The Changing Identities of Asian Americans





The Changing Identities of Asian Americans

Asian Americans in the United States of America experience great diversity because of the multiculturalism in the U.S.A. This is a minority group with high group consciousness, which has enhanced its survival and adaptability. This group consciousness roots from their perceived social context and racial position. Their racial identification over the historical past has been influential in their political attitudes and behavior. In addition, the U.S.A immigration policy is responsible for creation of racial stereotypes and tropes. Asian Americans have managed to create and strengthen their social, cultural, and political identities over time. As compared to the past, the Asian Americans today show high independence level. However, their historical past, government policies, and their patterns of migration are influential in their identities today.

          The cultural identity of Asian Americans is largely shaped by America’s multiracialism. Today, Asian Americans are developing their own distinct subculture, an identity, different from the dominant American culture. This was also the case in the past years. However, there are concerns that Americanization is making most Asian American youth to give up their heritage, as the American culture engulfs them. Some youth have abandoned their language, their histories, and their cultures in pursuit of inclusion and legitimacy (Kurashige and Murray 420-421). Inferiority complex based on their physique has resulted in self-hate. The males desire to marry white women, while females attempt changing their physique to reach the standards of white females. However, the past formation of the Yellow Power Movement, comprising students and young adults, was useful in turning this situation around. This movement mainly targeted Asian American youth, who are more vulnerable to heritage abandonment. Youth are encouraged to have self-acceptance, for the strengthening of their cultural identity in the U.S.A. this shows the level at which Asian Americans are committed to sustaining their cultural identity (Kurashige and Murray 421).

          Model minority has played a key role in shaping the social identity of Asian Americans over the years. Americanization did not influence Asian Americans in the past. Therefore, they were neglected, and considered a deviant group. In addition, they were considered economically “fit” because of their hardworking nature and love for education. With regard to gender aspect, Asian American women experienced sexist oppression in the Asian American revolutionary movements. This resulted in women’s movements to protest male chauvinism, through development of feminist movements, which also addressed concerns of fellow Asian American females (Kurashige and Murray 448). Additionally, in the early 1960s Asian Americans, headed by their group activists pioneered a social revolution. These mainly included the Korean Americans and the Filipino Americans, who called on all other Asian Americans to embrace a common struggle that would outdo white racism. They also sought to instill a sense of social pride in all Asian Americans through by organizing artistical, theatrical, and musical programs. They also published Asian American magazines and journals for self-expression. Their various radical political groups helped them voice their social and political concerns (Kurashige and Murray 419).

Racial group consciousness and past political acts are important in the political identity of Asian Americans. Today, this group can participate in the campaigns that promote one of their group members. They have considerable influence in the American politics as they form a strong voting bloc. They are more influential in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where they are highly concentrated. Asian American political candidates have received support from members of their group. Shared characteristics, including, race and ethnicity, boosts solidarity and familiarity in the group. Asian Americans, because of solidarity, have engaged in group-based political actions since the historic times. This mainly was to address incidences of racial discrimination and injustices. 1960s and 1970s saw the height of political activism and solidarity by Asian Americans as they fought against internal colonization in America. Students advocated for Asian American Studies, activists denounced Vietnam War and American imperialism abroad. During and after WW2, the Japanese Americans were hit hardest by discrimination as most were evicted, put up in camps, and denied American citizenship. These and other historical injustices affecting Asian Americans prompted the Yellow power movement to spearhead the economic and political freedom of Asian Americans (Kurashige and Murray 444-447).

In conclusion, Asian Americans portray a high group consciousness, which helps them keep together in an alien culture. Their social, political, and cultural identities have experienced considerable changes throughout history. Past discriminations and injustices on this group have gradually changed their identities. While they were discriminated against in the past, they have risen to demand for equality today. In addition, the yellow power movement has played a key role in the political, cultural, and social freedom of the group. Their culture, though affected by multiculturalism, is still of value to them and so today, they struggle to sustain their heritage despite being a minority group in a larger American culture. Nonetheless, the Asian American identity seems to strengthen over time.


Works Cited

Kurashige, Lon and Murray, Alice. Major Problems in Asian American History: Documents and

Essays. London: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. Print.

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