.. burdens and pressures that the younger/present generations have to interrogate themselves with doubt. Some younger generations overcame this pressure and honor their identities; some assimilate and adopt them well; however, many opted for to live in ignorance and self-hated. There are many Chinese who feel that one either have to adopt one culture or the other, which, in an inherent manner, carries disadvantage into the white society is considered selling out, while completely adopting the Chinese culture could bid the student a trick. The different reaction of being Chinese American runs the complete extent or range from complete assimilation to compromise. There are many Chinese Americans who inflexibly and unfalteringly advocate complete assimilation. They feel that the two cultures are incompatible and mutually exclusive, and that growing up in a western exclusively counteracts a person’s attempt to be Asian. Many people expressed this nostalgic feeling, because they speak English as their primary language, and they grew up in the United States.
However, it seemed that most of the Chinese Americans, just as other Asian or ethnic groups might face, are unwilling to consent the facts about their own origin: “The struggle for identity is particularly acute for some children because their home life is steeped in Confucian values – such as the emphasis on the family, respect for authority and learning. They also are burdened by the model minority myth that they should be superachievers. So hot is the issue among Asian Americans that it has given rise to studies, movies and an array of programs designed to help the young explore their identities. In recent years, teenagers from New York and Boston to San Francisco and Los Angeles have formed leadership groups and held forums at which they learn about their history and share common experiences.” ” .. It was through soul-searching that Chan realised not only that she was a unique product of both cultures, but also that her values differed from those of her parents.
Her definition of personal success, for example, is based on her ability to positively affect people’s lives, rather than status or how much money she can earn. ‘I guess everybody goes through this whether you’re Asian or not, Chan said of her identity search. But if you are Asian, you’re forced to face the issue of culture.'” – Cultural Balancing Act Adds to Teen Angst, JULIE TAMAKI, LATimes.com However, good news are that not ALL the Chinese Americans are accused of being ungrateful of their own identities and the facts that they are who they are. One of the examples of the 3rd generation Chinese claimed that he had regretted his early idea of excluding himself to his own ethic identity of being Chinese as a youngster is Eddie Tang: ” .. When I was younger – all I wanted was Big Macs and G.I. Joe figurines.
I distinctly remember saying that I hated Chinese food. I just wanted to eat the good stuff – French-fries, burgers, and apple pie. But as college neared I realized that I was Chinese – and that Chinese food was good after all. I began to learn the value of Chinese culture: it’s stories, history and society. But it was too late.
The conflict between my two selves had left the American self as the victor. My chance to be truly Chinese had vanished and with it my ability to interpret much of the Chinese culture I partake of now .. I only ask myself: What if I had been more Chinesey as a kid? Would I have been better off now? But now I am some kind of weird compilation of Americana and quasi-Chineseness. I suppose being Chinese-American to me means trying to recapture my Chinese self. The conflict left that side of me wounded and badly lacking.
The guilt is chasing after me to find it again and nurse it back to health. .. to understand what went on in my ancestor’s lives as well as learn about the people of my community but ultimately it is to learn about myself. I really think that a concerted effort such as this will allow me an entrance back into my Chinese self .. For me Chinese American means too much American and not enough Chinese.
The conflict’s aftermath is led by guilt and now a stronger desire to regain balance. This dichotomy of being Chinese and American has eluded me most of my life – I’ve pretty much just been American all my life. Chinese American denotes two worlds in one. But being Chinese American is such a broad spectrum. .. it includes people who are recent immigrants, second generation, or descendants of earlier immigrants. For all of these Chinese Americans there is more or less of the Chinese or American depending on their background.
But now I am searching for my own fine line and my own mixture of the Chinese and the American and the understanding of being both. That term, Chinese American signifies a chase to me, a chase for my lost Chinese soul.” – “What does Being Chinese American Mean to Me”, Eddie Tang Along with rebelling against their own elders, most of the young Chinese Americans abandon their identities due to some pressures that they had when they were younger. However, as with all labels, the term ‘Chinese American’ may sometimes stamp and generalizes a person, but one should believe that with this label comes an natural force that binds you to your obligations and the courses of action demanded by that force to learn about one’s own culture. Therefore, regardless of what the younger generations believes, they have an obligation to themselves to learn about the Chinese culture before dismissing it completely. Some people believe that the two worlds are mutually exclusive, whereas they should find the western culture and Oriental cultures to be compatible when these two cultures are examined equally, they contribute to the progress or growth of many of the same values, such as hard work and perseverance.
Unfortunately, there are still some people who cannot see past the Asian features and consider Chinese Americans foreigners, but there are also Chinese who feel that ‘Chinese Americans’ are ‘sell-outs.’ For some, both of these camps represent views that are too uncompromising and narrow. Ultimately, if a person decides to celebrate one culture and exclude the other, they should understand that they are denying a part of who they really are. So, wake up, the lost ones! Bibliography – “Angel Island, Jewel of San Francisco Bay”, Francis J. Clauss, 1982. Briarcliff Press, Inc. Menlo Park, California.
– “Cultural Balancing Act Adds to Teen Angst”, JULIE TAMAKI, http://www.latimes.com/HOME/NEWS/REPORTS/ASIANS/pa rt2.1.htm – Documents on Anti-Chinese Immigration Policy , Archives of the West http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/wpages/wpgs670/chi nxact.htm.