Characteristics of the Traditional Asian Family
§ Hierarchical in structure, with males and older individuals occupying a higher status
§ Gender Differences between Asian male and Asian female
Asian families want sons b/c males are important and they carry on the family name (lineage).
Females=valued less than males, less important role in family
The role of the female is to be passive and to adhere to husband's family, be subservient to the male, perform domestic chores, and bear children.
The role of the male is to provide for the family. Primary duty is to be a good son; obligations to be a good husband and father come second to duty as son.
§ Patriarchal husband-wife relationships
§ Respect for ancestors and elderly (Past-present time orientation)
§ Loyalty to authority figures
One-way communication: adults speak to children
§ Collectivism---Family & Group Focus---Interdependence
Children learn early in life that the family is central & the primary unit
Behavior of individual members is a reflection on the entire family
§ Discipline--shame and guilt used to control and train children
Emphasize loyalty and honor to the family and avoidance of shame and embarrassment to the family
Family problems are hidden from public and handled within the family
Outstanding achievement: source of great pride for child and entire family
Mental illness is shameful and represents family failure
§ Less Open Display of Emotions=sign of maturity and self-control
Care and concern is shown by supplying physical needs of family members
Father---Authoritative and Distant, less emotionally demonstrative and involved, provides for the economic and physical needs of family
Mother---more responsive to children but uses less nurturance and more verbal and physical punishments than Whites; meets emotional needs of children and serves as intermediary b/t father and child
Problems of Asian Americans Living in the U.S.
§ Conflict b/t 2 different cultures (American vs. Asian)
Children acculturate more rapidly than their parents do
Conflicts may arise b/t parents and children; family reflects traditional ways and children see another way of life (American culture)
Ethnic Identity Problem---Biculturalism
§ Conflicts over Dating & Marriage
Parents play an active part in making decisions
Interracial marriages increasing
Viewed as family failure and end to the lineage
§ Academic expectations
Another area where parents take an active part in
Children dependent on family
Parents structure children's lives for academic success
More likely to decide whether children go to college, limit TV, and videogames
§ Language Barriers
Majority of Asian Americans are foreign born
English ---2nd language
Use of English is encouraged but children still live in homes where native language is the primary language
Children speak and understand 2 different languages
"All Asians are the Same"
Asian Americans consist of a number of national, cultural, and religious heritages, includes at least 40 distinct subgroups, each with unique language, religion, customs, and values
Large increase in Asian population (relaxation in immigration laws)
4 major groups: East Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean), Pacific Islander, SE Asian (Vietnamese, Thai), South Asian (Indian,Pakistani)
Similarities exist among these cultures but those working with Asian Americans need to remember Asian Americans' different origins, ecological adaptations, history, immigration and refugee history, SES, etc.
This assumption or stereotype leads to expectations extended to all Asians
"intelligent" "hardworking" "disciplined"
perceived to be educationally,economically, and socially successful
not all members share this success
Not all Asians are superior students who have no problems. Some lack motivation, learning problems, limited English proficiency, financial problems, parents who do not understand US culture, culture differences, language barriers, etc.
Learn about Asian Americans as individuals rather than assuming the model minority stereotype
Stereotypes between and within Asian groups
Media portrayal of Asian Americans
§ Racism & Prejudice
Historical Experience in America
Hate crimes, assaults
Still viewed as foreigners
Linda Nguyen 2002