American culture means the customs and tradition held by individuals in the United States. However, it comprises of the religion; the belief and system of worship with regards to faith. Nevertheless, religion can also be described as the pursuit or interest to which individuals ascribe with absolute importance. Secondly American culture attributes to food; it can be regarded to the Americans daily diet, their regard to food as a deal and symbolic to important and significant occasions e.g. birthday’s cakes, baby showers ice creams and more important events. Moreover how the food is eaten and the utensils used also defines an individual culture. Thirdly culture is regarded in terms of how the food is ate, what people in America wear and how they wear it, the language, marriage, entertainment, the morals; which implies to what people see as wrong or right. What makes the right thing right and what makes the wrong thing. Then lastly it’s about how people interact with others or people close to them.
America is among the top largest countries in the world with a vast, diverse population with different cultures. This has made America be susceptible cultural influence from across all corners of the world. Primarily this has been catalysed by the virtue of America being a country of immigrants. Most importantly English, who colonized America and the Latin Americans, Native Americans, Asians and Africans. It has made almost every individual in America to trace his cultural authenticity from other cultures. With this in mind, then we are nagged by the question of how the Asian culture has had a significant influence on the larger American society.
- Definition of terms;
(i) Cultural integration; cultural integration is where we have separate antecedents, for example, in this case, the Africans, Latin Americans, Native Americans and Asians merging to form a joint cultural mix. In the United, States is perceived as the best hope of the wellbeing of the human beings. According to GarcíaCanclini (2003: 279) Integration is a mutually consented contact that breeds independence that has got little or no alteration on who the partners are, it does not fall on factors like geography, proximity and adjacency. Thus, integration implies putting different cultures together to form a hybrid culture that has particles of each parent. When immigrants integrate to create a new culture, it is not that easy. That’s why in the United States of America, this can be traced from the period between 1900 up to 2007. There is a need to understand the dynamics of each culture, to have a know-how of the external and internal changes that come by each stage of integration.
(ii) Cultural assimilation;
Is the process whereby an individual or a group of people who are identified by an absolute authentic culture come to resemble those of other cultures? Primarily in the United States of America, it has been used to refer to the immigrants. Their degree of influencing the Americans in resembling who they are. According to Jiménez, Tomás R. (2005). “Assessing Immigrant Assimilation pg. 105–125. A complete assimilation comes into existence when new members of other groups conform to become indistinguishable faces or members of the other group. Thus in the United States of America, It is the spontaneous adoption and infiltration of the Asian culture through contact and communication or association due to its relevance and perception. On the other hand, it is the way the Asian culture is imitated by Americans spontaneously by virtue of them migrating and settling in the United States.
However Asian cultural assimilation can be divided into;
- Behavioural assimilation or acculturation
During the period of cold war, America became more superior as it had exhibited an extended period of peace. There was a clarity in its superiority over other nations, and this made many European countries look to United States as a helping hand. Profoundly the Asian fell victims of being immigrants in the United States of America. As newcomers, they had to absorb the American culture and also influence the Americans to incorporate their cultural norms, beliefs, values and behavioural patterns and trends. As a consequent, there has been a new dominant immersion and identification of the American society.
- Structural assimilation; It is where the Asians immigration led to the integration of the political, social, economic and cultural sectors to conform and look like them. The Asians came to be part of the United States economy, political structure; where some even vie for important political seats.
(iii) Cultural adoption; Asian immigrants found the economic life in the United States of America to him so hard and tough. Therefore, they had to find by all means a way or means of mechanism to survive. Among the ways of survival was through cross-cultural programs embedded in relationships of power.
(iv) Cultural diversification; United States of America is a home of immigrants where we do not have a monoculture. Having many nationals immigrating into America creates a country with several different cultural variations that respect each other. The existence of these many various cultural variations in the United States creates cultural diversity. With regards to the Asians in America, the influence can be termed in relation to language, dress code and common traditions associated with the Asians.
(v) Cultural metamorphism; It is the profound transitional variation or change that occurs with time from one stage to another. It’s the observed change from the structural, form and substance point of view. Asian immigration had a significant shift in the appearance and character of the Americans from time immemorial up to date. According to Lawrence ‘metamorphism in culture and housing design’ pg. 42. The architectural environments and surroundings in which different cultures exist, for example, in this case, the American and Asian culture exist, give birth to a total configuration of social, psychological, demographical and behaviour based changes.
(vi) Cosmopolitan society; It’s a social frame of the community, the way of life, production, pleasure, fate, capital flows, globally shared failures and success, impending economic and ecological catastrophes resulting in sociological concept like class and referent power. It’s where people embrace demographics according to the multicultural.
