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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid