My husband's grandfather, a 3rd generation Chinese American, said it best, "We are Chinese American. Pick the best elements of American and Chinese cultures to promote and pass down." He's the one who taught his son and my husband not to care about "face" and that loyalty and respect have to be earned. You don't get respect just because you're family.

It was shocking to me, as the daughter of immigrants, but it makes so much sense. We tell our daughters, who are 6th generation Americans (on my husband's side) and 3rd generation on my side, the same thing. There are some great aspects of both cultures but there are also ones that have persisted despite the pain they cause (e.g., colorism, racism, unwavering loyalty to rude and selfish people who just happen to be related to you by blood).

I hope you and others caught between two cultures can find a place where you can be true to yourselves without feeling like you're being steamrolled by "tradition."


9X Top Writer. Proud grad of CA public schools. Committed to justice & leadership development. Wife & mom of 2 girls & 2 big dogs. Love to eat almost everything

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