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Asian American Identity Development Model Essay

For my personal reflection I have chosen to use the Asian American identity development model because I am half Asian (e. g. half Filipino). The text states that this model, has not advanced as much as the African American model.

It goes on to explain the example and findings of Chinese American students treated at the University of California, Berkeley, Counseling Center: (a) traditionalist- a person who internalizes conventional Chinese customs and values, resists acculturation forces, and believes in the” old ways”; (b) marginal person, a person who attempts to assimilate and acculturate into White society, rejects traditional Chinese ways, internalizes society’s negativism toward minority groups, and may develop racial selfhatred (a la the Sansei student); and (c) Asian American, a person who is in the process of forming a positive identity, who is ethnically and politically aware, and who becomes increasingly bicultural (Sue & Sue, 2013). I believe this model can be used for all Asian Americans that are acculturated because as immigrants, we all experience these stages when we enter into a new place. I think this especially try for the older and younger populations. The older seem to be more traditionalist and the younger seem to be at the Asian American stage within this model.

Also, another great example was given in the case of the Japanese American role behaviors with respect to Japanese and American cultures: (a) positive-positive, in which the person identifies with both Japanese and White cultures without role conflicts; (b) negative-positive, in which there is a rejection of White culture and acceptance of Japanese American culture, with accompanying role conflicts; (c) positive-negative, in which the person accepts White culture and rejects Japanese culture, with concomitant role conflict; and (d) negative-negative, in which one rejects both (Sue & Sue, 2013). Both models are a good starting point for Asian identity formation, but neither have been looked at as an ideal model.

I believe I am currently in the postive-postive stage in this model. I am content with being both Asian and American. I identify as a Asian American, but I also identify as a European American as well because I am also Italian. So my view would be all positive based on my roles in America. After further review of the literature, J. Kim used a qualitative narrative approach with third-generation Japanese American women to posit a progressive and sequential stage model of Asian American identity development: ethnic awareness, White identification, awakening to social/political consciousness, redirection to Asian American consciousness, and incorporation(Sue & Sue, 2013).

Her model integrates the influence of acculturation, exposure to cultural differences, environmental negativism to racial differences, personal methods of handling race-related conflicts, and the effects of group or social movements on the Asian American individual (Sue & Sue, 2013). She describes five stages in this process. The first stage is the ethnic awareness stage begins around the ages of 3 to 4, when the child’s family members serve as the significant ethnic group model. Positive or neutral attitudes toward one’s own ethnic origin are formed, depending on the amount of ethnic exposure conveyed by the caretakers (Sue & Sue, 2013). In my own experience I believe that I received neutral attitudes by the time I was about 3 or 4 years. Growing up I was not exposed to varies types of my ethnic exposure.

Some aspect that I was exposed to was living with my extended family, eating some Filipino food, and hearing my mother and other family members speaking the native language called tagalog. Second, is the White identification stage, which begins when children enter school and are around peers and their surroundings become powerful forces in conveying racial prejudices and biases. This in turn can lead to negative impacts on their self-esteem and identity overall. The realization of “differentness” from such interactions leads to self-blame and a desire to escape racial heritage by identifying with White society (Sue & Sue, 2013). I believe in my own life experience there was a point where I felt different and was uncomfortable with my differences.

For instance, I have olive skin and when I was a teenager, I did not want to go in the sun and get darker. This is actually a common belief in the Filipino culture many women use whiting soaps and avoid the sun because “light skin” is looked at as being better much like in the American culture. Another insecurity that I had was being a little “heavier” because in my culture skinny is what is looked at as beautiful. As a child, I was very skinny and then gained some weight and struggled with the idea of not being skinny enough for a while, although || never had any eating disorders like many other girls that I knew in middle school and high school.

Both of these differences were actually being reinforced by my Asian culture and American culture, which is hard for a young child to comprehend, at the time and to complicate that scenario, there was a third aspect affecting me, which was my other half/other culture which is Italian. Now I understand this and I am moving forward from these differences and accept/loving myself for who I am as a human being no matter what my outer appearance looks like. Third, was the awakening to social political consciousness stage, meaning the adoption of a new perspectives and increased political awareness. J. Kim believed that the civil rights and women’s movements and other significant political events often precipitate this new awakening (Sue & Sue, 2013).

