Cultural Problem of Chinese Immigrants Revised
Problem – Solution Research Essay
This research paper will cover the cultural integration of the Chinese immigrants that enter the United States. The central issues that most of these immigrants face are a language barrier and cultural differences. According to Bhugra, whenever individuals migrate to another nation, they carry with them their culture, knowledge and expressions from their homeland (129). The author reveals that: “they attempt to settle down by either assimilation of biculturalism.” The migration is usually attributed to economic reasons because most immigrants seek to better their lives. Some, however, choose to resettle in such foreign countries because of political reasons or education.
Xie, Xia, and Zhou explain that in the process of Chinese immigrants adapting to the cultural environment, they sometimes end up reestablishing their social groupings through common associations. The authors argue that if such immigrants get support from the locals and individuals from China as the homeland, it facilitates their cultural adaptation process (216). The presence of home nations can be advantageous because it allows them to maintain their affiliation with their heritage culture as they seek to blend in with the host culture. Cultural integration is, however, a challenging task that demands a high level of determination, and support if it is to be fruitful and sustained.
The population of Chinese immigrants in the US has been on a constant rise. This plight makes up the largest group of Asian community living in the North American nation. Xie and Xia report that the number of these Chinese immigrants is at two million. This number was revealed by the 2000 census (203). This rising number must be faced by some challenges as they settle into the foreign land because of differences in culture and language. According to past research, the immigrant Chinese population has been facing conceptualized adaptations of sociocultural environments that are usually multifaceted in terms of patterns and strategies (Stevens, Masgoret, & Ward para 2). As such, there is a need for these people to adapt to their current environment by choosing to adjust to the environmental conditions. They also gave the option of choosing to remain a close-knit community and only associating to those that share the same language and culture.
The Existence and Seriousness of the Issue.
Background and Build Up
My family and I came to The US about a decade ago. The “American” dream that was a driving force to us was that of instant wealth and legendary living. Personally, such vivid imaginations gave me hope and made me understand the need for the adventure across the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, the luster of our dreams soon faded and as sojourners, our scramble for survival in this foreign country became harder by the day because of our cultural differences. The need for sociocultural integration was great because our “home” people were not as many as the American citizens that we needed to associate with on a daily basis. Some of my family members could not speak English, I was my siblings, and I had been fortunate because we had had some English lessons before our departure to the United States.
Incident and Significance
The family strength of the Chinese population is one of their greatest strengths. I can argue that my family, as an example, is characterized by the unity that allowed us to sustain healthy relationships through the troubling times in the foreign country. The incidence of cultural difference from the American population was soon evident particularly when association with them was mandatory. Our migration and ultimate association with The American population involved changes in our economic, emotional and sociocultural adjustment needs. My siblings and I needed education meaning that we had to go to school. Faced with fears of racism and language barrier among others, the experience as a Chinese immigrant was rather stressful. This experience is a significant indicator of the problematic adjustments our plight undergo as they try to settle in the United States. The highest significance is evident in the cultural integration problem.
Overview of the Solution Paragraph
The immigration process of the Chinese population can be argued to be mostly voluntary because of diverse reasons that are usually personal to them. The voluntary pursuit of their dreams in foreign lands has not been a non-problematic journey. Most face the hurdle of cultural differences (Xie, Xia & Zhou 216). The problem of cultural integration can be encountered adequately if the Chinese immigrants choose to associate with the American nationals even if they continue to associate with individuals of their home country. I have witnessed my siblings strive to associate with other members of their class to learn more about their culture and reduce the language barrier. The association allows them to pick up some of their manners as they learn to do them as good as the locals. As such, it is evident that the transition process of the plight of Chinese immigrants need to be given more focus to curb the hardships they face during this process. Schools can initiate student support groups to assist the Chinese sojourners to have an easier transition.
Summary of Research
There are many different reasons for the Chinese immigration in the United States including employment, and education among others. These individuals have however faced some problems in their transition process mainly because of sociocultural factors such as cultural differences and language barriers (Bhugra 129). The problem arises because the new residents feel that their daily undertakings and actions are incompatible with those of the locals, which feature very different cultures. The Chinese culture can be argued to be quite rich and is usually characterized by moral values and attachment to it. The differences in cultural assets from those of the locals have however led to the preference staying around their people instead of integrating with others and promoting cultural diversity (Xie, Xia & Zhou 216). The preference for the former is because it tends to be convenient and comfortable as compared to the latter.
The choice of some immigrants to live around their people can be attributed to the need to have a sense of belongingness in the foreign land. The Chinese settlers have however been witnessed trying to interact with local people especially in some public settings such as schools. However, after some time, they tend to opt for the comfort of their populations thereby minimizing the chances of sociocultural integration with the Americans (Xie, Xia, and Zhou 216). Some of the immigrants that have cited a preference for their homeland compatriots has been cited to be consequences of stereotypical experiences in their attempts to diversify their culture (Dollinger para 2-4). Entering the American classrooms and offices, however, demands that this plight tries harder to achieve cultural integration if they intend to experience an easier transition.
Benefits of the Solution to the Issue
In a survey I carried out, I found that Chinese students have few or no American friends and are not aware of campus activities such as extracurricular clubs or sporting events. The Chinese students ought to participate in these campus life events to make them mingle with the American students (Boutte 91). Instead, the foreign students often spend their free time in Chinese activities or associations. The reasons for the minimal relationship with American students were differences in political and cultural makeup between China and America.
Formation of a students’ body that embraces all diverse cultures will encourage participation irrespective of the background. Chinese students will be able to have a feeling of belongingness in the students’ organization. This association will promote integration among different cultures and ease the transition process (Hildebrand, Phenice, Gray, & Hines 19). The immigrants have also indicated barriers between themselves and American students when they were asked to do group work in class. They reported that the American classmates often criticized their English.
Alternative Solutions to the Issue
The other solution to the issue of cultural integration would be to stay around the Chinese population residing in the foreign country. Some of the Chinese immigrants enter the United States and settle in segregated settings called China Towns. These clusters have been emerging all over the country and are made up of Chinese families and individuals that choose to live on their own. This alternative solution is however not advised because it stagnates their development and provides a base for racial exclusion. If the immigrants choose to adopt this method to curb their problem of cultural integration, it will make the problem of language barrier worse. This choice is a temporary solution because at some point they will need to associate with the rest of the world, and the problem they have long postponed will still be looming.
Opposing Arguments to the Solution
The choice to of the Chinese immigrants to seclude themselves to a segregated community in China Towns can be advantages because it protects from racism and cultural pollution. Dollinger reports that immigrant Chinese students have had stereotypical experiences in academic settings. The reporter reveals that a survey in Indiana University exposed that Chinese students had a low level of integration with American students. They expressed that they preferred to associate with Chinese associations because of their culture. Some cite that working together with American students has been stressful for them leading to their preference to work with their people. Others have revealed that criticism of their language and culture has been too much to bear thereby leading to the choice of Chinese associations (para 2-4).
Benefits of the Solution to the Issue
The problem of cultural integration has been a recurring issue not typical to the Chinese immigrants only. Another community that have witnessed experiencing the same problem is the Indians. It has been reported that financial matters triggered the main reason for their immigration to America. The Indians, just like Chinese immigrants, are acutely concerned with their apparent cultures and how different they are from that of the Americans. As such, they also tend to adopt the segregation option as their transition strategy. Unlike the Chinese, they are however more strict and tend to associate less with the American people unless for economic and educational reasons (Jhaveri para 4-7). The two plights of immigrants can settle on segregation because they fear racism and cultural pollution.
Benefits of the Solution to the Another Community, The Gay
Just like the community of Chinese immigrants, the gay plight has had some problems with integration into the society. This group has faced challenges in their attempt to associate with the rest of the society because they face discrimination and stereotypes. Some people even consider them a taboo or religious failures (Nakamura, Chan and Fischer 248). The gay community, similar to the Chinese sojourners, has faced discrimination in the workplace and other public settings. This problem is mainly caused by traditions and beliefs (Sunhrajit 317). The marginalization of this group has been handled differently as they seek to integrate with the rest of the community. Some of them choose to be brave and attempt association with the “typical” community through association while others want a less confrontational solution and settle for segregation.
The benefit of choosing to integrate with the rest of the society despite the stigma some face is because it would lead to fewer cases of school dropouts, better chances of employment and enhanced mobility. The association with other people also reduces the risk of encountering targeted violence against the gay plight meaning that the decision would make their lives safer. For some of them, the initiative to keep contact with the “normal” community might lead to eventual acceptance, which in most cases reduces the gay plight’s cases of suicide (Subhrajit 319). The choice to segregate themselves from the “normal” and live within their gay society would also be beneficial in some aspects because it would save them from hostility and bullying in schools or workplaces among others. The segregation would also protect them from verbal harassment. The transition process through segregation has always been harder than the alternative, but sometimes it is the only solution that they can adopt because of factors such as safety.
An event, in the form an international student show or fair, can help in celebrating international students’ contributions to campuses and can help a domestic student learn about other cultures. This action would increase opportunities for significant transformative learning that are limited. The stakeholders should work hard to set a great annual event that showcase the contributions of their students and the diversity of the population with excitement, food and entertainment. There should be more interactive opportunities for international and domestic students to get together. The schools can also initiate Noon concert series for local students to perform folk/classical music from their home country. Such events will enhance integration and acceptance of diverse culture.
Bhugra, Dinesh. “Migration, Distress and Cultural Identity.” British Medical Bulletin, 69.1 (2004): 129-141
This article discusses the migration of people and the culture they carry across borders. The hypotheses examined suggest that whenever individuals move to foreign lands they end up feeling alienated. As such, they usually settle by assimilation although some choose biculturalism.
Boutte, G. S. Resounding Voices: School Experiences of People from Diverse Ethnic Backgrounds. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 2002. Print
This book uncovers the educational experiences of individuals that hail from different ethnic backgrounds. It is mainly a collection of information gathered by interviewing some people. The chapters provide insights into various cultural groups that are not outspoken.
Dollinger, Mollie. “Survey of Chinese Students at Indiana University Reveals Challenges of Integration” Tea Leaf Nation. 5 July. 2013. Web. 19 June. 2015. (http://www.tealeafnation.com/2013/07/chinese-students-in-the-u-s-describe-challenges-of-cross-cultural-friendship/)
This article is a report compilation of student experiences in Indiana University revealing the stereotypical experiences Chinese students face in university. The students chosen to participate in the research study were all born in China.
Hildebrand, V., Phenice, L., Gray, M., & Hines, R. Knowing and Serving Diverse Families (2nd Edition). Prentice Hall. 1999. Print
This book provides an up to date research that helps the readers in understanding how families and individuals can be diverse in terms of race, ethnicity and lifestyle. It includes research carried out by governments in promoting understanding of the household structure and diversity in culture.
Jhaveri, Arpan. “Asian-Indian Immigrants and Their Children in America,” n.d. Web. 19 June. 2015. (http://people.bu.edu/prothero/ia_immigrants.htm)
The article discusses the immigration of Asian-Indian immigrants and how they settle with their children in foreign nations such as the United States. It provides reasons for the migration across the Pacific and the cultural integration issues they face during transition.
Maydelle-Stevens, Elena, Anne-Marie Masgoret, and Tony Ward. “Problems of Psychological and Sociocultural Adaptation among Russian-Speaking Immigrants in New Zealand.” Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 30 (2007)
This journal article reveals the problems that some immigrants face, especially psychologically, as they seek to integrate themselves socioculturally with the host culture. The research conducted focuses on social policy implications in employment and education.
Nakamura, Nadine., Elic Chan & Benedikt Fischer, B. Hard to Crack”: Experiences of Community Integration amongst First-Second-Generation Asian MSM in Canada. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19.3 (2013): 248 – 256
The authors describe the homophobia that the gay community encounters in Canada, particularly from the Chinese community. The article explains that such barriers to integration are bound to affect the subject plight.
Subhrajit, Chatterjee. Problems Faced by LGBT People in the Mainstream Society: Some Recommendations. International Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies, 1.5 (2014): 317-331
The article discusses some of the challenges that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) have encountered in their attempt to integrate into the community. It highlights some of the actions that could be taken to solve such problems.
Xie, Xiaolin, Yan Xia and Zhi Zhou. “Strengths and Challenges in Chinese Immigrant Families.” Faculty Publications, Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Paper 55 (2004): 216
This book covers the issue of immigration into America. It focuses on the occurrence of the issue over the past three decades and how the landscape of culture has changed in terms of geoculture.