Migrationacrossgenerations:Whose identityis authentic?Kathleen Wong (Lau)Jill HardeeApplication Week 1
Objective & Rationale Kathleen Wong (Lau) examines the cultural differences in different generations of immigrants from the same home country At different points in time, immigrants from the same country bring a very different culture, Wong is interested in reconciling these different cultures For example, Chinese Americans who emigrated to the US before 1960 have brought the ideas of Confusious with them
Method & Process Thisstudy is conducted through both interview and reviewing available research and writing on the subject
Findings & Significance Wong finds that different generations of immigrants from the same home country vary greatly in their culture Wong’s cousin came to the US in the 1990s, much later than Wong’s mother, their culture is markedly different: “You are so old fashioned and strict! […] You know how to make wonton and pot- stickers. […] I can’t believe you are Chinese. Chinese are supposed to be “tight,” you know, good dressers, good in business, “tight” cars, go out to eat all the time” says Wong’s cousin. (Wong, p. 96).
Findings & Significance The quote points out specific differences between 1990’s immigrants from China and pre-1960’s/American born Chinese I picked this because it most thoroughly explains what Wong is trying to communicate Neither culture should be considered “right or wrong” Wong cautions (p. 96) She recommends constructing a framework for understanding
Findings & Significance Wong uses the term “diaspora” to help put culture in context A diaspora is a dispersion of a minority group within a majority group (Wong, p. 97). Examples: Asian Americans within America, Italian Americans within America
Findings & Significance Wong suggests many times the culture of the home country is “frozen” at the time of immigration “Immigrants often preserve and incorporate dimensions of their cultural practices in the diaspora, often contructing their ethnic identity around beliefs and memories of cultural values and practices that existed in their home country at the time of immigration” (Wong, p. 98) I chose this because it explains differences with the “same culture” for example Chinese Americans do not all have the “same culture”
Approach Wong uses the critical approach She considers the historical context in all parts of the study Analysis of texts Wong notes that culture is always changing: “trying to pinpoint […] ethnic and racial identity […] is like shooting at a moving target” (p, 99) Power struggles are present, especially Wong mentions in the diaspora of all Asian Americans in a struggle with the white American majority
Questions Do you think that Wong is correct that culture is always changing? For example Wong mentions that Americans born of Greek descent are very different from Greeks living in Greece today because Greek Americans have held onto the culture their parents or grandparents knew at the time of immigration. Can you think of a diaspora in the way that Wong mentions all Asian Americans become part of a diaspora in order to combat racialization by the white American majority?