The phrases Fresh off the boat (FOB), Off the boat (OTB), Banana boat (BB), or just simply Boat are terms used to describe immigrants that have arrived from a foreign nation and have not yet assimilated into the host nation's culture, language, and behaviour, but still continue with their ethnic ideas and practices. Within some ethnic Asian circles in the United States, the phrase is considered politically incorrect and derogatory. It can also be used to describe the stereotypical behavior of new immigrants as, for example, their poor driving skills, that they are educated yet working low-skilled or unskilled jobs, and their use of broken English. The term originates in the early days of immigration, when people mostly migrated to other countries by ship. "Fresh off the Boeing" (in reference to the Boeing 747 jet) is sometimes used in the United States as a variation, especially amongst south and south-east Asian immigrants.
In the sociology of ethnicity, this term can be seen as an indicator of a nature of diasporic communities, or communities that have left their country of origin and migrated, usually permanently, to another country. The term has also been adapted by immigrants themselves or others in their community who see the differentiation as a source of pride, where they have retained their culture and have not lost it to assimilation. In fact, instead of taking this harm-intended phrase as an insult, many immigrants and more specifically, East and South Asians (especially their American-born children) may use this term to describe their cultural background habits and fashion sense, for example "fobby clothing", "fobby glasses", "fobby accent", and others.
In some instances, an "ethnic community" may find it difficult to assimilate with their new culture. Although some try to assimilate, they may fail due to the very swift transition to the host continent. In the United Kingdom "fresh off the boat" (mostly in regard to Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis) are referred to as freshies or simply FOBs. And in the United States, they are referred to as F.O.B. or in some cases, "Boater." This is usually a pejorative term.
In popular culture
- Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir book by Eddie Huang
- Fresh Off the Boat (TV series) of 2015
- FOB (play) by David Henry Hwang