People of Asian Descent
Beyond Myths and Stereotypes
Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population and include people whose ancestors are from countries such as China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. There are at least sixty distinct Asian groups in the United States. Unlike the Hispanics/Latinos, they have no common world language. Each group has its own language and dialects, religious traditions, and political and cultural history. Perceived in American society as one homogenous group, Asian Americans are a diverse group with different languages, religions, and political and cultural history. Three Asian groups that are physically and culturally similar to one another are the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese. Two groups that show physical and cultural differences are the East Indians and the Filipinos. Because of their color, Asian Americans fall prey to the narrow confines of stereotypes and hidden assumptions that are insidious and hurtful. We need to understand that their cultural traits and traditions have served as adoptive strategies against racism and discrimination.
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