Comparative Ethnic Experience: Chinese-American and Hispanics, Italian-American

Published: 2022-10-10
Comparative Ethnic Experience: Chinese-American and Hispanics, Italian-American
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Ethnography
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1239 words
11 min read

Comparative Ethnic Experience: Part One

The western state of California has the highest number of immigrants compared to the other areas of the United States. The commonest of these groups are the Chinese American and the Hispanic who despite coming from different places, the two groups share similar experiences. Their ancestors who came to the U.S wanted to create better opportunities for the families. However, they were subjected to discrimination and often were employed as laborers working in the railroad. Their rights were all together assaulted by the white settlers tide. They faced communication problem because of the language barrier as they could not speak fluent English. The two groups formed the ethnic enclaves where they live near each other although they do not mix because of the cultural differences.

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Both the Chinese-American and Hispanics had different origins which expresses their different ethnic practices including the language and their culture. Amidst the persistent racism, the Chinese-American and Hispanic groups strove their distinct ethnic and cultural abilities to allow them to maintain the way of life and rights. They were, however, disadvantaged by a large number of the white settlers forcing them into homogenous communities for the survival of their language and culture. This then tells us that the American ethnic experience is very hostile to the people who are not Native Americans. Their language and their culture are different, and one finds it hard to put up with it. The inability to cop up with the American ethnic practices sets a stage for the researchers to find out the ideal components of these cultures. The American ethnic experience like what the Chinese-American and Hispanic had after moving to the west poses a question of how reliable are the culture and language use by Americans. This follows the claim that the two groups moved due to the pressure of ethnic differences hence the need for the study of American ethnic lives.

The experiences and sentiments of commonplace are not of unique to the Puerto Rican and Chinese experiences. When Esmeralda Santiago in the "When I was Puerto Rican," and the family moves to New York, they face various challenges that make their lives difficult. They are subjected to racism and the problem of new language. She gets embarrassment since her mother could not speak fluent English. The only job that her mother secures is being a manual laborer in a factory (Santiago, 34). The similar experience is faced by the Chinese immigrant mothers in "The Joy Luck Club" where their American-raised daughters so not want to be associated with their Chinese mothers' past. We see Suyuan, a Chinese mother who plays mahjong in the joy luck club only entertaining her four Chinese friends. It means the whites could not join the Chinese in the club (Wang, 22). Thus, this group faces similar experiences as what the Chinese-Americans and Hispanic underwent.

Due to the ethnic differences, the Chinese-American and Hispanic are faced with the problem of multiple identity and homelands. However, to solve these challenges, they withdraw and move into homogenous communities where their culture and language is uniform. Though they live near each other, they cannot mix. Elsewhere, the Puerto Rican-ness of Esmeralda Santiago factor into her Americanness when she accepts her situation becomes determined and remain a good student to be liked by teachers. She ultimately gets supported through the elite New York High School of Performing Arts audition which gets her going.

Comparative American Experience: Part Two

In the community of Italian America, food was of great importance in telling how social the person was. It is a common belief in the community that when they share meals, then they are strengthening community and family ties. There is an interconnection between food and life so by examining how the community relates to food; it is the same as examining the community. Through food, the community exercises its traditions and rituals.

The section relates to how food can be used in describing the ethnic identity of a group of people. Different ethnic groups hold different perceptions concerning the type of food that people eat, the way the food is prepared, and how food is served and consumed in the community. This is essential especially when studying the American ethnic lives concerning identifying the various cultural practices towards the food the communities use. Food has been associated with the fabric of traditions which involves performing different rituals that must be respected, and any disruption of these rituals indicates the violation of the values of the community. Thus, by understanding the various aspects related to food that communities consume, we understand the ethnic lives and the practices of the different groups.

The experiences and sentiments are not uniquely Italian but rather commonplace even with other races including the African American and the Native American. From the scenario described in the "Paper fish" the writer Tina De Rosa tells the story from the Italian- American setting and almost the whole of part two, we see the kitchen settings. We also regularly see the smoke of burning a dead fish which only occurs during the summer (De Rosa, 4). The events happening in the novel best describes the Italian-American community and how they are perceived. By using the elements of food such as smoke and burning dead fish, this helps define the Italians. Indeed, the community has been represented through the stereotypes of gluttony. Their communities association with food has made the Americans associate the Italians with the characters of eating which then helps define the ethnicity and their practices. However, looking at it keenly, we can see very long conversations happening within the kitchen and in the restaurant. This indicates that, to the community, is essential when it comes to helping the community measure the social standing of a person. This is happening in the Italian community; it also occurs in African-American where the type of food is used to mark a particular ceremony or event. The same thing happens to native to identify their culture. Thus, there is no uniqueness in the experiences and the sentiments.

In the "hidden figures" movie, we meet three women who depict the experiences that the African American underwent in the United States. This not different from how we see the Italian- American perceived in the "Paper fish." Both the communities are branded based on their races, not the qualifications they have. The three women in the film are all qualified, and Katherine proves to be the best in many occasions but she is not given the opportunity, and she is not even allowed to share the platform with the white counterparts ( HYPERLINK "" Melfi, min42). The situation is completely different from the Native Americans in the "Red Jacket Defends Native American Religion, 1805". As a mediator between the Senecas and the new U.S government, he uses all the force to protect the Native Americans when many cultures tend to come up. In essence, Red Jacket was defending the religion that the Native American had against all other arising religions.

Works cited

De Rosa, Tina. Paper Fish. Feminist Press at CUNY, 2003.Melfi, Theodore. Hidden Figures . Fox 2000 Pictures, USA (2016). Retrieved from:

Santiago, Esmeralda. When I Was Puerto Rican: A Memoir. Hachette UK, 2006.

Wang, Wayne. The Joy Luck Club. Hollywood Pictures, USA (1993) Retrieved from:

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Comparative Ethnic Experience: Chinese-American and Hispanics, Italian-American. (2022, Oct 10). Retrieved from

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