The primary result is an abandoning of identification with the dominant culture and a consequent understanding of oppression that is occurring. This idea for me and my identity came about later in my life once I was in college. I became more involved with feminism and events of this nature after taking a women’s studies class my first semester in college. I am passionate about equal rights for women and am much more assertive in this aspect now. When I was younger, I was more passive of jokes and comments that are against women. Now I will not tolerate these kinds of behaviors in my life or in my presence. I will stand up for myself as a woman and stand up for those who cannot do so yet.

This reminds me of the concept of being race neutral in this case it is gender neutral. We cannot be gender neutral we have to recognize the importance of understanding the negative impact it could lead to in our society. We have to stand up for respect as women and man to can stand up against their counterparts for the rights of women in our society because if they do not nothing can change for women in our society. Fourth, is the redirection stage means a reconnection or renewed connections with one’s Asian American heritage and cultural practices. This is often followed by the realization that White oppression is the culprit for the negative experiences of vouth (Sue & Sue, 2013).

Anger and frustrations against White racism may become a defining theme when an increase in Asian American pride starts to flourish. I believe I have found a sense of pride for my culture and have incorporated it within my American identity as well. I have always been proud to be both Filipino and Italian. Although I have always felt a stronger connection to my Italian culture. Today, I feel more of an equal balance and want to incorporate more historical and cultural values within my life because my family was not as traditional as some other families are.

I always felt like my cultural identity was not as strong as it could be and this is why I actually like to earn about other cultures, It is fascinating to me to learn more and understand why people do the things they do and for what reasons. This is also why I want to travel and meet more people within my culture to better understand the culture. I believe am currently in this stage because I want to reconnect with my culture, but on the other hand I am open to learning about all cultures. Last, is the incorporation stage that represents the highest form of identity and the evolution of one’s cultural being. It encompasses the development of a positive and comfortable identity as Asian American and consequent respect for other cultural/racial heritages (Sue & Sue, 2013). In this stage identifying for or against White culture is no longer important for the individual.

I believe that I could be at this stage or close to it at this point in time. I do not care about if people see me in the dominant culture. I want people to accept me for who I am as I have over time. Being Asian has taught me a lot of lessons, but the incorporation of all parts of me has become very important to me as I have gotten older. I believe all human beings want to be loved and understood; as this is what I am looking for in my own life. Incorporating all parts of myself is something that I make known to all individuals that want to be a part of my life. I believe if you cannot accept who I am then you do not deserve to be in my life. At this point, in my life I am happy and comfortable being who I truly am.

This is the stage that I hope for all people to find whether it takes them longer is up to them, but we all deserve to be happy and love ourselves. When looking at the question what am I willing to do to reach the ultimate stage of identity development. I think of one thing and that is to continue learning about cultures and my own culture. Without actively trying to understand something you can never truly understand it. Staying motivated to learn about myself and others is an important part of identity formation. I think this is a continuous part of life we are always changing and growing. So being aware of the change and the direction of the change (e. g. positive or negative growth) is most important in my opinion. As human beings, we can never learn enough or know enough.

I think my insatiable need for knowledge and personal growth is what will keep me moving towards the ultimate stage in my own identity development. Finally, my strength is now motivated by my need to heal and help guide people in this profession. I do not believe that those who get into this profession just fall into it. We all have our own reasons and some are good and some are bad. My need to teach others what I have learned is very important and if I can only help one person that would be a accomplishment for me because that one person could help another and so on. My new found passion for advocacy is another motivation in helping our society become a better place for all of us.

This all translates in my role as a counselor and who I ultimately want to be. All of my motivations will lead to my obligations to my clients and understanding them completely meaning as a whole person by understanding their worldview and where they have been. I want to keep people motivated and encourage others to be the best that they can be for themselves. I believe my passion and desire to help individuals who are suffering is what can and will keep me on the right track as a counselor. I will hold myself to the highest ethical and cultural standards. I want to give my best and I know I will learn much more in my own journey as a counselor in training that will help me with my future clients.

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