The Struggle of Asian-Americans for Financial Prosperity and Social Inclusion within the Borders of the United States
As it is known, the American nation strongly stands for such values of human rights and equal opportunities for every individual. This idea presumes creating favorable and friendly conditions for all ethnic minorities. Hence, as the history reveals the US society and its government have not always been hospitable for the newcomers. African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans had to struggle to obtain equal social position and attitude. This paper researches the path of the latter minority group. Estimating the history of Asian-Americans, one should stress that this group comprises a number of nations (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, etc.). This project is constructed on collecting the primary data by conducting eye-to-eye interview. The sample is represented with a member of the Asian-American ethnic group who is capable of revealing the first-hand information about political, economic, and socio-cultural changes that comply with the personal growth in the US society. The interviewed person is a Chinese-American female, Judy Hu, who came to the United States to study during late 80s. Thus, it is appropriate to stress that this survey is focused on studying the history of the Chinese-Americans, --the biggest Asian minority who were the first to come to the American land in the 18th century. The purpose of this research is to provide an insight about the impressive achievements of Chinese-Americans that occurred for the last 2-3 decades, identify the challenges that inhibited this process, and strengths that encouraged these people to continue struggle for a better life.
To be more precise, this study aims to acquire primary evidence about political, economic, social, and cultural realms that affected the lives of Chinese-Americans at different historical stages making an emphasis on the last decades that reveal significant positive breakthrough. Moreover, this goal of this survey is to collect primary and secondary data from credible resources, which is reflected in the design of this research. Specifically, it is a qualitative research that is supposed to compare the first-hand information with the insights that are derived from valid sources with the purpose to establish the patterns of development of Chinese-Americans. This approach is deployed to illustrate the above-discussed struggle helping readers to observe it simultaneously from a small, individual perspective as well as from a larger, state level viewpoint.
Observing the implications of the Asian-American history, it is appropriate to point out that in the modern United States “Asian Americans are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group” (“The Rise of Asian Americans”). In overall, this ethnic group is known to be more satisfied with their financial and social position. Given this peculiarity, it is not surprising that this minority lives a happier, less anxious and more relaxed life than other ethnic groups. Without a doubt, this tendency is favorable for developing and maintaining strong family values, which are reflected in putting great value in marriage relations and parenthood.
Moreover, the today’s Asian-Americans are well-educated. Consider the statistics, according to the Pew Research Center “more than six-in-ten (61%) adults ages 25 to 64 who have come from Asia in recent years have at least a bachelor’s degree” (“The Rise of Asian Americans”). It is natural to suggest that living in the culture that highly praises education reveals two important premises. The first is that Asian-Americans currently possess enough financial means to obtain college degree, which implies to their stable financial position. The second premise is a prediction that good education will be deployed to ensure further enrichment and personal growth.
In other words, Asian-American minority is not a minority any longer in a habitual sense of this term. Firstly, the amount of Asians in the United States has exceeded the number of Hispanic individuals (“The Rise of Asian Americans”). Secondly, the general believe that minorities are, in most cases, poorer, less educated and worse socially protected than the natives is obviously not applicable for the current position of the Asian-Americans.
What is more, the change of the minority status is stipulated by the fact that the Asian immigrants have good chances to receive green cards due to being officially deployed in the USA (“The Rise of Asian Americans”). Undoubtedly, this situation is connected to the generally high level of education and income of these individuals. To comprehend the magnetite of change, one should refer to the statistics provided by Pew Research Center. Specifically, for 2010 Asian Americans lead in terms of average income of a household as well as it terms of the percentage of college degrees (“The Rise of Asian Americans”).
The magnitude and velocity of these changes are impressive because, as it is known, a century ago Asian Americans were doomed to work for minimal salaries, were deprived of equal social position, and even were at risk of being physically abused because of their race. A century before Hu came to the United States her compatriots were chased away by the locals whose actions were supported by that time US government. The Chinese-Americans were doomed to leave their home and settled lives because of the wave of the anti-Chinese movements.
