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Essay Sample: Unique Cultural Practices of Chinese Americans

3 pages
602 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
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Chinese Americans form a critical part of the American population and are at the center of the technological and architectural progress of the United States. As a community, the Chinese Americans have unique cultural practices, values, and patterns that distinguish them from the rest of the society. They embrace open communication on even some of the issues that the Americans may perceive as personal. For instance, a typical Chinese American will unreservedly and openly talk about issues such as age, income or marital status. Due to this openness, the Chinese Americans consider it restrictive to communicate with the other Americans who feel that talking about such pertinent life issues is being too much intrusive.

Apart from the unique Chinese concept of privacy, they also have a distinct sense of respect for their elders. They treat them with the utmost dignity and provide necessary support to the aging. They consider the elderly as being part of their society even if age has had a toll on their lives that they are less active. The Chinese do all within their ability to ensure that they are close to their old kin so that they assist them. The sense of family is highly regarded among the Chinese and children carefully nurtured and cherished. The culture is unlike the American heritage in which the older people rarely stay together with their children. They are mostly cared for within their homes or palliative care systems thus demeaning the sense of familial care and support for the aged.

The Chinese have a different concept of friendship. Unlike the Americans who refer to people they meet with and share briefly with friends, the Chinese perceive friends as being more than just individuals who one can hang out with time to time. The Chinese believe in long-term friendships, and once one makes allies, they undertake to maintain them for a lifelong and feel deeply obligated to each other. Camaraderie among the Chinese means always being there to support one another forever. Among the Americans, one can merely meet a stranger, causally exchange pleasantries and then oblivious to the need to know each other profoundly, refers to that person as a friend. They have classified friends variably depending on what they do together such as drinking friends or playing friends.

The Chinese embrace the sense of community and happily support joint initiatives for a collective gain. As long as something promises to confer benefits to the broader society, the Chinese will always offer their goodwill and support. This cultural trend is different from the Americans who value individual capitalist interest than collective goals. For instance, a Chinese feels it profound to be considered as having achieved goals as a team, family or group while an American is highly likely to strive to attain something alone so that he or she be regarded as exceptional. Therefore it becomes difficult for Chinese Americans to convince other Americans that people who collectively accomplish specific goals are supposed to be viewed as excellent.

The Chinese tend to nod on someone elses opinion even if they not necessarily agree with them. The sheer need to respect and honor the view of the other person, the Chinese believe that being a confrontation of the alternative ideas is humiliating. On the other hand, the Americans are always too upfront in their communication and combative in defending their opinions which make it uncomfortable for intercultural communication to occur between these two groups efficiently. The blunt conversation that characterizes the American culture make the Chinese uneasy hence they like subtle, indirect ways of letting out their thoughts and opinions.


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