Other People's Thoughts On Obama, China, And Being Chinese American

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I was reading this article in the AP about some of the thoughts from people on Obama's Asia trip and the link between the U.S. and China:

David Zhang came to America in 1985 looking for freedom and opportunity. "What I dream of here I couldn't even dream of in China: cars, a house, a good, decent job. I could dream that here, and I realized it. Now in China, all these things we accomplished, they have accomplished."

Zhang, a pathologist at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and president of the Association of Chinese American Physicians, leads regular delegations of American doctors to his homeland. He collaborates with China on cancer research and clinical trials and is urging his hospital to enter the Chinese health care market.

"As Chinese physicians, we meet with the (Mount Sinai) board of trustees regularly. Ten years ago you don't even dare speak to them," he said.

Yet many Chinese-Americans fear that China's rise could create a backlash. They still have painful memories of Vincent Chin, the Chinese-American beaten to death in 1982 by two unemployed Detroit autoworkers as Japanese cars were beginning to decimate the American auto industry.

"That kind of hate crime, senseless hate crimes, would happen if the countries' relations are not very good. So on a personal level, Chinese-Americans are always very anxious," said Min Zhou, a sociology professor at UCLA and author of "Contemporary Chinese America." "

As China's economy has grown, she said, "sometimes I would hear people say, even jokingly, 'Oh, you're taking our jobs away.' When I hear this, I feel, 'Who am I? I'm American.'"
When I read these types of articles they always make think about having that sense of pride and awe in a country where you have roots while at the same time feeling and breathing who you are as an American and sometimes I wonder about where we - as Asian Americans - fit into that greater world model.

I don't really know.

Just pondering that thought I guess.