Many of them came back to the United States after World War the Second. Those individuals may be considered as returned immigrants; their return was predefined by the radical change in the state’s rhetoric regarding the Chinese immigrants. Hence, the animosity of the local remained strong for many decades after that second wave of Chinese immigrants.This time, however, the rapid development of the Chinese economy and intensive trading between the US and China stipulated successful penetration of the Chinese culture into the American world. As a result, Chinese-Americans became a significant part of the US community.
Despite the fact that Chinese-Americans endure biased attitude due to their biological heritage, this minority group includes a number of various sub-ethnicities that are hardly distinguishable by while individuals. Nonetheless, this difference is clear for the various groups of Chinese. Min Zhou, a scholar who specializes on Asian-American studies,emphasizes that “contemporary Chinese immigrants have arrived not only from mainland China, but also from the greater Chinese Diaspora -- Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Americas”. This insight implies that within the group one can distinguish a lot of differences, which may complicate successful interaction between its members.
In addition, apart from ethnicity, there is a class matter that is a significant criterion for Asians. Consider an example, a famous writer of Chinese-American heritage, Amy Tan, in her book The Joy Luck Club depicts the story of the mass Chinese immigration that happened in the middle of the 20thcentury when people were running away from their home place striving to hide from military conflicts. Class diversity was strongly sensible by the new-comersbecause the immigrants were from various Chinese geographic locales and social background. Some of them were robbers, whereas, the others were the representatives of honorable heritage. Therefore, their hostility towards one another was inevitable and reasonable. Undoubtedly, the above-described diversities retard the penetration of the Chinese culture and inhibit the process of strengthening interactions within and between Asian minorities. The next paragraph is aimed to discuss the particularities of the Chinese-American history observing it from an individual viewpoint of Judy Hu.
Revealing her academic experience in the USA, the responder claims that her college experience was mostly positive in terms of academic environment. Hu enjoyed friendly and unbiased attitude of pedagogical personnel and she was granted with the same options and benefits provided by educational establishment equally to all students regardless their heritage. This testimony indicates that the sphere of higher education was free from racial-ethnic based discrimination.
Furthermore, Judy Hu reveals that thanks to her level of education she did not experience significant difficulties in finding a well-paid and prestigious job and matched her aspirations and allowed taking a decent social niche. In particular, this Chinese-American female worked for American government as an accountant. Hu believes that in terms of career opportunities the rule is similar regardless biological heritage: good education combined with persistence is the receipt of sufficient income and prestigious occupation. In a word, it is possible to deduce that discrimination in occupations was dismissed before the 90s of the 20th century.
What is more, Judy Hu reports that in a political realm, higher educational establishments of the United States are beneficial for Chinese-Americans. This peculiarity is linked to the phenomenon of globalization. Specifically, international relations between these two states have been tightened. Thanks to mutually positive implications of the international collaboration, the students from China are welcomed by the US government. In this regard, paying ability of the offshore enrollers is the main factor that predefines favorable conditions that are positively related to good career opportunities that non-American graduates may enjoy.
At the time when Judy Hu came to America society remained cautious to include Chinese-Americans in the daily interactions. Nevertheless, Hu managed to find friends among the locals and she was accepted into their social group. Undoubtedly, being a part of another culture is an ambiguous experience that possesses both benefits and drawbacks. In terms of advantages, this female manages to master her communicative skills and cultural sensitivity. Besides, she obtains much information about culture and traditions of the western world, which was an interesting agenda for many Asian people at that period of time. In this regard, she emphasizes that blending two cultures makes individuals mentally and emotionally richer; they become more tolerant and easy-going. Moreover, this experience taught her not to be afraid to cross the border of comfort zone. Judy Hu learnt to manage stress and anxiety connected to social interactions, assessment of others, job and personal relations. Without a doubt, this experience is valuable; it helped her remain positive and successful thorough her life.
Despite the need to adjust personal identity to the realities of the strange culture, Judy Hu, as most other representatives of Chinese-Americans wanted to preserve the authenticity of the nation. The responder states that a growing number of Asian-Americans, and in particularly, Chinese immigrants, encouraged her to assist her compatriots in developing relation within Chinese groups and between other ethnic minorities. Hu excelled with this goal and, today, she holds a Multicultural Movie Festival with her friends, which had venues at LA, Palos Verdes and San Diego. Nevertheless, Hu and her son had to overcome a lot of challenges that became the inhibiting factor in her socialization.
