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Posted on July 31st, 2012, by

Asian American community represents an ethnic minority in the USA. At the same time, many Asian Americans do not feel they are strangers in the USA, since they have been born and grown up in this country. However, Asian Americans suffered from discrimination in the past and first generations of Asian Americans that arrived in the USA in the mid-20th century faced a number of socioeconomic and cultural problems in the new country. Nevertheless, Asian Americans have managed to overcome numerous problems. In this regard, the role of the Civil Rights movement can hardly be underestimated because it stimulated the emergence of Asian American movement in the 1960s-1970s which aimed at the protection of Asian Americans from discrimination and facilitated their integration in the socioeconomic life of the USA and cultural adaptation of Asian Americans to the local culture along with preservation of their ethnic cultural traditions.

The Asian American movement was a response of Asian Americas to numerous problems they faced at the epoch.

One of the major problems was the language since Asian children lived in families where the heads of the households basically had poor English proficiency. This was particularly widely spread within the families of the first generation of Asian Americans, i.e. families that just arrived in the US and their children were born in the new country or arrived at an early age. Obviously, it was quite difficult for these children to get integrated into American life and succeed.

In such a situation, Asian Americans were less likely to have a college education or a professional education than whites. In this respect, it is worthy of mention that poor English proficiency was not the only reason. In fact, one of the most important factors that prevented Asian Americans from receiving higher education was their socio-economic position. It is not a secret that the vast majority of Asian immigrants were poor and belonged to lower classes. In addition, Asian Americans faced a very serious problem of racial discrimination which was, to a significant extent provoked by the War in Vietnam which made many Americans extremely hostile in relation to Asians. In fact, discrimination influenced education and job opportunities of Asian Americans as well as their regular life since they suffered from offensive and insulting actions of non-Asian Americans.

In such a situation, the emergence of Asian movement in the 1960-1970s was a logical response of the Asian community to the discrimination it faced in the regular life. This movement resulted in the improvement of the position of Asian Americans and, today, I feel more secure in this country and, what is more important, I have larger educational and career opportunities. The research of this movement should be based on the research of the historical documents related to the epoch as well as news reports which can be found in archives of printed media and which reflect the atmosphere of that epoch and how the Asian American movement was perceived by the society in the 1960s. In addition, it is possible to analyze legislative changes and legal acts issued at the epoch, which are related to the problem of discrimination and position of ethnic minorities in the USA. Also, primary sources may be very useful to understand the expectations, goals and methods applied by Asian Americans when the movement had just started and kept progressing. In such a way, it will be possible to study not only official documents, mirroring the official version of the development of the Asian American movement, but also the original Asian American interpretation of the events that took place in the 1960s-1970s.

At the same time, from my personal experience I know that today Asian American students have to deal with the problem of bicultural conflicts between home and schools. It should be said that to a significant extent this conflicts are provoked by the generation gaps between children that grew up in American reality and their parents and even grandparents who still keep their traditions, perfectly remember their native country, and have not managed to change their mentality and get accustomed to the new lifestyle. However, this bicultural conflict is not the conflict between our Asian community and the American community. Ethnic conflicts, which were common in the 1960s, today are rather an exception than a norm.

Basically, it is possible to single out four main bicultural problems Asian Americans currently face. Firstly, parent and children tend to disagree on the nature and extent of parental authority. Secondly, many of the means of enforcing parental authority that were common in Vietnam are unacceptable in the US. Thirdly, parents and children have different perspectives on what aspects of American culture are desirable. And, finally, the role reversal of parents and children that frequently occurs in immigrant families is contrary to the cultural expectations of Asian parents about their own roles.

The Asian American movement of the 1960s-1970s played a very important part in the life of the Asian American community. What is more, the Asian American movement, to a significant extent, shaped the modern Asian American community and its relationships with other ethnic groups in the USA. In fact, the problem of racial discrimination and hostility is not so significant today as it used to be before the Asian American movement and it is due to the Asian American movement Asian Americans have managed to change the biased attitude of many Americans to Asians. This is why it is possible to estimate that the Asian American movement in the 1960s-1970s had a positive impact on the integration of the Asian American community in the American society. This movement contributed to the elimination of discrimination and opened larger opportunities for me to become a part of the American society.

On the other hand, it is necessary to understand that the Asian American movement should never stop because the achievements of the movement, which are so important to Asian Americans, can be easily lost, if the new generation of Asian Americans ignores the history of the movement and its significance to the community.

Thus, the research of the Asian American movement in the 1960s-1070s can be very helpful for the understanding of the problems of Asian Americans in the USA at the epoch and their integration in the American society and culture.

In actuality, the historical experience of Asian Americans reveals very important facts concerning the integration of an ethnic minority into a new cultural environment. In other words, on the basis of the study of the Asian American movement, it is possible to conduct a more detailed research which can reveal mechanisms of integration of ethnic minorities and the importance of civil movement as a powerful tool which can be used by ethnic minorities to protect their rights and liberties.

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