News / USA

It's Hip to be Asian in the US

Sense of Pride Developing Among Young Asian Americansi
X
June 05, 2013 11:03 AM
Asian Americans growing up in the United States, especially in Southern California, are having a different experience than their counterparts 20 to 30 years ago. There is a growing sense of Asian American pride and a unique cultural identity that has made it “hip” to be Asian in the U.S. Elizabeth Lee reports from the largely Asian suburbs on the east side of Los Angeles.
Elizabeth Lee
Asian Americans growing up in the United States, especially in Southern California, are having a different experience than their counterparts 20 to 30 years ago.  There is a growing sense of Asian American pride and a unique cultural identity that has made it “hip” to be Asian in the U.S.

On any evening, after 9:00 p.m., college students and professionals pack the Factory Tea Bar.  But the bar serves no alcohol; there is only sweetened tea, often served with ice, milk and an import from Taiwan: large chewy tapioca pearls called boba.

“The boba place is unique to Asian people and so, if you want that Asian comfort, you come to a boba place," explained Tiffany Porter, a U.S-born Chinese-American, "and so you can feel at home with a lot of other Asian people.”

Porter is part of what sociologist Oliver Wang calls "the boba generation". 

“I think the boba generation, if you will, can span everything from today’s teenagers up through people probably my generation.  I’m in my early 40s now. It covers a good 20 years or so,” he explained.

Wang said in the last 20 to 30 years, what it means to be Asian in Southern California has changed. He said when he was growing up, Asian Americans felt invisible.

”We performed well academically but we weren’t necessarily at the top of the internal cultural hierarchy that existed within schools or within a community, and I think that’s been a huge shift in this area in the last 20 or 30 years," noted Wang.

Wang said this generation grew up seeing more Asian faces on television -- locally and through satellite.    

They are no longer stereotyped, he said, and they now can see how other Asians portray themselves -- as trendy, like in this music video Boba Life by comedians called The Fung Brothers.

 “I know boba is even more ubiquitous in Taiwan than here, but they don’t have the same culture built around it,” said David Fung, one of the Fung Brothers. 

Boba culture in Southern California has been embraced by people who came from across Asia, including Indonesian-American Lina Yaori who socializes at boba cafes.

“We like relaxing. We like chatting," she remarked. "And then we like to enjoy the drink.”

Chatchawat Rienkhemaniyom may be from Thailand, but he knew boba teas have widespread appeal.  That's why he opened the Factory Tea Bar.  Business is booming.

“Boba has become life, become one of their life, a part of their life,” he said.

And that Asian-American lifestyle is spreading across the U.S.

“On every college campus, there’s enough Asian people, there’s enough Chinese people,  Taiwanese people, where they’re going to have one boba shop no matter how crappy it is, and all the Asians know about it,” Andrew Fung stated.

Boba cafes have become a symbol of a cultural shift among Americanized Asians. They're still in touch with their ethnic roots but also take pride in being uniquely Asian American.

You May Like

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alice Zindagi from: Los Angeles
June 13, 2013 2:42 PM
I won't deny for a second that Asians of today have it much better than Asians of yesteryear had it. 100 years ago I would have had to relinquish my US citizenship if I wanted to marry an Asian man, so I'd say that's a pretty significant change. But to say that they're no longer stereotyped is grasping at invisible and idealistic straws. We still see jokes about small penises all over the media. We even have a modern version of the character Long Duk Dong--ever heard of Leslie Chow?

As good as it is for Asians, they're still the single most bullied group in the United States: http://www.abcsofattraction.com/blog/the-racist-bullying-crisis-why-54-of-asian-american-children-are-targeted-by-bullies/

Asians today have it better than they ever had it before, but we still have a long way to go. It's important to remember that we still need to cultivate an attitude of acceptance. I worry that packaging Asians away in clever little rice-paper boxes disguised as boba houses will only cultivate an idea of an Asian's "otherness."


by: JP from: LA
June 11, 2013 4:46 PM
Such naivety. She doesn't understand that white men, and by extension, all of America only accepts Asian culture through food, women, and martial arts.

It's like saying the popularity of Chinese takeout means Asians have been accepted by America.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid