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Single Story About Asian American

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Writing #1

Shuodong Zhang

As Asian Chinese, when I came to the United States for the first time, I have never noticed that there were huge amount of Asian Americans in the United States. They have the similar look as the Asian people, however they have a native accent and most of them could not speak their original country’s language. In my early thoughts, Asian Americans come from Asian countries or their parents; grandparents are from Asian countries like China, Korea or Japan. Their lifestyle would still be similar to their original countries just live in a different country. However, when I start to meet some Asian American students on campus, especially Chinese Americans, I found that they don’t really have the same traditions as we have in China. They don’t eat moon cakes at mid-autumn festival; they don’t eat dumplings in Chinese New Year day; they even could not come up with a complete sentence in Chinese. From that time, I realized that they are not ‘Chinese’ they are Asian Americans. My Asian American friends told me that their lives rarely have Asian traditions, and they celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving just like white American. My single story has been challenged by the fact I saw. Asian American has become a big part of American society and their traditions has been affected by American culture. The history of Asian American is big factor for me. As I studied in china, a lot of Chinese labors come to California in the 19th century looking for gold. These Chinese are earliest Asian immigrants lived in California and that was my only knowledge about why Chinese come to America. In the textbook, ‘standard versions of Asian American history exemplify a focus on California that represents places east of that golden state as derivative, sometimes inauthentic locations of Asian America. I wrote against that convention. Asians and Pacific islanders visited and resided in Mexico and its northern territories, the south and northwest, and the East Coast long before the mid-nineteenth migration of Chinese to California.’(Okihiro Intro, pg.9 ) After reading and taking the lecture, Asian labors took the ship to Mexico and southern part of America is much earlier than the golden age. Those labors include Filipinos and other south Asians. Also, for the phrase Asian Americans, I think it is somehow problematic for me. I usually refer Asian Americans to Chinese, Japanese, Korean primarily. Like stated in reading, ‘Gradually, through the initiatives of neglected ethnicities, it grew to embrace Korean, Filipinos, and other Southeast Asians, along with south Asians and, most recently, West Asians, such as those from Iran, Iraq, Arabia and Turkey.’(Okihiro Intro, pg.8) Asian American includes too many different counties’ people, and people from each country have different living style to fit into American society. It will be more complicated to study compare to just Chinese and Japanese.



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