‘The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority’ by Ronald Takaki and ‘Growing up Asian in America’ by Kesaya E. Noda are both essays that depict the state of Asian immigrants in America. The authors are both Asian Americans themselves and their words bear fruit from a lifetime of personal experiences of being a viewed upon as an alien in their own land.
Ronald Takaki was Japanese- American whose forefathers had immigrated to Hawaii to work in the sugar plantations. Having grown up in Hawaii among other Asian Americans and Hawaii Islanders, Robert never felt out of place. Why would he? He always blended in. It wasn’t until Robert moved to Ohio to attend college that he realized the truth behind how he looked. He was one of only two Asian Americans in the university. He stood out and soon this experience set him on the path of finding his identity as an Asian and as an American.
Kesaya E. Noda is a third generation Japanese American. Even though she was third generation, having fully assimilated into American in her mind the world around her did not consider it so. She was constantly reminded of how she looked and how everyone else looked.
Both essays highlight how the authors felt as outsiders growing up. Both were exposed to various stereotypes and write on how the stereotypes are time again permeated across societies. Asian Americans are viewed as the ‘Model Minority’. Asian Americans have high rates of admission into institutions of higher education, low rates of drop outs and also higher grades across all groups. Asian Americans also have higher average annual incomes than other groups. Asian Americans also figure lower in crime rates. Their also hold very low poverty rates. All these figures have led to Asian Americans being touted as the Model Minority.
Most immigrants coming to Chinatown with a language barrier are confined to here and cannot go outside into mainstream American industry, said an immigrant. Before I was a painter in Hong Kong. But I cannot do that here. I do not have license or education. I have to make a living so it’s dishwasher, janitor or cook [The Harmful Myth of Asian Superiority, Ronald Takaki]
Ronald Takaki highlights that although there are instances of success within the Asian American community, the figures need to be viewed objectively. Many Asian Americans immigrants though highly educated in their home countries end up taking lower paying positions when they come to America. Many Professionals end up as shopkeepers and small business owners that although find success in their fields are still stepping down from what they are qualified for. People in Chinatown, Korea town and Japan town across America often stay within the community and don’t even step out.
Several Immigrants run Laundromats and Grocery shops but often have the whole family working in the establishment. They even work longer hours, so the comparison of incomes between Asian Americans and other racial groups is not on equal terms. Even in the...