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Unformatted text preview: Asian American Studies 3 Psychosocial Perspectives of Asian Americans George George DeVos University of California, Berkeley DeVos
JAPANESE--"being JAPANESE--"being oneself" is subordinate to acting in accordance with role expectations; and members of a family (for example, father, mother, eldest child, son, and daughter) have clearly defined roles. The role of the Japanese father is to be the head of the household. This role is irreproachably legitimate and dominant, demanding unquestioned respect from the child. The mother is expected to be deferent to and supportive of her husband. In playing her role as mother, she sees to it that her children develop a proper attitude toward their father. She demonstrates self control and avoids direct confrontation. Children growing up in these families are socialized to these role-appropriate male-female, husbandrolemalehusbandwife, father-mother, and parent-child relationships. fatherparentAMERICANS--relate AMERICANS --relate to each other in an intimate fashion without resorting to the playing of roles. "Be yourself," "Be open and honest," "Don't be phony," and "Don't play roles or games" are advocated in American society. Sincerity Sincerity
JAPANESE--the JAPANESE--the "sincere" individual acts in accordance with role expectations, not personal subjective feelings. AMERICANS--such AMERICANS --such a person as insincere, since, for Americans, a sincere person behaves on the basis of openness and feelings rather than role prescriptions. 1 Stanley Sue & Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston Farewell to Manzanar
“There was no question in my mind that my mother loved my father; that is why she served him. This attitude, that to serve meant to love, became an integral part of my psychological makeup and a source of confusion when I later began to relate to me. There was also no question in my mind that my father was absolute authority in their relationship and his relationship to his children. During and after the Second World War, when his dreams and economic situation had hit bottom, and he was too old to start over again as he had already done several times, he raged at his wife and family and drank. His frustration toward the society that rejected and humiliated him caused him to turn on his own and on himself. I never understood how she so patiently endured him during those times. But she never abandoned him, understanding, as I did not, the reasons for his anguish, for his sense of failure. Even though respect for him diminished then, I always felt that he was very powerful and that he dominated her with this power. As they grew older and inevitable thought of their passing entered my mind, I worried that she would be lost if he died before her. When that sad day arrived, I learned what is meant by the Asian philosophical truism "Softness is strength." I had taken my gravely ill father, along with my mother, to see his doctor. The doctor informed me privately that we should take him to the hospital where he would be comfortable, as he could not live more than ten days.” Farewell to Manzanar
“It was raining. I numbly drove the car toward the hospital, straining to see through the blurred windshield and my own tears. My mother was not crying. "Riku," he said, weakly. He never called her Riku...always ‘Mama.’ ‘Don't leave me. Stay with me at the hospital. They won't know how to cook for me...or how to care for me.’ She patted his hand. ‘You've been a good wife. You've always been the strong one.’ Not wanting him to tire, I tried to quiet him. He sat up bolt - like and roared like a lion. ‘Shut up!’ I quaked at his forcefulness, but he felt some comfort in knowing he could still ‘save face’ and be the final authority to his children, even at death's door. My mother's quiet strength filled the car as she gently stroked his forehead. Without tears or panic she assured him she would stay with him until the end. He died that afternoon a few hours after he entered the hospital. For the ten years afterward that my mother lived, she never once appeared lost or rudderless, as I feared she would be with him gone. Hadn't he been the center of her life? Hadn't the forms in their relationship, the rituals of their roles all affirmed his power over her? No. She had been the strong one. The structure had been created for him; but it was her essence that has sustained it.” 2 Edited by Foxit Reader Copyright(C) by Foxit Corporation,2005-2009 For Evaluation Only. Implications
1. Sincerity means to behave not according to feelings but to roles 2. Performance of family roles leads to predictability and avoids role and personal degradation 3. Prejudice and discrimination effects are not echoed in the family 3. Warmth in family may be sacrificed 4. Japanese Americans have a cultural means of reducing stress and its impact Role Degradation
n Males who suffer humiliation or who experience racial discrimination in the outside world can still return to an intact family where they are not degrades. Because of the role structure, the father still maintains head-of-household status, and personal head-ofinadequacies or humiliations suffered elsewhere are not echoed within the family. Thus, the family provides support and protection. When family roles deteriorate (for instance, when wives criticize husbands, which often results in children's adopting a negative attitude toward their fathers), fathers frequently become quite deviant. n Francis Francis Hsu: Assumptions
1. Act because of human need for intimacy which makes life meaningful 2. Act in accordance to roles 3. Some cultures satisfy need for intimacy better than others 4. Chinese (Asian) cultures able to satisfy intimacy better than individualistic (Western) cultures so Chinese better adjusted 3 Hsu’s Sociocentric Model
Layers 7 and 6: unconscious and preconscious Layer 5: unexpressed conscious Layer 4: expressible conscious Layer 3: intimate society and culture Layer 2: role relationships Layer 1: people, gods, ideas that are part of one’s culture but apart from oneself Layer 0: people, customs, and things not even nominally a part of one’s culture Survey
Complaints parents have of you n Complaints you have of your parents
n Parents’ Complaints About Kids
Kids nowadays talk back to parents. They forget that you are their parents and have no respect. I’m embarrassed all the time. My son doesn't speak any Chinese and doesn't know how to talk with his uncles and aunts. Kids think they know everything. You tell them to do something and they don't listen. My daughter is dating an American (White)--I don't like it but if my husband finds out, he'll disown her. I always tell my son to be proud he is Chinese but he says "What's so good about being Chinese, we don't live in Hong Kong." Why is he ashamed to be Chinese? Alan is doing alright. We are very proud of him in school. But he hangs around with friends who are no good. My daughter always wants to have fun. She never does any work. Last night, my daughter said that we don't love her. Why does she say that? We've worked hard to get her through school. Both of our sons have problems. I think the younger one is taking drugs. I don’t know what to do. I hope our friends don’t find out about this. 4 II guess I have resented my parents. I'm the oldest in the family but they favor my brother who is the only son. 2Mom & Dad want to control my life. They expect me to be completely obedient. 3Why should I have to learn Chinese--Everyone speaks English. I'm American. 4My parents expect me to be perfect. They always criticize whatever I do and never give me any compliments. 5I never try to have my parents meet my friends. They don't like my friends or act so traditional that it embarrasses me. 6I hate to say anything bad about Dad. But I do find it hard to talk with him. I have problems, but I can't turn to him. 7They won't let me stay out late or wear certain clothes. This makes it hard for me to make friends. They treat me like a child. 8It's funny but my parents and grandparents spoiled me too much. I'm having a hard time adjusting because I haven't learned how to deal with people. 9My parents set high goals for me. I get so depressed because I don't succeed in their eyes. IIt really bothers me that my parents are not concerned about racial inequality, and they think I am too radical and confrontational. Kids’ Complaints About Parents Family Conflicts
n Mae Case 5 ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2011 for the course ASA 3 taught by Professor Sue during the Fall '08 term at UC Davis.
- Fall '08
- Farewell to Manzanar