- This research was done to discover what distiguishes Chinese American identity from the typical Chinese or American. I was curious to find out how Chinese Americans differ from foreign Chinese in creating their own personalities and life choices, and how their Chinese American identity affects how they interact with different individuals or other Chinese around them. The research was collected from interviews, books, and scholarly articles. The research results show that each individual have different experiences, yet there are similar trends. These trends include involvement in language, family relations, childhood expereinces, and stereotypes.
What I did:
I had the opportunity to interview 3 students: Lauren, Raymond, and Zee. I received permission to use their names for my research. Lauren is a freshman at UNCC, and is a Biology major. She was born in New York City, NY. Raymond is a freshman at UNC Charlotte, and is a Computer Science major. He was born in New York City, NY. Zee is a junior/senior at UNCC. He was born in Charlotte, NC.
I also obtained 3 books in an open access library and took notes upon reading each other.
These books include:
Asian American X, which compiles various essays and memoirs of college-aged Asian Americans. I read and analyzed three chapters which were by Chinese Americans.
Chinese Americans and Their Immigrant Parents: Conflict, Identity, and Values: The author has a PhD and is a clinical psychologist. She conducted psychotherapy with young Chinese American professionals to receive the information and experiences for this book.
Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture: This book included a shortened version of a previous Chinese American study.
Ipod voice recorder was used for interviews, and similar questions were asked to each participants. I interviewed the participants individually.
I participated in Chinese Club twice. Calligraphy paper was obtained from Chinese Club.
General Research SectionsEdit
Language is the least changing aspect in a person's life because language is used consistently in someone's everyday life. Yet, in Chinese Americans, it is a significant factor in their changing identity. Among Chinese Americans, their connection to language involves English and/or Chinese. How they use these languages affects their identity and their relationship with others.
They either decide to speak more English or speak more Chinese, which results in changing their connections with people. For instance, at the age of 7, Wendy Hu decided to only speak English. This was the beginning of her course to reject Chinese Culture. She “stopped feeling close to [her] dad and mom,” and was on a “journey of self-hate (citation).” By speaking only English, she disconnected herself from her family and since her English improved connected more with the American children.
Language also causes a feeling of being ashamed or embraced among Chinese Americans.
When Chinese Americans are young, they feel ashamed about their Chinese language, disregarding it or thinking of it as unimportant. In Katie Leung's situation, she “didn’t care about expanding [her] language abilities past the conversational level,” which caused her to have limited communication with her frail grandmother. Because she felt ashamed about her Chinese language, or lack there of, she later began to embrace it and register for Chinese class in college (citation).
Chinese Americans use internal reflections and feedback from others to figure out who they are (Tung). For instance, in families, the parents are usually immigrants influence their children by practicinng or not practicin traditional Chinese rituals. By practicing Chiense traditions, they feel more connected to the Chinese culture, but by not practicing them, the Chinese American children are ignormant of the significance of these events (Tung).