September 8, 2008

Passing on Ethnic Identity

Saw this article on AAM. I think these are the questions that people of my generation, the same generation as the people in the article, struggle with--how do you pass on ethnic identity to your kids? Children are our future, and parents are usually the ones who raise them, so these questions are among the most relevant to any activism we do.
This quote was very interesting:
As for heritage, Ms. Liu wants to make sure that Chris understands he’s
Asian-American. “One time a boy saw Christopher and said, ‘Look, a Chinese boy,”
recalled Ms. Liu. “Christopher says, ‘Where?’
A question which comes up less often, but which is probably even more important, is this: what is our ethnic identity as Asian Americans? Mainstream values sometimes color Asian American identity with the stereotyped, orientalist portrayals, but what is the culture?
My old approach would usually be to encourage modern people to inject their own personalities into creating the culture. I'd still recommend proactive action, but with some recent readings on initiations, which I'll hopefully expand upon at a later time, I'm starting to see that we need to take both a soft and a hard approach. Children are our future, and parents are usually the ones who raise them, so these questions are among the most relevant to any activism we do. I'll explain more at a later time.


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