The Chinese Community in the United States

Chinatowns have become places for tourists to find deals and authentic food. But they began as a place for Chinese immigrants to find protection and support from hostile whites.

Consequently, fraternal-political associations ruled the roost in Chinatowns. They adjudicated disputes among members and spoke for the community to outsiders.

Western holidays like Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Christmas are celebrated by many young Chinese.

Chinese immigrants

Historically, most Chinese immigrated from the coastal provinces of Guangdong and Fujian in southeastern China. Emigration accelerated after the 1860s as large companies seeking labor pushed westward into the American frontier. Several of these areas developed distinct Chinese communities that later became known as Chinatowns.

These communities adapted to their new environment while also forging a sense of belonging. Some, like the Peranakan Chinese of Malaya and the East Indies, hybridized loyalty to their adopted countries with kinship-based connections to China. Others created distinctively local identities by forming associations and institutions on the basis of dialect, ancestry, or place of origin.

In Oregon, Cantonese Chinese in Portland patterned themselves after San Francisco Chinatown, with social and political organizations that grew to exercise control over civic life. These groups were a safe haven from anti-Chinese prejudice, but also harbored their own tensions and challenges to personal security and material well being. Other migrants, including Min and Wu speakers from southwestern and northern China, as well as Hakka and Teochew Chinese from the southern coast of the Yangtze River region, established their own community-based organizations.

Chinese culture

Chinese culture is extensive and manifests itself in intrapersonal, interpersonal and transpersonal domains of everyday life. It is rooted in an ancient civilization and incorporates folk culture, dominant philosophical ideas and religious traditions.

Family is a central feature of Chinese society, with parents and grandparents holding key roles in children’s upbringing. Loyalty and respect for hierarchy are paramount values. Children are expected to reciprocate their parents’ sacrifice by achieving success in their lives, and the concept of guanxi is widely prevalent: friends, family and even business colleagues are expected to help each other. Violating this principle can lead to shame and loss of face.

While many of the cultural traditions that are cherished in China are fading due to the rapid modernisation of the country, Chinese people maintain deep-rooted beliefs. These values are reflected in their food, language and other aspects of daily life. The most popular Chinese dishes include Peking duck, Mongolian hotpot, jiaozi (dumplings with pork, chives and onions) and various delicious teas.

Chinese American New Yorkers

The New York City metropolitan area hosts the largest and most prominent ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia, including populations from all 34 China province-level administrative units. The community has a long history of civic engagement, with several members serving in elected offices and on corporate boards.

Peter Koo, who represents Manhattan’s Chinatown on the City Council, and Margaret Chin, who represents Flushing’s Chinatown on the City Council, are among the many Chinese city representatives. In addition, Hong Kong-born entrepreneur Guo Wengui serves as a self-described “de facto” mayor of the Chinese province of Yunnan from his residence in Queens.

Like other immigrant groups, Chinese residents are aging faster than NYC overall, with the share of seniors growing by 2.9 percentage points between 2015 and 2020. They also tend to have larger households, with 13.0% of Chinese households experiencing overcrowding. This is primarily due to the fact that many immigrants brought family members along when they moved to New York.

Ethnic Stages

In recent years, the Chinese government has emphasized the concept of forging a sense of community. This policy is in line with China’s actual situation and has fostered the unity and harmonious coexistence of all ethnic groups in the country. Regardless of their differences in population size, length of history, area of residence, differences in language, religion, folkways, and customs, all ethnic groups should unite as one nation under the name of the Chinese nation.

Ethnic minority adolescents who have greater access to peer members from their own culture are more likely to perceive higher levels of ethnic identity salience. These findings support previous research that suggests the immediate social environment is a significant predictor of identity salience. Further research is needed to investigate the relationship between ego networks and identity salience for adolescents with different ethnic backgrounds. Specifically, additional research is needed to examine the relationships between ethnic diversity, ego network size, and identity salience for adolescents from different cultures.

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