Journey to the East during COVID
Key Contributions: This was a solo academic project. I managed the recruitment, interviews, analysis, synthesis, and recommendations.
So I ask the following research questions
Special Activity: Draw Your Identity
Sample codes and quotations from the Code Book
Art Gallery: Draw Your Identity
"So Pre-COVID, I was not really sure what to make of my Asian American identity. I was kind of like, not really talked to other Asian American people, it was just me by myself in my room. Other ABCs like, in college, I was feeling very out of place with all the groups and other Asian Americans. I felt very shame, like a lot of shame about being banana, like whitewashed, and not being Chinese enough."
"But now I'm definitely engaging with a lot of other people. And like, you know, I'm kind of further along like accepting I'm whitewashed. I'm ABC, and it's chill. It's how I am. There's like, a lot of other people who are like me. It's a lot of, I guess solidarity and comfort in there, be some sort of like community and have dialogue about it."
"I think the circle represents my identity. The question mark just means that I'm not super sure about it. The squiggles represent like how my identity radiates and like interact with other things around me. It's not too crazy, it's not too bold because I think I've, you know, I've never been like, 'oh I am Asian and proud or whatever.' It's kind of like the literally just body heat that naturally comes, but not something that I'm going out and like shining in everyone's faces, so that's, that's what this is."
"Now the line is bolder because it's under more scrutiny. I think there's a lot of pressure and I feel more in the public eye now, it almost feel like there are arrows pointing at me sometimes. The lines through the circle is me trying to minimize or obscure/hide my identity. There are two question marks because [I feel] there's a lot more to consider and I feel a lot more hesitant...like, a little bit more uncomfortable with what it means to be me."
"These circles are other identities that interact with me in harmony. There's still of course, like pressure being perceived by other people, but I'm also outwardly expressing and having a conversation with others no matter what pressure is coming in at me."
Here, a participant emphasizes that COVID reinforced her connection with her family, and learning about them has reimagined her Chinese identity. Prior to COVID, her connection towards being Chinese has mainly been about her traditional dance classes and the kinds of foods she ate.
Implications and Considerations:
For Chinese Americans who grew up without a strong ethnic community, this could be a prime time to suggest on their social media platforms to connect with cultural groups online to explore and learn about their heritage and shared experiences. An example of this is Subtle Asian Traits (SAT) on Facebook.
Many participants discussed their desire to learn the language more to connect with their family and learn about their culture. It might thus be more effective to model language lessons that include familiar family events and fun cultural references that will more quickly allow them to engage with their family.
The need to assert belonging: Some participants do not feel the need to assert themselves for a sense of belonging in the imaginary community. It would be interesting to discover the nuance of how, what, and why that sense of belong is given or not for our participants.