Asian is a pan-ethnic term which describes people from the Asian Continent, and island groups such as Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In the recent past, Asians have been grouped together with Pacific Islanders in terms of demographic data, despite the fact that residents of Samoa and Mongolia have about as much in common with each other as they do with any other ethnic group.
Asian American Groups/Resources
- See Asian under Ethnic and Cultural Organizations
- See Demographics
"Asian" in English generally replaces the word "Oriental," which connotes European Imperialism in Asia and which is deemed offensive by many. This has with the idea of the Orient (literally "the East") being defined in relationship to Europe (the west, "Occident," etc), as well as suggesting a strange, exotic, and sexual nature that may not be positive.
The Model Minority is a stereotype of Asian Americans as typically having higher success indicators than the general population. Indicators include higher income, greater family stability, more education, and lower crime rates.
Applied to Asian Americans, the "perpetual foreigner" paradigm is used to describe how the dominant American would see Asians as a novel group having only immigrated to the continental U.S. within recent years. "Recent" simply means enough to be regarded as foreigners and not being a member of American society.
Personal examples include subtle verbal cues such as being asked "How long have you been here?" or "Where are you from," and following up by asking more questions such as "No, I mean, what country are you from?" or "Where are you really from?" A particularly poignant example is noting that "you speak English so well" to a native-born Asian American.
This paradigm is why many Asian Americans hold their titles of "American" with intense zeal. A European American does not go through the trouble of attaching a prefix to their identity. This dual identity is especially important in many 2nd generation Asian Americans whose parents are refugees from the Vietnam War. Their parents are markedly "Asian" in that they have assimilated very little mainstream American culture, but being born in America, 2nd generation children confront experiences everyday involving their dual identities of Asian and American. Denying one but promoting the other is just another manifestation of the "perpetual foreigner" mindset.
Asian immigrants played an active role in the early years of California. The mighty transcontinental railway, built in part by these hard workers, reached Davis in 1868, connecting the local farmlands to the rest of the country.
The majority of early Asian settlers were of Chinese descent. After the railroad was built, several "Chinese laundries" opened up in Davisville. Laundry work was one of the very few career options available to the ethnic minority. In the early 1900s, Chinese and Chinese Americans made up about 5% of the town's population. Only one laundry facility remained by 1904; the building doubled as a hiring agency that distributed workers throughout local ranches; many of these workers were from San Francisco, and they traveled to Davisville upon hearing of a demand for labor. A Chinese Saloon existed for a short time after 1900 in a building near the laundry.
During World War II, Davis actively supported the Japanese Internment by a city council vote. The vote was not without detractors, including Fred T. Korematsu. Many years later in 2005, the council recognized his efforts fighting the World War II Japanese internment and playing a part in the redress movement by naming the Fred T. Korematsu Elementary School after him.
Local professor Darrell Hamamoto garnered national attention for his two movies Skin on Skin and Yellowcaust: A Patriot Act. They were both pornographic works that focused on issues that Asians face in the United States.
- Wikipedia AsianAm article
- Southeast Asia Resource Action Center
- Asian and Asian American Page Title Debate
- Does this meet muster? Stereotypes were kept, but minimized, to give insight to Discrimination section and to educate Asians about their own identity. Contrary to popular belief, such sereotypes are still regularly used in Davis and can easily be used to justify discrimination. —EricWu
- Sure, if what you want is a page that's as plain-vanilla as a midwest small town. Look, I'm about as white as a man can be. English/Scottish/Irish with just a touch of Cherokee. But I've known literally hundreds of Asians/Asian-Americans. My best friend of 30+ years was a Shanghai immigrant. I lived 6 months on the economy in Japan. I've had Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Korean friends. I import goods directly from Taiwan. My company's electronics are assembled by a company run by Mien Tribesman-Americans in Sacramento. I attended a co-worker's traditional Indonesian wedding. My point? That the most interesting thing about the generalization "Asians" is the incredible diversity that the term should represent. The cultures are all different and also quite interesting to most non-Asians. So if you don't like the generalization "Asians" I hear you. I haven't used the term for 20 years. You don't all look the same to me. The sad thing is that if someone starts to actually describe the differences between Asian cultures, they run the risk of being called insensitive or prejudiced. If you're "Asian/American" and want to be better understood by others, maybe you could post some stories of your upbringing, family traditions and values. I think there would be lots of people that would enjoy reading them. -JimStewart
2006-10-16 11:33:31 You seem to think that this is Wikipedia. Your efforts would be better exerted there. It would really suck if DavisWiki turned into some crappier version of Wikipedia. This page is what all of DavisWiki would look like if that happened. —WilliamLewis