East Asians of the United States - Kinship, Marriage and Family



Kinship. In the early Korean, Chinese, and Filipino Communities, which were composed almost entirely of men, ties to families and wider kin networks were maintained through return visits, correspondence, and the remittance of a percentage of the man's earnings. In the communities that formed in this country, the absence of East Asian women and antimiscegenation laws made marriage and the formation of families and kin groups difficult. Some community cohesion was created through fictive kin groups modeled on clan and extended family structures in the homeland. Chinese men formed fictive clans with recruitment and membership based on immigration from the same village or province or possession of the same surname. When Chinese families began to form later in the early twentieth century with the arrival of Chinese women, these clan associations became less Important. Filipinos organized compang, fictive extended families composed of men who immigrated from the same village, with the oldest man usually heading the family. As more Filipino women immigrated to the United States, Filipino-American families became more common (though before World War II Filipino-American men still outnumbered women by nearly three to one), and the compadrazgo (godparent) system was transferred to the United States with each Individual then enmeshed in a network of actual and fictive kin.

The situation for Japanese-Americans was different, as beginning in 1910 stable families began to form and Japanese urban and rural communities also become relatively stable. Although the second-generation Japanese-Americans, the nisei, were being acculturated into American society, the first-generation-based family (issei) was still strong enough to maintain traditional beliefs regarding appropriate behavior between superiors and inferiors as well as filial duties.

Marriage and Family. The most noteworthy trend in East Asian-American marriages is the shift from ethnic endogamous to ethnic exogamous marriage. In all groups since the 1950s there has been a large increase in the number of Marriages to non-ethnic group members, and especially to Whites. Contemporary East Asian-American families are generally small nuclear families. Korean-American and Filipino-American households are somewhat larger because of the larger number of children in the former and the presence of non-nuclear family members in the latter. East Asian-American families are notably stable, with over 84 percent of children in all four groups living with both of their parents. Nonetheless, there are concerns in the Chinese-American community about juvenile delinquency and in the Korean-American about what is considered a high divorce rate. There is a major difference in household composition between those already settled in the United States and recent Immigrants. Households among the latter frequently contain additional relatives beyond the nuclear family or friends, as these households are often part of the chain migration process through which relatives immigrate to the United States.

Within households in all four East Asian-American groups, decision making has become more egalitarian as patriarchal authority has diminished. Women, however, still bear the major responsibility for household tasks, even though a majority of both men and women are employed. Educational opportunities are afforded both boys and girls, and both sexes are encouraged to excel in school.

Socialization. As with Americans in general, socialization takes place through the family, the local community, and the formal education system. Many East Asians in the past came to America with a high school education and many of the Recent immigrants have college and/or professional education or technical training. The children of recent immigrants make full use of educational opportunities in the United States; in fact education for their children is a major reason many East Asians resettle. Programs designed to maintain the traditional culture, such as language classes, youth groups, and cultural programs are offered in all major East Asian communities by ethnic associations and churches. One major problem facing many recent immigrant families is a generational gap between parents who prefer to speak the Native language and eat native foods, stress family obligations, and associate mainly with other ethnic group members and their children who see themselves as Americans, speak English, and make friends among non-Asian-Americans.


User Contributions:

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May 31, 2011 @ 5:17 pm
I need a full note on kinship family. table of content,definition of the term,the establishment, the goal,how does it center on the laser society, is it still serving as the basic needs of the larger society and the organizational structure of a kinship family.
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Jul 28, 2014 @ 5:17 pm
As an American born to Korean mother, the last paragraph in this article describes well some aspects of our relationship. And the generational gap is really true. It would be great if you could add little more details to that part especially on how generational gap interferes with communication.
I am truly grateful to come across this site. Lots of interesting info worth reading.

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