America has always been dubbed as the “dreamland” for people of all nations. With its countless job opportunities and political freedom, something that many Asian and Middle Eastern countries lack, America becomes the land that many aspire to become citizens of. This is seen in the increasing presence of immigrants in the country, making the country an active participant in the term “multiculturalism”.
It is exactly the increase in immigrants that formulates one of the biggest problems America has encountered. It becomes more difficult to identify and differentiate different cultures, allowing for the rise of stereotypes that become an easy labeling tool that more often than not employ an inaccurate view of certain races. The country continues to gain more diversity even though the tolerance for said diversity remains a serious issue.
More specifically, the amount of Asian immigrants is so significant that some of the cultural aspects have integrated into part of the American society. Going even more into depth, Chinese immigrants account for a large percentage of Asian immigrants, reaching about 24% of the entire Asian immigrant population (Lopez, Ruiz, & Patten, 2017, para. 5).Order now
This means that certain Chinese cultural aspects have doubtlessly become something closer to a cultural norm in certain regions in the country. Therefore, what are the cultural and educational effects that Chinese Americans contribute to the modern Californian climate? The educational aspect in this question aims more toward how certain class materials being taught in high school in the modern days are centered around an Asian character and their struggles in America. It could also be explained in how certain units in history or social studies are geared more toward Chinese influence on the world, such as how the Silk Road opened trading. Chinese culture has also been incorporated into that of America.
For example, some Chinese dishes have been westernized and serve in American restaurants, such as the eggroll sample or the chicken pot stickers in the Cheesecake Factory. By analyzing these aspects in the modern American culture, we can see how Chinese culture is now a big part of the American culture, even though many still do not realize the origin of these culture fusions.
To gain a more personal insight to this question, my interviewee will be a Chinese American who has both spent a large portion of her life in America. I am choosing this person to interview because she lives in California, which is the state that has the largest population of Asian Americans. Having her paternal side of family immigrating to America while her maternal side still in China, she is able to see a clear distinction between the authentic Chinese traditions and the daily lives of Chinese people and the Chinese-American culture infusion in California.
In Mia Tuan’s “Neither Real Americans nor Real Asians?” article, she emphasizes how Asian Americans still feel alienated while walking down the streets in America despite Asian presence being already so prominent nowadays (Tuan, 1999:119). While her journal does not answer my question, it gives the readers more insights about how acknowledging diversity in such a physically diverse country is still a major problem. It would serve as background information for my question, showing the struggle of Asian American representation and why some courses in high school prioritize lessons about diversity to tackle said struggle.
In Jiahong Wang’s “Between Realism and Genre Fiction: American Born Chinese and Strange Fruit”, he explains more about several graphic novels that have made their ways into English courses in American high schools. In particular, “American Born Chinese” is a graphic novel that addresses the feeling of separation that many Asian Americans go through while in America (Wang, n.d.:220). Being seen as foreigners, many deem it necessary to cast aside their countries’ traditions and cultures to adopt an American culture in order to fit in (Wang, n.d.:220). Graphic novels like these educate students to understand “racial issues” that are still prominent in modern America and that diversity is something worth celebrating.
Changfu Chen’s article “Chinese Americans and American Society” answers the question more directly because he provides numerous facts in a chronological order in which fields Chinese Americans had influenced America, such as education, science, and politics (Chen, 2008:3). He goes into more details on how Chinese immigration in the past worked its way to be seen in a higher regard now in modern America, such as creating railroads and serving in the military (Chen, 2008:5). Serving almost the same purpose as Jiahong Wang, Chen’s journal article brings realization to the public about the achievements Asian Americans continue to bring to the overall betterment of America.
This is an important issue because Asian immigration into America is such a common occurrence nowadays that it should be a given that many of the Asian cultural aspects would be combined into that of America. This proposal should bring to light more about such influence and show how multicultural America is in terms of the amount of immigration from Asia, especially China.