As the son of immigrants who had come from China to the United States seeking freedom and opportunity, I grew up in the American Midwest in the 1970s. I wanted to be just like my classmates and neighbors, and I worked hard to assimilate. Yet we never forgot, because we were not allowed to, that somehow we were different. You would not have expected to meet people like us on Sunnydale Lane; you would instead have believed we belonged on the other side of the world.
This report captures that complexity: the general perception of Asian Americans turns out to be anything but simple. It’s impossible to reduce to a soundbite – an accurate soundbite anyway. Instead, our experiences reflect the ambiguities of the changing face of our nation. For within our lifetimes, we will become the first society in human history anywhere on the globe to cease to have any clearly identifiable majority group.