The in America, in common with other minority
The seemingly harmless inquiry, “Where are you from,” serves as the epitome of uncomfortable questions to receive as an Asian American. Even when answered with, ” I was born in America,” the other party has yet to hear a sufficient answer. They expect a response more along the lines of where your ancestors are from. This puts the subject of the question in an awkward position that Paul Stoller describes as “the between” (Prologue, location 101, par. 2). However, Stoller portrays the between as a space in which an individual can draw power and creativity to change the way we view our place in the world (Prologue, location 101, par. 2). Similarly, Francis Hsu (qtd. in Chin) likens the unique perspective of Asian Americans to the professional woman (xviii). He encourages Asian Americans to embrace both their cultures and, through this unification, alter the reality institutionalized through years of racism and discrimination (Chin, xviii). In fact, many people have attempted to overturn this outdated perspective of Asian Americans. Therefore, I argue that Asian American culture is the formation of a new double identity through the reconciliation of eastern and western cultures; then using this status as an instrument to reinvent the stereotypes that surround Asian Americans.To begin, Hsu (qtd. in Chin) highlights the formation of a hybrid identity in Asian Americans. He writes that,”(the) Chinese in America, in common with other minority groups, will have a continuing problem of double identity” (Chin, xviii). Hsu calls the intersection between Chinese culture and American culture a “problem” because in order to fully integrate into either, you would have to reject the practices and beliefs of one society in favor of the other (Chin, xviii). However, even a full rejection of their ethnic culture would not warrant the Chinese Americans the right to be considered truly American because of the fact that they were not white (Chin, xiii). They are, instead, left to wander the expanse between the two cultures, acknowledging their existence but being unable to partake in either. Hsu rejects this notion of incapacitation and instead says to view their position as,”an advantage rather than a disability” (Chin, xviii). Their understanding of both cultures allows them to reinvent the stereotypes that they are encompassed in by explaining events as seen through the perspective of Asian Americans. Because they fall right outside the reach of both communities, Asian Americans gain mobility that otherwise would not have been available to them. Agency is more obtainable for them than their Eastern counterparts since they can blend in with American standards. Their standing allows them to shift the perspectives of those around them, whether it is through literature, art, or etc. Therefore, it is this two-fold identity which allows for Asian Americans to reshape the world around them and gain agency. Up to the present time, countless Asian Americans have undertaken the task of changing how the world views them through their dual cultural backgrounds. Reiterated by Elaine Kim, “a clear understanding of the stereotypes and their role in perpetuating illusions can contribute to the dynamic process of changing Asian American realities” (21). Not only do Asian Americans help to redefine their racial stereotypes but also what it means to be American. Paul Spickard used Japanese Americans to highlight their resiliency and adaptiveness during times of hardship and rampant racism in America (21). Not only the Japanese but the Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, and etc., all helped to build America into the country it is today. To define American ideals without including the efforts of Asian Americans is unjust. Literature, such as the ones published by Kim and Spikard, spread awareness and facilitate the reinvention of the stereotypes placed upon Asian Americans. In fact, music, art, anything that,”contributes to the total image and identity of America by depicting their own experiences and by defining their own humanity as part of the composite image of the American people” can achieve this (Kim, 22). Asian Americans deserve the recognition as being part of the American ideals. Given these points, it is through Asian American culture that the perpetuation of false stereotypes can be halted and a new identity, resulting from the marriage of the two cultures, can form.In conclusion, the fusion of Asian and American cultures ultimately serves to reinvent the image of Asian Americans. Literature, music, and etc. all play a part in bringing awareness to the experience and humanity of Asian Americans. What used to be a thorn in the shoulder of many, now can be used as a vehicle of change and agency. It is in this light that I urge you to take everything you have read or been taught in history class with a grain of salt. The history of white America is not the history of Asian America. Seek your own truth and serve as your own instrument of change BibliographyChin, Frank. Aiiieeeee!: an Anthology of Asian American Writers. Meridian, 1997. Kim, Elaine H. “Images of Asians in Anglo-American Literature.” Asian American Literature, an Introduction to the Writings and Their Social Context = Ya Yi Meiguo Wen Xue Zuo Pin Ji She Hui Bei Jing Jie Shao, Wai Yu Jiao Xue Yu Yan Jiu Chu Ban She, 2006. Spickard, Paul R. “The Japan They Left.” Japanese Americans: the Formation and Transformations of an Ethnic Group, Rutgers University Press, 2009. Stoller, Paul. The Power of the between: an Anthropological Odyssey. University of Chicago Press, 2009. Kindle ebook file.