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

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukraine PM Warns Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid