a simplified and standardized conception or image invested with special meaning and held in common bymembers of a group:
The cowboy and Indian are American stereotypes.
When you think of Asian Americans, the standard stereotypes come to mind: nerd, geek, model minority, and now, Tiger Mom. Are we these images? Of course not. That being said, if we Asian Americans had a nickel for every time someone (ahem, our parents) pushed us to be doctors, scientists or engineers, that would pay for our children’s college educations.
I’m more interested in exploring Asian Americans who took the path less traveled be it careers that are not “safe” and depend on their creativity, multi-cultural families, and frankly how we are all juggling this conundrum of assimilation versus maintaining our cultural heritage and identity. I want to hear people’s stories and find new role models for this new generation for whom the world is at their feet. Does this mean they have to speak Mandarin? I don’t know but let’s find out.
Are you in? This is not really a club, you know…
I was inspired by The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan when trying to conceive the name (which my sister came up with. Thank you sis!). I remember when it first came out, I bought the hard cover book which was a lot of money for me at the time (yes, absolutely aging myself!). This was the first time I could see myself and my world in a book. And it’s been deeply satisfying to see this genre grow. And now I see the beginnings of an Asian American children’s literature trend as well. Exciting stuff!
My background is 1/2 Japanese and 1/2 Chinese which was an unusual mix even growing up in Seal Beach, California. And then I married a Korean … So our three children are 25% Japanese (4th generation), 25% Chinese (3rd generation,and 50% Korean (2nd generation). And yet, I speak very little Japanese or Chinese although I was forced to go to Chinese school when I was little and took a few courses in Japanese here and there.
As for me, I did the Ivy League thing (Harvard) and then the MBA thing (The Anderson School at UCLA). I applied my creativity to business as an entrepreneur and when that wasn’t enough, I started blogging. First as a mommy blogger (Pragmatic Mom) and then this one.
So let’s you and I have a conversation and explore what it means to be Asian in America. I suspect that it will be different for each of us. I am looking forward to this journey together.
p.s. Can you help me discover more Asian Americans who have successfully made their careers from their creativity? Underground ones that need discovering! Much obliged.