The following is an excerpt from "Immigrant, American."
When you think of an American, what—or who—comes to mind?
I recently listened to a podcast in which celebrity author, TV host, and restaurateur Eddie Huang discussed the challenges of growing up Asian in America. There are many aspects of the interview that resonated with me, both as a scholar and a child of immigrants.
What struck me most about his comments were the complex ways Huang has navigated racism and xenophobia throughout his life as an ethnic minority and child of Taiwanese immigrants. Critical of being perceived as a "model minority," Huang forged his identity in the spaces between acceptance and rejection by others. Paradoxically, his love of hip hop made him not Asian "enough" even as he was racially bullied on the playground for being Asian.
Belonging neither here nor there, Huang's experiences illustrate what it feels like for many children of immigrants, as Latino, Asian, and Black youth in many research studies, including my own, report being treated unfairly, socially excluded, or held to different expectations due to their ethnicity or race. Young people also know that such treatment reflects a larger societal milieu in which being black and brown is devalued. Numerous scholars—a sampling of whom are referenced below—have found that such experiences undermine the mental health and academic engagement of youth of color, many of whom are children of immigrants. Indeed, exposure to discrimination is among the greatest challenges youth experience in acculturating to the U.S.
Read the full article at Psychology Today.