Chinese Culture And American Culture Essay

Chinese Culture And American Culture Essay

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As a professor who teaches American History in China through the Fulbright Program, and as a fourth generation Chinese-American, people always ask me, where can I feel the influence of Chinese culture and American culture respectively? It is a question difficult to answer. It is difficult that one needs to summarize his experience, that one does not know when he acts in Chinese or American ways, especially that one needs to reflect upon many questions which people seldom do.
In short, I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. My father is a policeman. Both of my grandfather and great-grandfather were farmers. My parents, who put great emphasis on education, sent me to the best middle school in Hawaii, probably one of the best in America, with high tuition fees.
Then I continued on to the University of Pennsylvania, and then the University of Hawaii, where I earned my master degree. I received my Ph.D. from University of Washington and another master degree from Yale Law School.
During the last 23 years, I have been teaching Early American History in MIT, Boston. Clearly, it is not a career that Americans would not normally choose, especially not Asian Americans, but not once in a blue moon. I have known four Asian Americans who also teach Early American History. Two of them were not born in America, one was born in Hawaii, and another in California, who now lives close to me in Boston. The ones born in America and I have similar educational backgrounds.
Where did my "Chinese characteristics" end and my "American characteristics" start? That is a difficult question. It requires me to contemplate my life which I have never done before. First, it is definitely not my way of doing things. People familiar with me will point out how impulsive...


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...ocus more on gifts.
Is it the Chinese or Christian tradition that influences our decisions and ways of doing things? You might well argue that my parents were doing things in Chinese ways as they were always strict with children 's education. This could be right, but it is also what many American parents are doing now. These parents know that higher education and hard-working can make life easier. My father insisted that receiving higher education can save one from working day and night in knee-high muddy waters, surrounded by sweet potatoes. However, I am not those students described as "models of minority students" by America medias. Those articles often places a model minority stereotype on Asian Americans: hard-working students, law-abiding citizens, and successful businessmen. In fact, before pursuing my master degree, I had never fully concentrated on studying.

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