How does being a second-generation immigrant influence how we experience the world? I’ve often asked this question of myself because although I was born and raised in an extremely affluent town in New Jersey, my parents come from a socioeconomically disadvantaged community in Hong Kong. They immigrated to the United States in the 80’s (my father to Europe first) to pursue their education, and our family has been here since. I have learned to recognize that I currently live a life of privilege, but my parents have not. In fact, they have risked livelihoods, opportunities, and relationships for me.
Although I am more self-motivated than pressured by my parents when it comes to schooling, they have always made education a priority. They believe in living simply, practically, and frugally. They are religiously devout and continue to pass on their faith to my siblings and me every day. Are traits like these a common theme in immigrant families?
Stereotypes about the “tiger mom” or strict, foreboding parenting have always existed and have been linked to Asian households, specifically. Are these stereotypes directly connected to Asian culture, or are they more related to “immigrant” culture -- the type of parenting given by people who have made tough sacrifices for the sake of the futures and education of their children?