(vii) Current trends; they are perceptions towards the know-how of the significant changes in the culture changes that has come in the second decade of the second millennium. Many people see it as a reflection of the world now as compared to how the world was in the past one decade. The developments and prospects for a near future.
(viii) Food and Cookery; primarily it was associated with the skill, knowledge, practice and know-how of preparing certain food. The use of certain utensils like forks as influenced by other cultures.
(ix) Entertainment takes over; it’s the way the Asian culture has changed the theatre industry, including music and movie of the United States of America. All these put together, the principal concern is the audience. There are several ways that the Asian culture has influenced the American culture in order to ‘keep up’ its audience capacity in the entertainment, private recreation and leisure sector.
- Theoretical framework;
As time goes by there is a developing urge and rise of rhetorical questions that need answers to address how Asian culture has influenced the American culture. History tells us that America is a country of immigrants. Significantly the Africans and the Asians; the Japanese and Chinese. Eventually drawing us to try and find out why and how the Asian cultural influence came to stand out among all others. Especially given that learning is a continuous process that integrates personal and environmental experiences and practices directed to having or enriching an individual’s knowledge, values, perceptions and character. The influence of the Asian culture is basically based on its power to align the attention, judgement, thinking and evaluation of the Americans in the Asian way.
(i) Use of questionnaires;
It is a quantitative way of collecting our research data and information. In our case, we use open ended and closed form of surveys to determine statistical data and cultural influence as observed in government institutions, individuals and a group of people.
(ii) Respondents from interviews. The second method of collecting the evidence to show the Asian cultural influence on the Americans is through interviewing. It’s where we have a conversation with a respondent; either in the form of a group or individual. We ask questions both open and leading to the interviewee and write down feedback. The feedback is a standard part of a quantitative research based on the interviewee’s opinion, facts and perceptions. In our research, we will carry out interviews with the public to the private world.
(iii) Historical research;
With regards to our research work, our historical research will base upon interpreting various past events between the Asians and the Americans. Factors that made them come together, the integration and how everything synthesized to give rise to the outstanding Asian culture in United States.
(iv) Library books, journals, magazines and newsletters;
We will extend our research to the books in the library, primarily this will be a supplement to getting the historical information. Journals like the American times will give us the current trends in the already influenced American culture. Exactly it will portray to us what is the real idea or Asian sim in United States.
(v) Critical analysis observation and analysis of current trends; as the word itself, we will have our research based on what we see. Phenomena of visibility in our quantitative judgment, analysis and thinking. Consequently, we will give the result to what we think is the real world now, which is the current trend.
There are several immigrants in the United States of America. However, Asian cultural influence stood out for the Americans.
- Review of related literature;
To establish the validity of our work, we found more examples and consent from the internet, great American and Asian scholars. They supported our findings with regards to relevance and originality.
(i) Geographical distribution;
The population in United States of America is scattered across the country. Since World War II, many people have preferred the southeast, west coast and southwest due to various ideological factors. Therefore, it poses a big hindrance to our research since the movements and settlements were not homogeneous.
(ii) Capital; in our research capital is the back born of everything. It’s essential on the basis of current consumption with regards to resources needed for data now. Secondly in terms of future use of the data that we have now. Human capital in terms of people who are knowledgeable in the field of American and Asian history proves to be a hard task. The need to travel across United States of America and the Asian world which includes Japan, China and India is so costly. It needs a lot of money investment to cater for transport, accommodation and upkeep. The flexible exchange rates to make the capital required to be so high. The time involved in our research is so long, travelling, familiarizing ourselves with new places and people is time-consuming. ‘Time is money’ implying that at the end of the day if we need to come up with a relatively sensible research findings then we ought to invest heavily. Therefore, this becomes a primary concern and limitation to having an up to date and useful research findings.
(iii) Lack of pre-consent; When carrying out this research, we need to have a clue over the independent characteristics of Asian and American culture before they came into contact. Therefore, it implies studying or getting information about the two separately. If we want to know the real historical culture of Asians of time immemorial, then we need to identify people who know about it. It might prove to be something hard given we ought to find out if it will go with age or historical understanding. Getting to know this clearly and understanding the same is not an easy task. Therefore, we become susceptible to being given biased or prejudiced information on the basis of egoism, patriotism and level of cultural pride. As a consequent, we may end up having research statistics and data that is so biased due to lack of pre-consent.
(iv) Demographic integration; after the immigration and settlement, there were intermarriages and intermingling. It led to conformity and loss cultural income, Asian and American people structure and population. There was the rise of a new face in terms of culture, thus making it harder to establish what the real American culture was and the Asian culture. Making it harder to know and determine the perceived influence of the Asian culture on American.
