Asian American Identity: Marginalization, Fetishization and a Lack of Street Tongue - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1261 Words
Date:  2023-04-04


The paper addresses the Asian American identity of the immigrants in America from different parts of Asia, Oceania and their descendants as well as their descendants. The Asian Americans Have long been fighting to have their own identity despite being in America and not knowing the Asian and English languages. They lack the street tongue to flaunt with and strut. Asian Americans marginalization and fetishization has become a centre of focus for study in higher institutions. Most studies conducted are usually based on the ethnonational- interethnic comparison, but in this study, we seek to understand the only one specific group (Jins 66). The cultural nationalism quest sponsored creative and critical endeavours attentive to the effects of oppression like feeling marginalized and fetishized. The Asian Americans are fighting to gain their own identity- a quest for their national belonging, despite having a dynamic family and gender identity and another theme/symbols in their culture.

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Research has shown that it was challenging to emphasize on the Asian influences in the United States or a hybrid of the two by interpreting their identity by way of fidelity to communal politics or by the idea of unique artistic vision and whether to emphasize its consistency around cultural nationalism by demonstrating racial minoritization (Gale 12). Historical narrations have shown that Asian Americans' literary emphasized on the American empire and militarism rather than their culture, which steered literary and aesthetic production. Their fictions, memoir, poetry and songs and their encounter in the military affected them without leaving their homes. They have been influenced by postcolonial territorial imperialism. The term Asian American up to date is still confusing by a persistent heterogeneity effect about who it describes resulting in a repeated angry notice of Asian Americans.

The Asian Americans shift from literary criticism through a liberal rights-based notion of cultural-national belonging. Their literary works bids for the U.S civil society to recognize Asian Americans as legitimate citizens- subjects and cultural participants. Asian Americans still fight to maintain their Asian culture despite living the lifestyle of the Americans (Gale 19). For instance, Chin Yuen's daughter, Laura from the Eaton Spring Fragrance, her parents lived in a house furnished in American style and wore the American clothes but religiously observed the Chinese customs and their ideals of life as those of their forefathers. They betrothed their daughter Laura to the eldest son of the Chinese government school-teacher although Laura had a darling named Kai Tzu who was American-born. Some Asian Americans have already adopted the American culture and are comfortable living it like Mrs Spring Fragrance, who helps Laura get the love of her life.

Asian Americans explore gender dynamics differently from Americans. The women have no say in who they love or what they want their men to do. The girls have betrothed at a younger age, like 15 years like Laura was by her parents. In the No name woman by Kingston, the narrator's mother tells her of her aunt, the father's sister who committed suicide and people never mention her. It is as if she was never born. The Chinese community people felt as though she committed adultery when she got pregnant while her husband was away (Racheal 30). The woman had no choice in her husband, and when she got married, the husband left for America for a long time. Maybe she was raped, or she did agree to it or was coerced by a villager, but no one would listen to her. The villagers came that night she was giving birth and wanted to kill her. She was marked as an outcast in their society. The Asian women cannot take it upon themselves like other cultures to build their wings to enclose their courtyards but instead, they wait for their men. Unlike different cultures where women have a say, Asian American women listen to what their men tell them to do. The community and villagers have a say in their lives which is not the case in the Americans. They rule their own houses rather than letting an outside do so.

Most Asian Americans are struggling to stay loyal to their culture and question if they genuinely are Americans (Gale 44). In the no-no boy, the Japanese Americans boy, Inchiro, struggles to balance his loyalty to the Japanese culture, the parents and his country, the United States. He gets his name for giving no/negative answers to the American forces and the Japanese allegiance. In America, Inchiro is enraged by how their government treats the Japanese Americans in World War II. So he decides to go back to a country he does not know about and plunges in emotional abyss till Emi saves him. The Asian Americans feel they have been neglected by their government which only seeks to take advantage of them.

The Asian Americans have an identity crisis, especially for those born and raised in America, the descendants of the immigrants. They have no street language to flaunt with as African Americans do. Claire, from the Americans by Viet Thanh Nguyen feels she has no home she can go to unlike the father, Carver. The father wants to go back home, but Claire feels she has a Vietnamese soul which significantly disturbs her father. Claire has found a home in Vietnam, where she believes she can help those who need her help. The father bombed the place and is living in guilt. The writer hopes that America could deliver both freedom and bombs.


In summary, Asian Americans have established rubrics and literary canons of their pat practices. This way, they can know who they are as and what they stand for. The Americans know little of who they are as they feel it's only right if they pledge their allegiance to them and their culture. Having a cultural nationalism allows one to feel at home and have a sense of belonging. Otherwise, people will keep moving till they find the home where the heart belongs. Some Asians Americans live by their forefather's cultures and way of life while other Asian Americans have readily adopted the new American culture, which they feel comfortable with. Some way of life among the Asians seem cruel to humanity and America as a free world is trying to free them. It is now upon them to decide living the American way, or the Asian ways or to adopt both. Asian Americans, like Chan Yuen family, has embraced both lifestyles and incorporated them into their lives. Some have full allegiance to the Asian community in which they are ready to go back to their homes. What constitutes the Asian American culture is their way of living, dynamics, changing and conflictual perceptions.

Works Cited

Gale, C. L. (2016). A Study Guide for John Okada's" No-No Boy". Gale, Cengage Learning.,+C.+L.+(2016).+A+Study+Guide+for+John+Okada%27s%22+No-No+Boy%22.+Gale,+Cengage+Learning.

Viet Thanh Nguyen's "The Americans"

Ha Jin's "The House Behind a Weeping Cherry" Jin, Ha. "``the house behind a weeping cherry''." New Yorker-New Yorker magazine incorporated- 2008 (2008): 66.

Lee, Rachel, ed. The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature. Routledge, 2014.

Kingston, Maxine Hong. No name, woman. ABC, 1981.

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Asian American Identity: Marginalization, Fetishization and a Lack of Street Tongue - Essay Sample. (2023, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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