpose as the author can elicit social media support in condemning racism and finally finds a way to neutrally inform young children like his daughter on the real implications of racism and how different people think about it.


In conclusion, the intention of the author in this letter is to express his personal feelings to racism and discrimination and the need for the general public to denounce the vice something that he accurately expresses in the letter. The letter achieves its purpose as it reaches out to a number of audiences serving the purpose of an open letter.

Works Cited

Luo, Michael. "An Open Letter to the Woman Who Told My Family to Go Back to China."The New York Times 9 Oct 2016: online.

Tsurumi, Andrea." Understanding Rhetorical Context." New York: LaunchPadsolo, 2016.

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price