- history of the American culture;
American cultural history can be traced from the time of civil wars, new world encounters and now. United States of America is an Anglo majority state; where English is the dominant language, and the colonial British culture was left to have a significant influence in terms of language, ethnicity, history and culture. During the times of economic dominance America was primarily known as a country of slavery and continuous economic and social inequalities.
b.History of Asian culture;
Asia was conservatively known as western-centric bock. It was made of many heterogeneous countries with different distinct culture. However, the most common cultural tie includes the Asian art, literature, entertainment and cuisine. Religion also played a significant role in their relationship with the western world.
- How the two came together and the effects;
Asians and Americans entered into contact during the pre-colonial periods. Profoundly it was as a result of immigration, however after World War II, America had experienced a considerable period of peace. Therefore, economically it was way ahead of many other European countries that had heavily invested in the war. Therefore making Asian countries in dire need of American help. In search of greener pastures, many Asians moved to America during this period.
- Characteristics of the American culture;
America being among the largest countries across the globe, and a home for many immigrants consisted of many religion, languages and colours. Individuals here believed in freedoms, varying from expression, choice and worship. There is a culture of individualism, pride and down to earth to self-actualization or power superiority. Lastly, they follow the rule of law.
- The characteristics of Asian culture;
Asians were perceived to be communists that strongly held family values. Their culture is basically colonized by group or multitude psychological. Self-control was highly occupied by individuals. They are down to earth and hardworking, keep time and always using the little opportunities to exploit their potentials. Many parents used to define the laws and children were obliged to follow with no obligation. At times and moments, the American cultural affiliation dependedon who someone was in the society. Profoundly described by the family history, political power, social class and referent power they had. Therefore there was no clear or universal code to describe what American culture was. It all depended on how an individual justified whatever he did or intended to do
- What makes the American culture more vulnerable to the Asian culture?
American culture had more freedom. There were universal norms that defined what was wrong and what was right. The decision one takes depended upon his justification and interpretation to what makes something the right decision right and the wrong one wrong. However, on the other hand, the Asian culture lay clear lines between what was commonly perceived as wrong and right.
- What makes the Asian culture stand out among all other cultures?
Over time, despite being exposed to many cultures, analysis shows that the Asian influence of the American culture has come to stand. This was done in comparison to other cultures and the affect the American culture had on the Asian culture. Profoundly arguments show that it’s exhibited in individual’s personality, religion, entertainment, cookery and use of herbal medicine. All these attributes made the Asian culture be more objective in America, unlike others that were so subjective. Americas, in the long run, came to accept part of it in a daily way of life that best suited them
- What evidence shows that the Asian culture has had an influence on the American culture?
Asians were part of the many immigrants who came to United States of America at different pre-colonial period. Upon their settlement and integration by virtue of contact and communication, there was the birth of their influence on the American culture and social change. The American Society has been a victim of the Asian cultural influence at large, profoundly exhibited in the fact that they brought their cookery when they were migrating. Asian food thus has been made the most notable, transplanted and culturally adopted culture by the Americans. In 1856 in the American business directory statistics showed that there were five best-known restaurants and thirty-eight groceries among much more Chinese food commercial enterprises in San Francisco alone. I n the early stages of immigration the Asians, especially the Chinese cooked their own meals and even visited their own restaurants and hotels alone. Due to the alienation and discrimination that they faced while settling in the United States, they were gradually forced to into menial service jobs commonly in the restaurants. As a consequent restraint employment and kitchens became their areas of specialization. They picked up cooking jobs where they improved on their cultural authentic cooking skills and worked as food professionals. There was the rise of the Chinese restaurants and other service workshops such as laundry. The two became the fundamental elementary labels for the Chinese Americans. Cooking being their area of specialization, they had to find a new way of attracting more customers who were their hosts; Americans. Therefore, they came up with ‘sweet and sour pork’ as authentic Chinese food in the United States of America which became an additional incentive to the attraction of the American customers to their restaurants. In contrast, the restaurants in China had nothing like the sweet and sour pork Thus this was just their own cultural influential incentive in America to attract more customers. Consequently, there was a subsequent rise and development of many ‘chop suey houses’ in major American states like Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington D.C. Currently in the United States of America the Chinese restaurants have become a familiar face in the American society and the America a bigger part of the American cooking has become a disguised trademark of the Asian culture.
