Asians in Western countries may find themselves often questioning or negotiating their identity as they juggle and shift between two different cultures: their Asian heritage and the Western culture that they are surrounded with in mainstream society. Many Asian-Americans are considered to be “too white” to be fully Asian or “not white enough” to fit into either. As a minority group, Asians have a unique struggle living in a Western country. Asian-Americans comprise a diverse range of nationalities, cultures, and ethnicities, but in the U.S, everyone is simply placed under the umbrella of “Asian.”
Although society as a whole may seem more progressive now, minority groups still experience discrimination in a wide range of sectors. For example, Harvard has come under fire for discriminating against Asians in the admissions process. Among hiring quotas as well, Asians and Whites seem to experience similar types of reverse discrimination. The fact that Asians and Whites have lawsuits relating to discrimination in the admissions and hiring processes demonstrate that both races are supposedly privileged classes that are “being brought down as other racial groups rise.” It is difficult for Asians to see themselves as minorities when they are treated like White Americans in this kind of scenario. Asians may not feel like a minority group, but in other situations they are still subject to racism and discrimination. Race is a clear barrier in terms of accessing opportunities. This affects how they negotiate their identity and their place in society.
Some sociologists argue that “whitening” is occurring in America at the moment, as more and more ethnic minority groups are assimilated into society. This explains why Asians are also supposedly facing reverse discrimination. Cultural assimilation includes Asians being perceived as more “white” in society, which raises questions and concerns over Asian-Americans straying from their Asian heritage and identity. However, everyone negotiates their identity differently.