Being Asian American is more not less
Spontaneous combustion of ideas are so much more exhilarating than a predictable routine to me. And the conversations lit up my switchboard and I want to share one of them with you.
Yesterday I’m chatting over late afternoon tea with a couple of new friends from connections via Telos Ventures (and I’d venture to say you’ll be hearing more about them in the years ahead, or sooner) and the conversations overflowed to dinner from a gracious family’s hospitality. And there was something wonderful and cozy about being in a home instead of a restaurant. The chance meeting was quite a divine appointment, as that echoed the host’s devotional that morning.
I have greater hope for this next generation of Asian Americans than ever (and that’s where I want to give of my time and energy). I believe that being Asian American is more, not less, than being either Asian only or American only.
Being bicultural had been perceived as a liability, because it felt like not fitting in anywhere. Perception doesn’t have to define reality. Let’s reframe that.
In a fast-changing world that we find ourselves in with global travel and increasingly accelerating connectivity via mobile and social, bicultural means built-in agility to adapt into more contexts than someone monocultural.
And becoming culturally adaptable is not something you can acquire through the education of book learning or get training for. I’ve been pondering that it can only be developed through life experience. The ones that have to live in multiple cultures before age 21 will have innately honed skills via nurture that post-21 people will be notably lagging.
The wealth of life experience, educational attainment, and financial status of accomplished Asian Americans could in due time do so much more good than ever, a bigger dent in the universe, a bigger difference, a greater contribution, or whatever metaphor that calls out this percolating potential. Gaining for oneself is far less satisfying than giving of oneself for the blessing of many.
James Choung has noted this prediction:
Historians William Strauss and Neil Howe studied American generations as far back as 1584. Based on their findings, they took some guesses at what future generations would look like. … In their book Generations, they predicted that Asian Americans would be “a major cultural and intellectual force” by 2025 — like the German descendants in the 1880s and 1890s, and their Jewish counterparts of the 1930s and 1940s.