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How Parenting and Education Affect Asian-American Adolescent Immigrants' Ethnic Identity focusing on the Immigrants in U.S. (Research Paper Sample)


How Parenting and Education Affect Asian-American Adolescent Immigrants' Ethnic Identity focusing on the Immigrants in U.S.


How Parenting and Education Affect Asian-American Adolescent Immigrants' Ethnic Identity focusing on the Immigrants in U.S.
How Parenting and Education Affect Asian-American Adolescent Immigrants' Ethnic Identity focusing on the Immigrants in U.S.
Asian American patients raise their children like other American families, teaching them to be hard workers and striving to achieve the American dream of being successful. Similarly, the education system in the US also emphasizes on issues such as individualism at the expense of collectivism. However, despite these cultural influences, Asian Americans have found it difficult to be accepted as Americans among other American communities. Conversely, they are often discriminated against and treated like foreign Asians. Similarly, older Asian communities have found it difficult to accommodate the younger generations, who bear distinct cultural values from their own (Shariff, 2009). This has left many young Asian Americans in a state of confusion regarding their cultural identity.
Personal Experience
Personally, as I studied in the U.S., I was surrounded by students who came from different cultural backgrounds. My interest in this topic of ethnic identity for adolescents rose when I ran into a Japanese-American colleague during my internship. I asked her whether she is Japanese and she replied: “I’m American, but my parents are from Japan.” Another occurrence was when I asked my ABC (American-Born-Chinese) friend about her ethnicity. She said that she is Chinese, but not from China. More interest in this topic is because of the impact it have on issues such as discrimination and racism among Americans considered foreigners.
From a personal point of view, I know many Asian Americans who found it hard to be accepted as Americans as well as finding it difficult to fit in their own Asian communities. This is because, despite being of Asian descent, most of the Asian Americans today are American citizens by birth and have been wholly integrated into the American culture (Shariff, 2009). A research study was carried out by Oh (2012) to investigate how Korean American adolescents of the second generation use Korean transnational media to construct their ethnic identity. Due to radicalization, ethnicity gets radicalized and limitations in strategies of non-identification (Oh, 2012). He found that there are two factors; popular culture awareness of Korean and language proficiency. The language is a cultural marker leading to exclusive formation of boundary in identities and ethnic choices (Oh, 2012).
Consequently, they lack the key components of the Asian culture such as loyalty, family obligation, obedience towards elders, and self-sacrifice. On the contrary, they have become more individualistic like most other Americans. Their adoption of the American culture can be attributed to changes in parenting styles and the American education system (Shariff, 2009).
Although there is a lot of literature covering the topic, there are many weaknesses and gaps failing to address the issues conclusively. For instance, most literary studies focus on the wider Asian community, but leave out the individual communities like the Chinese, Koreans, or Japanese. This is essential because the different Asian communities arrived in the US at different times and have responded to the American culture in different ways. This paper focuses on examining the challenges faced by Asian American immigrants to the US in terms of their ethnic identity as a result of influence from the American culture in education and parenting.
Literature Review
Traditionally, adolescence is a period of self-discovery and identity construction. For those that come from immigrant backgrounds and ethnic minorities, a meaningful process is ethnic identity. As Asian American immigrant families adapt to the culture of the host country, their beliefs on child-rearing may change. In a perspective of acculturation, national or American identity is a representative of a form of identity for youths in ethnic minorities.
Cultural Identity
Identity is defined as the knowledge, value and emotional significance that are attributed to membership of a social group. Therefore, identity follows a developmental course including commitment of someone and the exploration of a group. Cultural identity can be defined as the identification with and a perception of acceptance into a group with systems of symbols and meanings that are shared as rules of conduct or norms (Lu, 2001). In a critical framework, this cultural identity is not developed through absorption or assimilation of a dominant culture, but it occurs by the celebration and articulation of cultural practices and values of an individual as an alternative to the dominating culture or resisting the dominant group from influencing (Lu, 2001).
According to Takeyuki (2014), Asian immigrants began entering the US as early as 1880, with the Japanese among the earliest to arrive. After World War II, more Asian communities established themselves in various parts of the country. At the turn of the 21st century, some of the Asian communities were in their second or third generations. These newer generations consist of Asian Americans who are not only American citizens by birth, but also bear cultural resemblance to the White Americans. This has caused a conflict between these young Asian Americans and the older generations in terms of their cultural identity (Takeyuki, 2014).The young Asian Americans forget their original ethnicities and view themselves as those of the host country, America. Kiang, Witkow and Champagne (2013) carried out a study, focusing on Asian American adolescents using a hierarchical linear model to examine both the American identity and ethnic identity simultaneously. In their findings, both ethnic identity and American identity were associated with high self-esteem, positive relationships, low depression levels and academic motivation.
Ethnic Identity and Radicalization
However, the Asian Americans continue to face racism due to their Asian appearance in their daily interactions with other people in the mainstream American society. This kind of radicalization is often accompanied by connotations that the Asian Americans are also culturally foreign (Takeyuki, 2014). In response, however, these groups of Asian Americans have for a long time demanded recognition and inclusion into the national community as Americans. Stein, Klang, Supple and Gonzaleze (2014) tested the moderation of relationships under ethnic identity between economic stress, discrimination and mental health outcomes. In their findings, they suggested that immigrant youth facing high levels of stress were facing problems with their ethnic identities (Stein et al., 2014). Native Americans need to change their perception of the American community as a mono-racial society to a more diversified and multiracial concept of the American society. This will help to accommodate other communities that migrated into the US, but have since been Americanized and adopted the American culture (Takeyuki, 2014).
According to Hsu (2011), ethnic identity of adolescents and younger generations of Asian American communities has caused gaps in intergenerational communication. There are many cultural gaps and linguistic differences that make it difficult for the latter generations to interact effectively with the earlier generations of Asians in to the US. The first and second generations of immigrants often maintain their original traditional culture. However, the younger generations have adopted a completely different culture due to the influence from their peers in school, the education system, and their interactions with their age mates from other communities (Hsu, 2011). This can be attributed to the challenges they face in establishing an ethnic identity which is compatible with the beliefs and values of the American mainstream and their natal culture and a discrete self-identity (Farver, Xu, Bhadha, Narang & Lieber, 2007). Most of these challenges correspond to the experiences of the immigrant families as the psychological impact of acculturation and immigration on the adults influence the developmental outcomes of the adolescents. This is through the child rearing practices of the parents that affect the quality of the family environment (Farver et al., 2007).
Parenting and Education
Cultural identity can be transcended by communication and Americanization is not related to the immigrants’ positive adjustment. Lu (2001) did an exploration at Chinese language schools on how communication practices affected the development of bicultural identity for new Chinese immigrants and their children. The study focused on why the parents sent their children to the schools, the communicative activities the children participate in, Chinatown perceptions, the impact of activities in the school on the development of bicultural identity on the children and further suggestions on the schools’ future development. The results showed that the parents had a strong desire of cultural preservation and were motivated by the development of bicultural identity and the benefits that biculturalism would provide. Salomone (2012) posits that ideological paradigms shape the sociocultural contexts, legislative policy and language education. The language paradigms shift, changing the collective understanding of identity as an American (Lapin, 2012). She also points out that the young generation of immigrants has gone under full assimilation as regulated by school policies and contexts that facilitate restrictive immigration policies and limited communication with home countries.
Cultural differences between the American culture and the Asian culture are at the center stage of the debate on cultural identity of A...
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