Why This Generation of Asian Americans Will Break Old Conventions

Why This Generation of Asian Americans Will Break Old Conventions

All the love to our immigrant parents and all they've done, but it's time for a change.

249
views

My parents both immigrated to America from Vietnam when they were teens. Not speaking a lick of English and dealing with the challenges of a new home, a ridiculously large family and the many obstacles that stemmed from war recovery and displacement, they struggled to adapt and fit in. Several decades later saw them with high paying jobs, settled down in the historically affluent and established city of Irvine, and having me. They had achieved their success story.

I consider myself lucky. I grew up in a beautiful neighborhood, never knew what true hunger was, and attended school in one of the best districts in the country. I was loved and had so many opportunities- piano lessons, tennis instructors, and the latest technologies (courtesy of my electronic-loving dad). It was textbook perfect.

However the 12 year old me who cried in confusion and frustration after being physically punished for "speaking out", and the 15 year old me who locked myself in the bathroom, throwing up because I didn't understand what an eating disorder was, and the 17-year-old me who ran miles in the cold to avoid going home because I kissed a girl but also liked boys, was confused. I loved my parents, I always did and I always will, but it felt like I never truly understood them, and them, me.

And it's not their fault, nor ours but it doesn't have to be this way, and it won't.

Subtle Asian traits is a Facebook meme page that has amassed close to half a million followers in just two months time. True to its name, the page features posts about growing up in an Asian household, and with many reaching upwards of 2k likes and thousands of submissions each day, it's insanely popular. I remember the first time one such post showed up on my newsfeed- it was a funny little thing about rushing to the piano when hearing your parents come home. I laughed, and tagged a friend. A few hours later, procrastinating and bored, I thought about it and revisited the comments. Many were joking about how they too had this reaction, and how they did this to avoid punishment. Thousands of people in my age group had this experience. And this is important. I know what you're thinking- "Really? She's going to bring a meme page into this?'" Yes, yes I am. This is because pages like this are signifying a growth and spread of a changing viewpoint on what it means to be true to your culture, while also creating a new narrative for generations to come.

Many millennials and Gen Z's often talk about the flaws of the older generation, and this is a conversation that is quite important to have within the Asian community. Although they have faced an incredible amount of hardships and trials, many still have a problematic viewpoint on race, sexuality, and mental health. My parents are no strangers to this. Although they can be considered progressive in many ways, having adopted a more Westernized approach to raising a child and maintaining income, they still hold on to troublesome ideals: the belief in physical punishment being effective, and the summation of mental health as being 'dramatic' chief among them.

This isn't an abnormality. Many of my friends, my roommates, and my younger family members share the same frustrations when talking to and discussing their own parental figures. This lack of understanding of the older generation's part stems from the prioritization of physical needs over abstract concepts (by necessity) and the historically conservative mindset of an old tradition. Although this mindset was helpful in establishing communities and a place for themselves in a new country, it has proved to be troublesome when put up against the more diverse and accepting narrative of our generation.

I'm here to say that this struggle is good. The fact that a meme page about relatable Asian experiences has grown so fast, is good. The record-breaking amount of young Asian-American voters turning out at this latest election is incredible, and the fact that we are recognizing our heritage through language, holidays, and tradition is a sign that it is possible to stay true to one's beginnings while also changing the narrative to one of acceptance and diversity.

For those of you who are reading this now, and are mentally nodding along with the descriptions of growing up Asian, I'd like to send you a virtual hug. It's hard, growing up with high expectations, strict standards about body image, and difficult conversations but, I'd like to implore you to think about the last time you had a discussion with your parental figures about what is troubling you- either personally or in the context of society. We, as a general population, are heading towards a brighter future- stable income, and kids raised with understanding and acceptance. However, it also wouldn't do to simply brush aside the contributions our parents and grandparents have put towards the future. Not everyone will be willing to hear about change, and that's okay, but it might not hurt too much to sit down and have a chat about it.

I am 20 now, and although my parents still joke about hitting me with a wooden spoon when I'm being particularly sassy, they are more understanding of my sexuality and my vision for myself and my future. It wasn't an easy process, but I love them and I want them to be included in the growing positivity of this new generation.

