Chinese families are highly misunderstood and stereotyped in the United States. It is important to understand a different culture before one makes the assumptions produced by these stereotypes. In order to find a better understanding about Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans, one must do research on that countries heritage, traditions, and other customs before submerging one-self into a Chinese families home. I chose to experience and observe a Chinese family who was kind enough to let me be a guest in their home to share dinner.
The world is always changing which forces people to modify their ways of life. Some people label changes in society, politics, economics, technology, and fashion as modernization. One might say it is only natural for cultures to also go through modernization. The Chinese culture is very resilient to change because of the values they hold for their traditions and customs (Li & Mengyan, 2013). According to Guan, LÜ, and Yu (2012), Chinese culture is deeply rooted in respect for elders, social relationships, and overall harmony and honor. I think what many people do not take into account is the pressures many adolescent immigrants or Chinese-American offspring endure. In a case study of essays, many adolescents felt the stress of “struggling with high parental expectations and intergenerational conflicts at home and suffered acculturative stresses and ethnic peer divides at school” (Li, J., 2009). These children are very adaptive as are their families. What many people do not realize is that there are many ways in which one could accidentally disrespect the Chinese culture. Baldwin explains the key rules of simple dinner etiquette: “do not rest chopsticks vertical in bowl, okay to reach across the table, food served on communal plates, saucers are given for shells or bones, host may put food on guests plate with their own chopsticks, slurping soup is okay and polite, never clean your plate, but always finish all of the rice served directly to you, and never tap bowl with chopsticks (2011). Many of the latter are very minute details that an individual may act without realizing how rude they may seem. Which is why it is very important to research the customs of a different culture before interacting with each other.
The family I visited consisted of a mother, father, and daughter. They all greeted me very warmly. I followed their lead and made observations as to whether I should take my shoes off or leave them on. They provided a shoe rack where everyone already placed their shoes. I took mine off and placed them on the rack. After greeting me, the mother and daughter disappeared into the kitchen. The father guided me to the dining table and explained that dinner was almost ready. We sat at a round table that had a large wall hanging of Buddha. The daughter brought out some tea which she served first to her father and then me. The...