I like being a cowboy because you have that image of you being the tough man in this cruel world. Bruce is a Chinese student who became a cowboy after moving to Texas for school. We traveled to Lubbock to learn how, and why, Bruce made this transformation. This is a story about fitting in, and what it means to feel American. My name is Bruce and this is Untold America. When I first came to the States, I didn’t have a Southern accent. I’m from Kunming, Yunnan, southwest China. I learned my Southern accent mostly by watching Duck Dynasty. I’m fixin’ to go crazy redneck up in here. And Jeff Foxworthy’s videos. If your richest relative buys a new house, and you have to help take the wheels off of it, you might be a redneck. And that inspired Bruce to start his own YouTube channel to teach others to speak just like him. How do people usually respond when they see you, this Chinese cowboy with a Southern accent? Well, depending on where they meet me, it gets really interesting. Bruce fully immersed himself in cowboy culture by working on a cattle ranch. This is James, and he’s my cowboy mentor. He taught me how to ride a horse, how to take care of the cattle. The first time I talked to Bruce over the phone, and he had that real Southern accent on him. I was like, woah. They had told me that he was Oriental. And when I talked to him over the phone, he didn’t sound like it. And when I met him I was like, OK. Bruce has taught me how to be patient to where, when it comes to talking to other ethnic groups. ‘Cause I usually never would, never ever, even talk to them. The first time he went on the horse, the next day, he couldn’t move a single muscle in his body. He was sore. He was so sore he got scared that he thought he needed to go to the doctor. Like, kung fu training involves a lot of yelling and screaming, and same thing with, I guess, cowboy training too. He comes from China. And to learn the Southern way, that’s real impressive. You’re the most motherf*cking Texan guy I know, dude. Thank you sir, thank you sir. This guy is out here actually, you know, interacting with the… –With the locals.
–With the local culture. I’m just trying to be one of y’all and deceive everybody. Bruce is one of more than 15,000 students from China studying in Texas. But he might be the only cowboy. It seemed like Bruce went through some rough or dark times with his identity. He asked me to take him to shop for boots, because he wanted to be a cowboy. And at that time he started having an accent, and really tried to wrap himself up in this new cowboy identity. In ways I think maybe his cowboy identity helps him fit in, not feeling like there’s prejudice against him. But his identity is unusual. Do you think people treat you differently because you have a Southern accent versus, say a Chinese-accented English? Well, I think yes, especially at the beginning stage. ‘Cause you think about the stereotypes about Asian people, like we’re smart and geeky. And it’s like the polar opposite of rednecks. Have you experienced racism in the time you’ve been in the U.S.? I’d say, no. ‘Cause say, compared to y’all Asian Americans, who grew up over here, I bet that’s a very different experience. But growing up in China, racism is one of the least things that I encounter. In what ways? It just, as times go by, a lot of stuff I saw as a kid in China just became… Why I like things like rednecks, cowboys, this kind of stuff, I think maybe also has something to do with my homesickness. Do I want to stay in the U.S? There’s a lot of yes’s. I got myself so much into the cultural and even social aspect of America, and it’s not something that I can just pack up and go home and never look back. I do consider Bruce a Texan. For what he has learned, it’s in his blood. ‘Cause if he ever goes back to China, he’s gonna miss Texas. He’ll be back. Hi partners. Thanks for checking my story. Watch this other video of another Texan that’s from China on Untold America.