Popular Right Now

12 Things Young Republicans Are Tired Of Hearing

A dozen myths about conservatism and what the real deal is.

3437
views

As a college student, I know a lot of people my age consider themselves very liberal. It's a rare occasion when you meet another conservative on campus. Being a young Republican, there are several negative assumptions that come along with that.

Here is a list of 12 things we're all tired of hearing.

1. "You're only a Republican because your parents are."

Yes, my parents are both Republican and that's where my morals and beliefs were first taught, but I am my own person. I have done my own research and decided that my views side with the Republican Party. There are several things that even my parents and I disagree on. I wouldn't choose to be a Democrat just so I could be different.


2. "I bet you support Trump."

While many Republicans my age are supporting Trump, that doesn't mean we all are. We're entitled to our personal opinions and assuming we're all the same is incorrect. Just because you are a Republican doesn't mean you automatically support Trump.

3. "You're racist, sexist, etc."

This couldn't be farther from the truth. There are so many Republicans that come from unique racial and cultural backgrounds, both genders included. Take Marco Rubio, Condoleezza Rice, Ben Carson, and Bobby Jindal. These are just a few of the many, many examples.


4. "You're uneducated about the issues."

Just because someone has a different opinion than you doesn't mean they're wrong or uninformed.


5. "You're only a Republican because you're rich."

I am by no means rich. Did my parents have enough money to support their family? Yes, and I'm very blessed for that. However, they didn't pay for everything. As for college, I worked my butt off to get scholarships and opportunities to succeed. I was taught at a very young age that money requires work and things aren't just handed to you. That's exactly the reason why I strongly support capitalism.


6. "Why don't you want free college?"

NOTHING IS FREE. Would free college be awesome? Absolutely! However, I do not believe it's fair to tax working people to pay for it. If you want something, work for it.


7. "The GOP is a bunch of old, white men."

This is so untrue. I mean take a look at all the well-known conservatives in America. Lauren Conrad, Britney Spears, Carrie Underwood, Carly Fiorina, Condoleezza Rice, Megyn Kelly, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and so many more. Point proven.


8. "You're close-minded."

This is the most common and most annoying. Conservative does not equal close-minded. I love hearing about different ideas and opinions.


9. "You hate immigrants."

I personally feel like our immigration system is broken and needs to be changed so it's more accessible to become an American citizen. However, I don't believe those here illegally should receive taxpayer benefits. I'm all for immigration as long as it's done legally.


10. "You don't support women's rights."

Usually, this is brought up when talking about abortion. What about the rights of the unborn child? It's not just about one person's rights at that point.


11. "You should just #FeelTheBern."

#NO. I do not support socialism.


12. "You only hear the Fox News version."

Fox News is my favorite choice of news programs, but I also enjoy hearing the different views on CNN, NBC, Huffington Post, etc.


Cover Image Credit: Texas State University College Republicans

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

There Are No More Government Shutdowns On The Horizon For Now, But The Future Is Unknown

Can the government shutdown occur again?

17
views

A $333 billion spending bill has been made for President Trump to sign to prevent any further government shutdowns. The bill says little about the broader the president is demanding to build. Other border security ideas are mentioned and funding for some departments that have been neglected because of the shutdown.

As for the border, there are some provisions. Texas' Rio Grande Valley border has built a 55-mile "pedestrian fencing" which cost about $1,375 billion. Trump is willing to sign this deal but also making an executive order by declaring a national emergency to get the border wall he wants. He explained it by saying, "We're going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we're going to do it one way or the other." He says we have to take action fast in order to stop the smuggling of drugs and human trafficking, which he says Mexico is responsible for.

President Trump is making a total of $8 billion dollars, spending from the executive order, national emergency, and the congressional appropriations bill. Senates leaders have given their opinion on it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have given their statement, "The President's unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation."

This declaration of emergency is going to court, to make sure it is legal. Many leaders have opposed saying this is a fake emergency. Declaring an emergency lets the POTUS move around some money in the military-construction funds a total of $3.6 billion. That money will have to pull from other fundings to gain it. If Trump does not get his desired wall, we can expect another government shutdown.

Related Content

Facebook Comments