For example, unlike the sector of US Higher Education, secondary education possessed cultural-based challenges, which negatively affected academic experience of Hu’s son. This Chinese-American female reports that her son was the only Chinese boy in the class. This fact became the reason of his exclusion; nobody wanted to make friends with him. Therefore, it was extremely hard for the boy to succeed at school because it required collaboration with peers, which was hardly possible given the circumstances.
What makes the things even worse is that for years Hu had to endure social segregation, which the strongest in her neighborhood. In other words, the turn of the 21st century was characterized with the strongest discrimination of Asian-Americans in the sphere of interpersonal communication. In many cases, the animosity of the natives gained an open form and was reflected through direct confrontation, when she was told to leave the state because it was not her country. This attitude continued even after Hu officially and legally became an American citizen. It means that discrimination is based on the biological differences of Chinese-Americans. Fortunately, this tendency tends to fade within the time. Today, neither Hu nor her son and grandson experience such biased attitude from their community.
Nonetheless, Judy Hu admits that preserving national identity is a challenging agenda. On the one hand, it intervenes with the new realities that affect the identity on an immigrant. In this case, it is better for the new-comers to perceive and adopt as much leading culture as possible because from the ability to adjust to new realities depends how successful you may become. On the other hand, identity of an adult is strongly connected with his/her heritage and culture, therefore, people are reluctant to change the self. They want to preserve their authenticity. Hu reports that she used to experience an internal struggle between the imposed westernization and renewed self and the Chinese individual identity that was and remains a great part of her personality in the present days. This struggle slows down adjustment to the new society, which means that more ethnic based conflicts and negative situations may occur. At the same time, Hu managed to find strength in this part of the self. She gathered the representatives of the Chinese-American minorities on the basis of the same feeling and corresponding struggle.
In sum, the interview with Judy Hu reveals that the environment of the American community for Chinese-Americans possesses a number of positive and negative factors that simultaneously impact the lives of immigrants. In this regard, it is appropriate to conclude that the favorable factors are stronger than the adverse ones. Thus, Hu managed to make a good social niche in the United States in spite of the challenges (ethnic discrimination, lack of cultural sensitivity), which she and her son were doomed to face and overcome.
The interviewed Chinese-American female reveals that Asian immigrants succeed in taking a decent social niche in the United States because of being well-educated. This finding complies with the data released by Pew Research Center, which points out that in the modern USA Asian-Americans is the leading group in terms of post high school education (“The Rise of Asian Americans”). Similarly, the obtained data supports information depicted by Min Zhou who emphasizes the high level of education among various Asian-American ethnicities.
Moreover, Hu’s testimony regarding her prestigious job and realized career ambitions is aligned with the statistics that Asian-Americans take a leading position in the medium income per 1 household (“The Rise of Asian Americans”).
Besides, Hu’s confession about experiencing discrimination on the basis of biological heritage during socializing in her neighborhood and biased attitude towards her son at school correlate with the ideas revealed by Pfaelzer and Tan. Besides, Tan depicts the inner struggle of the new Chinese-American immigrants who strive to preserve their authenticity and, thus, internally maintained biased attitude to Americans is mirrored by Hu’s story. Specifically, these two revelations about the challenges of developing cultural tolerance and adjusting to the western culture, while simultaneously being inclined to preserve her Asian identity resemble a lot.
In overall, the findings of the present survey are in compliance with the explored primary and secondary data. Collecting first-hand information and linking it to the available data is a valuable experience because it allows detecting and emphasizing the main processes that underlie the change in the Chinese-American history from hostility to inclusion. Furthermore, the acquired data sheds the light on the challenges faced by these minorities, their struggle, and qualities needed for achieving success. In addition, this study accentuates the immense role of the change in politico-economic realm, which predefines the impressive shift in the collective identity of the Americans regarding their attitude to Asian immigrants (from animosity to acceptance). Finally, the present study implies that a minority may be included into a larger community only if and when their culture is accepted, which means that promoting culture and tradition is a relevant strategy to increase acceptance and tolerance of the majority.