This essay provides an insight into the impact of Asian culture in shaping the values among Asian-Americans. It focuses on its effect on factors such as decision-making, conformity, willingness to seek social support, personal display of emotions, and outcome on particular tasks. The essay brings out the element of collectivism as practiced in Asian culture, which is perceived to influence the lives of Asian Americans to a great extent. A primary issue noted in the essay is that this social group experiences a certain level of suffering due to its loyalty to familism. For instance, it is noted that Asian Americans often fail to access proper mental health due to the fear of embarrassing the family.
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The behavior of a person is often guided by his or her cultural values, norms, and ideologies. Culture encompasses a set of attitudes, ideas, and symbols that are shared by a particular group of people and are usually passed from one generation to another. What one community perceives as rightful behavior or act may not be acceptable by others. The understanding of one’s culture requires an inquiry into the reasons why he or she behaves or does things in a particular way. This essay analyzes the influence of Asian culture on decision-making, conformity to certain situations, willingness to seek social support, personal display of emotions, and the outcome of particular tasks among Asian Americans.
The influence of culture plays a significant role in the formulation of decisions. The perception of right and wrong within a certain community dictates how its people behave. Every culture upholds unique traditions and customs that guide how its members make decisions (Sklar, Pak, & Eltiti, 2016). Asian-Americans practice collectivist culture, which advocates for group thinking as a way of encouraging practices that are in the best interest of the community. Although many factors such as age and level of education also play a vital role in decision-making, Asian-Americans seek approval from elders, especially when contemplating on issues that may affect society. For instance, the decisions of Asian-Americans who still follow the traditional Asian lifestyle are based on the endorsement of their intentions by the elderly in the family (Zhai, 2017). Asian culture’s inclination to familial interdependence influences the way parents to treat their teenagers. In Asian American society, parents choose marriage partners for their children to preserve the image of the family.
Asian Americans also have a special regard for education. One’s academic performance and ability to excel in certain areas of education is highly commended in this community. This behavior is attributed to the authoritarian lifestyle practiced in Asian culture. Indeed, a distinguishing feature between Caucasian Americans and the Asian American community is the concept of independence versus interdependence (Zhai, 2017). While the former embrace autonomous decisions, the latter has high regard for collectivism and greatly influence the choices of their children.
Asian culture dominates intimate relationships within the Asian American community. Many traditional Asian families still hold on to aboriginal matrimonial practices and highly disregard sex before marriage. While many people cannot stomach engaging in matrimony with an unfamiliar partner, it is a respected norm among Asian Americans. Most folks perceive this practice as a forced relationship, but it is viewed from a completely different angle among members of the community. Studies have shown that Asian Americans have the highest percentage of marriage (66% as compared to 60% for Whites) and the least likelihood of divorce (4% versus 11% for Whites) owing to the matrimonial traditions governing their relationships (Lee & Zhou, 2020). Interdependency among Asian Americans is perceived as a way of exercising full control over the individual; however, it is the same practice that influences their probability of conforming to Asian culture. According to Liu and Xie (2016), Asian Americans academically outperform Whites and have the highest percentage of graduates at both high school and college levels. Their prosperity is linked to the attitudes of the Asian people to seek greater knowledge not only for academic reasons but also for the industry.
Asian culture has constantly shaped the display of personal emotions among Asian Americans. A recent study that was conducted to examine the behavior of students in college revealed a noticeable contrast between how Asian American learners responded as compared to Whites and Blacks. The survey showed that Asian Americans were highly agreeable, less confident, lighthearted, and disinclined to express strong opinions despite conceding that they faced a serious social issue of racial discrimination (Liu & Xie, 2016). They would rather consider conceivable reasons or justifications and recognize them as unverifiable than oblige to anyone’s opinion. Cultural display determines the expression of emotions, depending on the involved social situation. Familism, as present in the collectivist Asian culture, plays a central role in ensuring closeness, loyal relationships, mutual respect, and emotional support among members of the Asian American community (Lee & Zhou, 2020). Out of the respect they have for their families, they fail to display or seek emotional attention from other social groups.
Many Asian Americans have developed emotional problems, perhaps due to conditioned familial interdependence, and feel shameful and distressed while seeking help. As such, they often suffer from stigma-related mental illnesses because they do not access psychiatric treatment as other racial or ethnic groups in America. According to Hui and Lent (2018), American Asians tend to count on family to solve issues, which limits their willingness to seek assistance from other sources. Another element that prevents Asian Americans from seeking social services is their inclination to family values. Despite acculturation, most of them have failed to detach from the traditional Asian culture and show a negative attitude towards psychological help from psychotherapists (Hui & Lent, 2018). Many times, an American Asian individual would seek advice from his or her closet family members despite being a legitimate citizen who understands the norms and values of American society.
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Although the above interpretations show how Asian culture has shaped the Asian American community over the years, it would be unjust to assume their qualities deviate from those of other social groups because of biased interpretations and limited scope of research. It is important to note that many people belonging to this community practice collectivism, and, thus, are entangled in the chains of family ties and traditions. For this reason, individuals may or may not make autonomous decisions, show emotions, reach out for support, and conform to certain behaviors. The likelihood that other factors such as age and level of education also matters notwithstanding the reasoning that cultural background shapes how a person responds to particular situations.
Hui, K., & Lent, R. W. (2018). The roles of family, culture, and social-cognitive variables in the career interests and goals of Asian American college students. Journal of counseling psychology, 65(1), 98.
Lee, J., & Zhou, M. (2020). The reigning misperception about culture and Asian American achievement. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 43(3), 508-515.
Liu, A., & Xie, Y. (2016). Why do Asian Americans academically outperform Whites? –The cultural explanation revisited. Social Science Research, 58, 210-226.
Sklar, Q. T., Pak, J. H., & Eltiti, S. (2016). Parent-child closeness and acculturation in predicting racial preference in mate selection among Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 7(4), 265.
Zhai, F. (2017). Cultural orientation, parental nurturance, and parent-child conflict among Asian American parents in New York City. Children and Youth Services Review, 76, 1-9.