Chinese Americans The focus of our group project is on Chinese Americans. We studied various aspects of their lives and the preservation of their culture in America. The Chinese American population is continually growing. In fact, in 1990, they were the largest group of Asians in the United States (Min 58).
But living in America and adjusting to a new way of life is not easy. Many Chinese Americans have faced and continue to face much conflict between their Chinese and American identities. But many times, as they adapt to this new life, they are also able to preserve their Chinese culture and identity through various ways. We studied these things through the viewing of a movie called Joy Luck Club, conducting interviews with Chinese Americans, and doing outside research. First, we studied the various conflicts that Chinese Americans face.
One way that we did this was by watching a movie regarding this subject called Joy Luck Club, which contains several stories, each one showing different conflicts. The first conflict that we saw was that many times, Chinese Americans do not want to be recognized as Chinese. They feel that it would be easier if they were recognized as American. They do not want to have anything to do with their Chinese side.
We saw an example of this in the movie when one of the daughters, Lena, tried to open her eyes as far as possible so that she would appear American. The parents of Chinese American children also face conflict in that they want their children to succeed and have as much opportunity as possible, and so many times they alienate them from their Chinese identity. Another conflict that we discovered was a language barrier between Chinese American children and their parents. Many Chinese American children do not know how to speak Chinese, and those that knew it as children lose much of their knowledge of the language as they try to fit in to school in America.
... 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 ... do not appreciate or acknowledge the past. How can America, which was built on the labor and communities of ... face, are unwilling to consent the facts about their own origin: “The struggle for identity is particularly acute for some children ...
This makes communication between parents and children very difficult. We saw an example of this in the beginning of the movie when all the elders were speaking Chinese while playing mah jong and one of the daughters could not understand what they were saying. Although Chinese Americans face many conflicts, many also work very hard to preserve their Chinese identities. Some of the ways that we researched are holidays, weddings, martial arts, food, and Chinatowns. First, Chinese Americans preserve their ethnic identities through holidays. One of the biggest holidays is the Chinese New Year.
The Chinese New Year is different from the regular New Years in that it relies on the moon cycles instead of the western calendar, so it falls on different days each year. There is a lot of preparation that goes into the Chinese New Year. People start cleaning their houses and decorating them with spring couplets on the twentieth day of the twelfth moon. Spring couplets are short poems written on red scrolls of paper in black. A popular New Years tradition in the United States is the exchanging of red envelopes containing money, which are called hong-bad. Most families spend this holiday celebrating together because this holiday, above others, emphasizes family and family ties.
Another way that Chinese Americans preserve their identities is through their weddings. The traditional Chinese wedding procedures are known as the “Three Letters and Six Etiquette’s.” Chinese American weddings in America do not really follow all of the old traditions, but there are still aspects that are preserved. Large engagement parties are still held, at which the traditional roast pig is served. Also, at many Chinese American weddings, the traditional tea ceremony is still performed.
Maxine Hong Kingston reflects upon her childhood by starting off the second half of the book in titling it At the Western Palace. The irony of the title is that Kingston s family thought that they were bringing her aunt into a better lifestyle from a Communist country. However this proved not to be true. Living in the United States cannot be compared to living in a palace because Moon Orchid lived ...
This is where the bride and groom offer cups of sweet tea to their families, and are offered envelopes with money or jewelry in them in return. Some traditional foods that are still served at Chinese American weddings are fish and lotus seeds. The Chinese word for fish, yu, sounds like the word for abundance. Also, red is used a lot because it signifies happiness. But through my visit to Chinatown and interviews with some Chinese Americans, I found that second and third generation Chinese Americans mainly go to Chinatown for fun and to eat.
They do not feel as if their ethnic identities are preserved through Chinatown. I learned that it was the ethnic identities of the first generation Chinese Americans that was preserved through Chinatowns. Some of the ways that I observed the preservation of their ethnic identities were religion, food and books and music. There were numerous restaurants. Many had a number in their name because numbers are significant in Chinese culture. Some numbers are considered very lucky, for example the number eight.
Chinese culture is very superstitious. I also observed several stores selling herbs. The best selling herbs are ginseng and astragalus. Ginseng is known to balance one’s body’s chi, and astragalus is known to build up one’s immune system. The main religions that I observed were Buddhism and Christianity. In conclusion, through the movie, interviews, and research, we found that Chinese Americans in America experience conflict as they try to balance both their Chinese and American identities.
But we also found that there are many ways in which Chinese Americans preserve their Chinese identity. We explored many of these ways, including holiday celebrations, weddings, and Chinatowns. These are just a few of the many ways in which Chinese Americans preserve their ethnic identities in America. Works Cited Gibson, O.
The Chinese In America. New York: Arno Press. Hsu, M. (2003).
The Chinese in America: The History From Gold Mountain to the New Millennium.
Journal of American Ethnic History, 23, 118-120. Mccune, R. (2000).
Reclaiming Chinese America: One Woman’s Journey. Amer asia Journal, 26, 163-181.
Latin America Latin America affects Florida, the Southwest and California in many ways. Three of the most obvious are food, holidays, and the people. These influences are mainly for the good though some can have negative influence as well. The food found in the Southwest is very similar to that of Latin America. Though some of the foods and restaurants aren't exactly the same or as good, they ...
Min, P. (1995).
Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.