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Asian American Psychological Experience

Abstract
The theme of this paper is to discuss the areas, effect, impact, influence and thinking of mix-raced individuals and their battle for self identity despite from all their different cultures and beliefs. It also aims to educate people and explore the ideas of being “mix-raced”.
To give more explanation to the topic, an insight of Eric Liu’s book ‘The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker’ and other studies are also stated in this documentation.

Introduction
It is said that citizenship can be recognized from the birthplace of a person or through its personal appearance but nowadays, it’s no longer enough. Even though there are some people who prefer to marry someone their own race, there are also some who marry people from different countries which results for having siblings growing up with different cultures like American-Chinese and more. “Mix-race” is a phrase for people who have two or more race in their blood. In this paper, we will go and understand the world of having multiple racial identities, see their different view, know their different problems in society, health and individuality.

Identity

            In an article of Pearl Fuyo Gaskins of the San Francisco Chronicle entitled “In the Mix”, she stated that she was

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once asked for her citizenship in a tone of “What are you? Chinese or Something?” The question of “What are you…” triggered her tought.  Most mixed-raced person had an encounter of this kind of question once people notice their physical appearance[1]. Having a friend who is also a Filipino-American, I also asked her that same question because of curiosity. Although a question like that is not is never meant to be offensive, it still brings out a racial matter about the true identity of an individual.

            Having the best of both worlds, some say. A combination of rich culture and different traditions in their veins makes a person learn more about being flexible to adopt in different situations. In some aspect as well, their mixed blood caused social anxiety that brings them the fear of being negatively evaluated and sometimes neglected [2].

            Mixed-race, mixed skin, mixed emotion, and mixed identity rolled in one person. As they mature, these people realize the good and bad side of their unique identity inherited from their parents. Racial discrimination is a big issue that remains unsolved in today’s world. The lack of work on eradicating racial discrimination leads to constant confrontations between the pure races and the mixed-races. Despite from all issues, mix-raced people strive hard to find their way to identity resolution and belongingness.

Group Relationships

            Even though fair treatment is a campaign worldwide, it is still one of the big problems that we all face. Mixe-raced or pure, unfair treatments is an issue at home, office, schools and other places that truly brings an imprint of trauma to someone’s heart resulting to social division of people according to their race . The influence and impact of this issue causes people to change their individual character as a person just to belong in a group that results to behavioral risk problems, lack of self-esteem, social isolation and problems in family relationships.

            In 2003, a new study that involved surveying 90,000 adolescent U.S. students showed that those who considered themselves to be of mixed race were more likely than others to suffer from depression, substance abuse, sleep problems, and various aches and pains[3].

            My friend Sarah once said that when she was in America during elementary, her classmates won’t sit to her just because she’s a part Filipino and because of that, she started acting like an American. She studied their diction and ways of living. After that, people started accepting her but deep inside, she can never hide her black eyes that would always make her a Filipino despite of her blond hair and white complexion. When she reached 16, she had decided to just be on her own self because she’s tired of pretending. “People at first find it weird but then, they learned to accept it.”

Mix and Match

            In relationships and marriage, race is also a topic. From the article of James Liu, Susan Miller Campbell and Heather Condie’s entitled Ethnocentrism in dating preferences for an American sample: the in-group bias in social context , that explains the different areas that a person must consider when choosing a lifetime partner specially from different race such as their similarity, physical attractiveness, social status, network acceptance, ethnic identification and preferences [4], people are still into mix-race marriage which is proven by the article Fresh Census Numbers of William F. Frey stating that in the year 1990-200, biracial unions increased by 65% in the United States [5].

Effects of mix-raced unions are passed to their siblings. Categorized as Stereotype, children who have families of different cultures are simplyfied or grouped from pure raced that affects their intellectual performance and capacity to work as proven in the report of Sapna Cheryan and Galen V. Bodenhausen of Northeastern University[6]. This can be a threat for bigger problems like social stigma, more conflicts and debates.

Sociologist Charles E. Hurst of the College of Wooster states that, “One reason for stereotypes is the lack of personal, concrete familiarity that individuals have with persons in other racial or ethnic groups. Lack of familiarity encourages the lumping together of unknown individuals” [7].

Regardless of the posible negative consequences from interracial marriages and its effects to the children born out of such relationships, couples and families work hard to maintain their family together and hope for a better future.

Taking a Stand: The Accidental Asian by Eric Liu.

            From Eric Liu’s The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, he stated his personal quest of knowing himself more as a Chinese-American. Caught between two different cultures, he managed to make his way of knowing both worlds.  Identity crisis and racism has emerged during his quest but nevertheless, he maintained a very clear conclusion that regardless of color or race, his identity as a person and his decision to live the life he chose matters the most.

            “I certainly won’t want to infect my Chinese-Scotch-Irish-Jewish children with bloodline fever. I won’t force them to choose among ill-fitting racial uniforms,” this is his statement in his wedding thinking about his children fearing they would encounter the same burden that he had during his days of soul searching but it’s a part of growing up and being mature. The only thing that should be learned in the end is that all must appreciate life and live it to its fullest with respect and acceptance regardless of its root.

Conclusion

            It is true that skin color has a lot of meaning. It reflects a person’s identity, culture, beliefs, tradition and history. It can also bring a lot of misconception to someone. Who can say that a person has Chinese blood in her veins if her hair is blonde? Is it through her small eyes or Caucasian skin? How can you determine a Chinese from Japanese? Despite of the differences that people gain from interracial union, the writer believes one must know his/her heritage that no matter where a person came from. Multiple or single race, self identity and its acknowledgement is very important. It is our personal description. Different groups are formed but mix-raced individuals can always have a way to fight against their inner fear of insecurity and find a way to belong in society.

            Is it cultural or social difference? It doesn’t matter. No one can ever judge someone because of their color and past. What is a race? What is its true essence? Does it promote individualism or should it be that all must be treated as one?

            The dilemma remains and different studies had been generated regarding racism, social discrimination and other unrest topics lingering us but aside from all these, the writer believe that if we all work together to bridge all the gaps and break all walls, no one will be alone.

References

1.)               PEARL FUYO GASKINS (1999) In The Mix, San Francisco Chronicle

<http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/11/28/SC84737.DTL> viewed 28 January 2008.

2.)               J.J. Hong, S.R. Woody (2007) Cultural mediators of self-reported social anxiety,

Behavior Research and Therapy 45

3.)               Study: students of mixed race suffer more health problems – Noteworthy

News  Black Issues in Higher Education,  Nov 20, 2003
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.

< http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0DXK/is_20_20/ai_111529997 > viewed 28 January 2008.

4.)        J.H. Liu, S. Miller Campbell and H. Condie (1995) Ethnocentrism in dating preferences for an American sample: the ingroup bias in social context. European Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 25,95-115

5.)        <http://www.frey-demographer.org/reports/Rainbownation.pdf> viewed 27 January 2008

6.)        Sapna Cheryan and Galen V. Bodenhausen (2000) When Positive Stereotypes Threaten Intellectual Performance: The Psychological Hazards of “Model Minority” Status, American Psychological Society, p. 399-401.

7.)          Eric Liu (1999) The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, Vintage

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