Asian American Studies: Identity, Images, Issues Past and Present

Asian American Studies: Identity, Images, Issues Past and Present

Asian American Studies: Identity, Images, Issues Past and Present

Asian American Studies: Identity, Images, Issues Past and Present

Synopsis

The essays in Asian American Studies address some of the concerns that have affected Asian Americans and their American-born children. More specifically, scholars from disciplines such as literature, cultural studies, anthropology, and sociology discuss works by some Asian American authors, the often stereotypical representation of Asian Americans in the media and in everyday life, the intergenerational conflicts that may arise within families as a result of the Americanization process, but also how Asian Americans have been able to combine aspects of American culture and the culture of their countries of origin. Engagingly written, the essays in this book offer students and the general public perspectives and information about a variety of issues concerning Asian Americans.

Excerpt

When I was with my father during his last days, he asked me, “Esther, when will your next book come out?” His illness did not stop him from asking me about my writing. I remember vividly the look on his face when he saw my first book in print and he held it in his hands for a long time. I am sure that other Asian Americans can remember similar moments of encouragement. Born in the Confucian tradition and embedded in parental love, such encouragement has helped Asian Americans carry out their parents' hopes and dreams. The history of Asian Americans has been at times a very painful one. The purpose of this book is not to look back in anger, however, but to provide essays that offer general information on Asian American history, sociology, literature, media, heritage, and religion. The contributors have not written these essays to emphasize injustice or prejudice but to discuss our heritage and to provide optimism about our future.

Asian American Studies has to deal with the heterogeneity and multiplicity of backgrounds and issues. The history of Asian America today is no longer merely the story of the railroads: it is the story of the Korean grocer in New York, the Vietnamese casino worker in Nevada, the professionals as well as the blue-collar storekeepers. Despite the differences, Asians have shared a bond of filial piety and love, filial piety reinforced by Confucian tradition and love for their families that has allowed them to send their hard-earned money to their families. Hidden behind historical facts are stories of such love and sacrifice. The early Chinese risked their lives and suffered discrimination so that their families in their villages and towns would not starve. Likewise, the Japanese farmers and plantation workers labored ceaselessly to save enough coins to send back to Japan. The Koreans came and also suffered, working long hours in the laundries . . .

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