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Cultural Factors In Asian American Students’ Stress

1337 words - 5 pages

Cultural Factors in Asian-American students’ stress
“Why only 99 points? What happened to the other one point?” In Confucian based societies, high academic achievements are expected commonly. As the epitome of someone who has two cultural backgrounds, I am the ambassador between Asian culture and American culture. Most of the time, both cultures are in accordance with each other, but sometimes their principles conflict with one another. According to the US Department of Education, Asian/ Pacific Islander students consistently achieved the highest GPA among all ethnicity from 1990 to 2005. However, there are scenes behind that glorious façade; due to cultural factors such as parental expectations and values, Asian-American students report higher level of stress.
Family is a substantial source of stress for Asian-American students. An outline by Shane Jimerson points out that Asian family structure is more extensive than American’s nuclear family structure. Asian families bond together and emotionally and materially help maintain the students’ grades. They assist the student with benevolent intentions, however, it sometimes backfires. For instance, since they contribute more, they expect higher results in return. Grades become not only a reflection to oneself, but of the whole family. The fear of disappointment establishes stress upon Asian-American students.
In contrast, Asian-American students are slightly different from the students in Eastern countries. In particular, United States’ students are more independent from their family (Dornbusch). Independency is emphasized in the Western ideals that were rooted by our founding brothers. This can be demonstrated in daily life, such as high school students working part-time job to support themselves economically. Also, not only have they had to maintain their job, but also they sometimes have to practice sports or musical instruments. While in an Eastern country like China, students’ only goal is to concentrate on schoolwork. In comparison, Asian-American student have more tension because they are involved in more extracurricular activities. Bower agrees that Asian-American students get torn between the desire to participate in their interests and the pursuit of an academic peak (Bower). Personally, I agree with Bower because American students have to concern numerous factors to get into a decent college, such as clubs, sports, SAT/ACT scores, GPA, and other activities.
Another cultural causes of stress in parenting style: Asians have a distinct parenting style from Americans due to value discrepancy. In Asian cultures, respect and obedience are the key in a household. One of the famous Chinese idioms explains the relationship between the parents and their children as, “beating is affection and scolding is love.” Asian parents play a demanding authoritative figure. In Chinese, the word “guan” is perfect concept for parents to treat their kids: it means love, control, and care (Seal). Parents...

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