- Asians, especially the Chinese were ethnically skilled and associated with herbal medicine. Operating with the same alienation and discrimination conditions and environments that led them venture into restaurants jobs, the Chinese used herbal medicine because they had limited capital from income. As more immigrants came, the number of more herbal doctors increased with time to serve the community. After a while when the herbal medicine proved effective, there was a cultivate trust in the Americans too. Consequently, the herbal doctors started serving the whole community at large, whereby it included both the Chinese and the American patients. The herbal doctors had a greater cultural influence on the American society more than the Chinese cousin from the restaurants. Unlike the cookery where the food flavours had to be slightly adjusted to suit the Americans too, the herbal medicines could not change their ingredients. Therefore, the American patients had no obligation but to take it the way it was in the Chinese cultural form. However, the main setback was that the traditional herbs that were used to make the medicine used to be imported from China. Thus at times they faced American importation restrictions that were based on the rules, regulations and laws. It created a business and cultural dilemma, whereby both patients; Americans and Chinese ought to be served, herbal doctors business had to go on but the government rules, regulations and laws had to be adhered to. Thus there was a need for both parties to find a way out of this, and the Chinese herbal doctors opted to expand, build and develop their ethnic business network in the United States. On the other hand, the American authority had to compromise by virtue of standardization and regulation of the herbal medicine. It led to more sense of belonging and believe in the Chinese herbal medicine mainstream. Currently, a larger percentage of the American population has adopted to the Chinese herbal medicine therapy. In his literature Liu, Haiming. “The Resilience of Ethnic Culture: Chinese Herbalists in the American Medical Profession.” Journal of Asian American Studies (1998) 173–191
Chinese herbal medicine in America has been a sole expression of Asian cultural influence on the American society. Furthermore, it shows how the Asian-American ability to shape up to a universal conformity in the cultural migration
Recently in the immigration statistics index, the Asian population surpassed Hispanics as the biggest immigrant population in the United States of America.
According to Richard Corliss “Anna May Wong Did It Right’’ (2005) Asian Americans have been intermingling in the entertainment industry since the better half that ends the 19th century. Many of Asians who had settled in the United States had by law become naturalized citizen. Unfortunately in the early years Asians had no bigger opportunities in the theatre and entertainment industries in America. However in the recent times of commercial prosperity in Asia, the movie sectors and the audience commanded has greatly influenced the American entertainment. Primarily there is an escalating influence of China in Hollywood Christian movies. Current research shows that China has grown to be the immediate competitor of America in the film industry. Moreover, the trend is seen to surpass likely America in the next few years in terms of earnings. In a real sense, Americas market survival will depend on tailor made movies based on the Asian communist virtues. However, there is a perception that regards Christianity in China with western imperialism, thus holding American evangelism with a lot of doubts. In turn, this has put the Chinese Christian movies on an upper hand due to its diversity and freedom in the market.
Study and statistics in the ministry of education show that many students in America are taking Chinese as their second language in schools. Primarily this is seen as an eye opener in the economically, politically and socially dynamic world laying out business and political opportunities, making Chinese trendsetters. Currently, there are opinion polls from almost fifty-seven countries across the world where almost fifty-one thousand people were interviewed that shows atheism is on the rise. Asian countries have exhibited the most rise in atheism. Particularly the main concern is not to whether people have a place of worship or not, it has led to a drastic decline of religious self-description. As a consequent, all these has been put in the form of movies and entertainment, thus gathering a lot of audience across the globe. In order for Hollywood to keep pace with this competition, it has come to adjust to the cultural perception of the Asian world. Why? Because it has been seen as the only way to maintain and increase their sales and audience
- the outcome statement.
In conclusion, the Asian culture has had a greater significant cultural impact on America than any other culture. All this can be associated with its enterprising population and circumstances. However there are more other forms that the American culture has influenced the Asian culture, but the conservative characteristics of the Asian culture make the impact hard to be seen. On the other hand, the openness of the American culture has opened vivid evidence to the effects of the Asian culture.
Over time, critical analysis has shown that due to the cultural integration, there was the cultural interchange between the Americans and the Asians. However, the Asian culture has commanded more referent power with regards to influence. Profoundly it’s argued that Asian influence is exhibited in a change of Americans personality, religion, entertainment, cookery and use of herbal medicine. Nevertheless, there is a relative percentage that shows how the American culture has influenced the Asian culture. From time immemorial, Historically America was inhabited by the Latin America, Native America, Africans and Asians. The Asians came at the date of immigration. During this period, Asians faced a torrid period of settlement where they were subjected to alienation and discrimination. However despite being victims of circumstance, they wee so down to earth in finding survival opportunities in America. They embraced all available opportunities to their full potential, exploited them maximally and eventually among the immigrants their cultural influence stood out in the entire American society. This has posed several rhetoric questions and points of concern as to why this ought to have been this way.
Ma Wen Jie. Influence of American Culture on Chinese Culture. Web. 07 May 2015
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