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Socialization - American Born Chinese Children Under Chinese Culture

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Socialization

------ American Born Chinese Children under Chinese Culture

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, socialization is "the process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are in conformity with the values of one's society" (American Heritage). It is a process of learning culture. During socialization, children will acquire attitudes, norms, values, behaviors, personalities, etc. within agencies of socialization, which were described as "Agencies of socialization are structured groups or contexts within which significant processes of socialization occur." according to the sociology terminology (Gidden 1). Socialization always begins very early in life. It starts from childhood and continues throughout the whole life. During this process, they will be influenced through family and educational institutions (Shu 1). What happen to the American born Chinese socialization within the Chinese culture?

American born Chinese can be defined as the Chinese people who are born in American after their parents immigrated from the USA. More and more people immigrated to America, especially the Asian population. According to Shu-Ling Berggreen: "The Asian American population in the US 'increased by 140 percent from 1970 to 1980 and then by 108 percent from 1980 and 1990 (to a total of approximately 7,273,662), making it the fastest growing segment of the US population." (Berggreen1).

What happens to the American society? American society is like an ethnic melting pot, where all kinds of cultures are mixed together to form the multicultural diversity of America. It is an "Ethno-cultural salad," in which all other cultures lose their cultural identification and form a new American culture, At the same time, each culture still preserves its unique taste (Strussner3-4). Chinese immigrant families still keep their culture heritage through they live in America. In many big cities or the increasing number of suburbs, there are a lot of Chinese communities, which are called "China Town." It serves as a cultural "home-base." a sense of community or Chinese culture heritage. There, you can eat the yummy Chinese foods and enjoy unique Chinese culture or festivals.

Chinese children in this situation will be socialized and form a set of values, norms, behaviors and attitudes toward life. How does each "agencies of socialization" (such as family and school) influence American born Chinese (ABC) through the socialization?

First, the family plays an important role in the process of socialization. According to Huabin Chen and William Lan, cultural and historical background will influence people's behavior. The Chinese culture is more family-oriented. The family or society takes priority over values of the individuals. Chinese people have very strong family loyalty and cohesiveness (Chen 2). In China, Children at a very early age will be trained to be more responsible to the family. They become more likely to obey and respect their parents; otherwise, they will feel guilty of disgracing their families. What happens to Chinese immigrant families in USA? In the Youth Radio website, an ABC was interviewed and expressed her own feeling regarding to the identity. Christina, a teen ABC said: "What do you do when American values clash with the values of your family? If you please your parents, you're unhappy, but if you don't please them, they're unhappy. You can't win." (Kwong 1). There are a lot of different norms, values, life styles, beliefs and language between the Chinese culture and American culture. So, many teen ABC's always suffer the conflict from the Chinese traditional immigrant families as well as from American society. Also, one teen ABC told in Youth Radio that, "My parents don't really need to tell me what they want from me...I've instilled their Chinese values in myself. But my mind and heart are both Chinese and American, no labels necessary." (Kwong 1).

Meanwhile, parents' expectations will deeply influence children's academic achievement (Chen 2). Chinese parents generally place high value on education, hard work, family, and social status; to some extent, they pass these values on to their children. The majority of Chinese immigrant families engage in professional careers, such as engineering, medicine, accounting and research. Being socialized through their parents, many ABC's expect to achieve those careers through the higher education. They will be told how decent and wonderful it would be if their jobs as a doctor or scientist. Also, their parents will reinforce the idea that those jobs will be useful to a society as well. On the Goldsea website, it is reported

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