AsianArt and Literature
AsianArt and Literature
PartI Put your identity in a larger historical and sociological context. The following questions might help:
What events and experiences in history have influenced your identity?
Oneof the historical events that has influenced my life is about theearly immigrants to the United States. The first Chinese Americanswere immigrants who moved to the United States in the 19thcentury. Most were Chinese men laborers who worked on thetranscontinental railroads and mines. They suffered from racialdiscrimination as their skin color was different and were referred toas “Yellow Perils” ("Chinese Americans", 2016). Theywere eager to get employed, and the managers of the industries tookadvantage of this and paid them lesser than their Americancounterparts. Many Chinese therefore, were employed on low wages asemployers preferred them to the ‘expensive’ Americans. This moveby the employers made labour and political organizations uniteagainst the Chinese immigrants who they regarded as cheap labour andinferior race. In 1882, the Congress was forced to pass the ChinesExclusion Act that prohibited any more Chinese immigrants for thenext ten years. In 1892, the law was further extended following theadoption of the Geary Act ("Chinese Americans", 2016). TheChinese men who were already in America could not have their familiesjoin them creating despair. They also suffered psychologically andsocially because they were not allowed by law to marry white women orown lands. Discrimination pushed the Chinese to stay together andthey formed settlements that later become known as China Towns.
Chineseimmigrants were ineligible for citizenship and were excluded for avery long time. In 1940, during World War II, China and U.S becomeallies, and that’s when some positive changes began to occur("Chinese Americans", 2016). The unity in the war madeAmerica change the restrictions on Chinese, and they were allowed tocome to the U.S again. After the War was over, discrimination againstthe Chinese began to reduce, and they were allowed back into society.Currently, In America, Chinese numbers surpass any other immigrantswith a large percent of the Chinese American being born in the U.S.and thus knowing very little about their traditional Chinese culturebecause they have accepted the American culture ("ChineseAmericans," 2016). The experiences of the first ChineseAmericans created a work hard culture together with the traditionalChinese values that encourage success by working hard.
How do things such as race, class, and gender shape your everyday experiences, socioeconomic status, job opportunities, treatment by others, etc.?
Formany years, all people of Asian origin despite being from differentcountries such as Japan, Taiwan, and China are viewed as one. TheChinese, however, being the largest segment represented in the grouphave a different view among the Americans. Currently, ChineseAmericans in the U.S are among the highest educated immigrants with alarge number of them moving to the U.S at least with one degree. Mostmove to America in search of better life and education that theybelieve to better that in their country. The Chinese Americans mostlook for success through education and career. The majority of thembelieve that hard work pays off and pursue higher education. Theyalso emphasize on working on family ties as well as careers.
Inmost parts of the United States, the Chinese Americans are no longerdiscriminated. Many have been assimilated by most of the population.The outstanding achievements in education and career have seen theChinese American gain respect. Most have high levels of educationwith the majority having at least one university degree. Most comefrom medium and high-income families, but there another population ofChinese Americans who have poor backgrounds.
TheChinese Americans not being different in skin colour from the whitesallows them not to be discriminated by race. A significant percentageof Chinese-American families have American spouses and the childrenborn in the U.S practice both cultures allowing them to blend easilywith the whites. The culture of hard work and close family ties allowChinese Americans to be easily accepted for jobs that persons fromother origins would not be offered.
PartII: Since this class is about art and literature (as well asperformance), respond to the following:
Have art, literature, performance, and other creative endeavors been important in the larger historical and sociological contexts that you described in Part II? Explain why or why not.
Creativearts and literature have not played a large role in the influence ofChinese Americans view to the U.S. However, parts of their culturalarts have created awareness of their presence and attracted someinterest among the Americans. China Town in the U.S is filled withdeep Chinese culture and art (Changfu, 2008). A town is a placewhether one can find traditional Chinese art, food and othermaterials that are of Asian origin.
TheChinese cultural festivals have a lot of art and culture infused tothem. For example, The Festival of The New Year celebrated every yearin the U.S has created awareness of the Chinese culture. Chinese artlike porcelain making and design lead the products to be known as‘China’ all over the world because of the origin. Literature textlike the Art of War by Sun Tzu, a Chinese general and philosopher hasbeen read all over the world by military and business people alikeall over the U.S and the world (Changfu, 2008). Chinese movies anddances that are rich in culture and art have attracted a lot ofattention. This is was well demonstrated with the opening of theatrethat performs and teaches Chinese traditional dances.
Do you consider yourself an “artist” (or writer, performer, etc.)? Explain why or why not.
Iwould consider myself an artist as I have written a few poems andshort stories. I have a personal book that I write about my view ofthe world as a teenager and short poems as a way of expressions. Thepoems are free to style written and have no formal arrangement. Mostare incomplete and just a few lines long as inspirations change orfade away. However, I am still interested and might one day finishsome and present them. I have also tried to draw few drawings andabstract art in my earlier years of education. I have a few drawingsI have done at home, however, I am not much of an artist in thevisual art of drawing. Poem writing and drawing are somewhat hobbiesthat I use to pass the time or express myself. Therefore, I would notconsider myself a full-fledged artist. In performance art, I hadjoined a dance group one before but I was not good at dancing. Lackof extreme talent in art does not stop me from being art conscious asI appreciate various forms of visual art, literature and performanceart like traditional Chinese dance.
Do you believe you have a role in changing the larger historical and sociological contexts that you described in Part II? Explain why or why not.
Ibelieve that I can change some of the stereotypic ideologies thatpeople have about Chinese Americans through interaction. The commonperception that the Chinese do not know to speak English can bestopped if I interact with other people and speak proficient English.The perception that all Chinese or Asians are good in mathematics andexcess only in education discourage Chinese that may not display ahigh amplitude in education. I believe that through socialinteraction in the formal and informal setting can assist me tochange people’s perception of the Chinese and Asians at large.
Thehistorical context, however, cannot be changed as one cannot changethe past. However, history should be a source of inspiration andadmiration of how people with Chinese origins, especially the firstimmigrants underwent hardships and still made it through. I believethat I can also change the perception of people by stating positiveaspects of the history of Chinese Americans living in the UnitedStates.
Changfu,C. (2008). Chinese Americans and American Society. ChineseStudies in History, 41(3),3-22. http://dx.doi.org/10.2753/csh0009-4633410301
ChineseAmericans.(2016). Hoover.archives.gov.Retrieved fromhttp://hoover.archives.gov/exhibits/China/Chinese_Americans/index.html#today