Study Questions

  • Describe the cultural characteristics of Asian American groups. How did these characteristics shape relationships with the larger society? Did they contribute to the perception of Asian Americans as “successful”? How?

  • Compare and contrast the contact situations for Chinese Americans, Japanese Americans, and Cuban Americans. What common characteristics led to the construction of ethnic enclaves for all three groups? How and why did these enclaves vary from one another?

  • In what sense was the second generation of Chinese Americans “delayed”? How did this affect the relationship of the group with the larger society?

  • Compare and contrast the campaigns that arose in opposition to the immigration of Chinese and Japanese. Do the concepts of the Noel hypothesis help explain the differences? Do you see any similarities with the changing federal policy toward Mexican immigrants across the 20th century? Explain.

  • Compare and contrast the Japanese relocation camps with Indian reservations in terms of paternalism and coerced acculturation. What impact did this experience have on the Japanese Americans economically? How were Japanese Americans compensated for their losses? Does the compensation paid to Japanese Americans provide a precedent for similar payments (reparations) to African Americans for their losses under slavery? Why or why not?

  • How do the Burakumin in Japan illustrate “visibility” as a defining characteristic of minority group status? How is the minority status of this group maintained?

  • What gender differences characterize Asian American groups? What are some of the important ways in which the experiences of women and men vary?

  • Describe the situation of the Chinese and Japanese Americans in terms of prejudice and discrimination, acculturation, and integration. Are these groups truly “success stories”? How? What factors or experiences might account for this “success”? Are all Asian American groups equally successful? Describe the important variations from group to group. Compare the integration and level of equality of these groups with other American racial minorities. How would you explain the differences? Are the concepts of the Noel and Blauner hypotheses helpful? Why or why not?