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About this sample
Words: 1330 |
7 min read
Published: Aug 14, 2023
Words: 1330|Pages: 3|7 min read
In United States, for most families, the education of next generation is a priority in life, especially for Asians. Compared with other ethnic groups, Asian families have accomplished remarkable success in educating their children. According to ACT and SAT scores data from 2017 to 2018, there is a widening gap between the average scores of Asian Americans and others. All racial and ethnic groups’ scores declined in their scores in 2018 compared to 2017, except for Asian Americans which scores were already the top scoring group. Asian families seem like putting especial value and spending more resource on education. This memo is trying to analyze the underlying meaning to Asian’s social status in American society by using sociological theories “Capitalism” from Karl Marx, “Habitus” from Pierre Bourdieu, and “Taxis and Cosmos” from Hayek to provide more understanding of social forces and motivations behind the phenomenon.
In the United States, most American families believe good parenting is based on middle class behaviors, which are including display a warmth and intimate environment balanced with monitoring and control. In contrast, condition in Asian American families is somewhat different. Asian American parents appear to show less warmth and to be more controlling of their children.
In Asian culture, parents support their children and regulate their behavior, they may appear strictness and lacking in warmth reflects Asian immigrant parents’ belief that control is not only necessary, but a key role for parents. Asian families are very invested in their children’s education. In many Asian cultures the whole purpose of parenthood is to give their children a better life. They believe education will leading to a higher success. It is like playing a chess. The goal is to win the game. For weighting strength on children’s wing, they tend to send their kids to gifted program, give them extra homework to do, send them to afterschool, send the kids to all kinds of classes like learning instruments which most of Asian parents would love to spend that money and time on. Parents are also set extremely high goals for children on academic performances and drive them to achieve the goals. Once each goal is achieved, there will be another set coming up immediately. There is no break from the parent’s demands.
In addressing the question of Asian American families’ harsh attitude on education, there are some theories may provide several explanations for these issues. Marx’s ideology was heavily influenced by enlightenment thinking that people are able to alter their environment to allow for fuller human capacity. He states that social groups are driven by creating and maintaining wealth. Asian American are the fastest-growing racial group in U.S. They have better economically relative to other racial groups due to highly educated immigrants. Marx believed that social change occurs because of the struggle between different classes who are constantly competing to improve their conditions. Compared to other racial groups, Asian American are the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing in the U.S., they add more value than other groups do on marriage, education, hard work and career success. When first generation Asian American immigrated to U.S. they were low-skilled, low-wage laborers. Also, Asian American are the most likely to live in mixed neighborhoods that have better education resources for next generation. The improved economic success and social assimilation help Asians realize the social mobility.
There is another perspective to demonstrate another side of the meaning of education and parenting of Asian family. Habitus is one of Bourdieu’s most influential yet ambiguous concepts. He addressed “habitus refers to socially acquired, embodied systems of schemes of disposition, perceptions and evaluation that orient and give meaning to practices”. His thinking was heavily influenced by Marx in his cultural capital. Bourdieu argued that capital formed the foundation of social life and dictated one’s position within the social order. The similarity of Marx and Bourdieu, the more power, money, property, technics or knowledge one has, the more powerful a position one occupies in social life. The disparity of their thinking is beyond the economic factor, Bourdieu add more symbolic realm of culture in it. Habitus is a product of early childhood experience and socialization within family, also continually reforming by the outside world. Education is one of the cultural capitals which poetically promotes social mobility. School and family provide unevenly social and cultural resources to the children. For instance, Asian families believe in specific roles for each member of the family. Children are dividing their time on schoolwork and extra interest activates. They must respect the elders and obey parents and also study hard and do well in school.
Merton’s theory on manifest function refers to the intended function of social policies, processes, or actions that are consciously and deliberately designed to be beneficial in its effect on society. For example, education is the conscious and deliberate intention is to produce educated young people who understand their world and its history, receive knowledge and practical skills to be productive members in society. Asian parents intend to give as much as possible resources to their kids, such as sending them to afterschool program, in order to get into gifted program. According to department of education, there were total of over 16,000 students in gifted-and-talented programs in 2018, Asians had the highest rate of enrollment followed by whites.
Manifest theory might explain that Asian parent intended provide better environments to kids to expect better academic outcomes but cannot fully explain the driven motivation behind the action. All parents and educators believe in positive reinforcement for a job well done. Many American parents also reward their children for well school performance. Asian parents’ tent to reduce praise less frequently. American parents tend to stress the importance of effort regardless of the result, yet Asian parents tend to be more result oriented.
It seems as through theory of Marx’s capitalism and Bourdieu’s habitus role doing better in explaining Asian American family’s attitude towards education. Marx theory helps to understand how education came about and what has to be done to change the social mobility within its effect. Asian parent considers harsh education and to push the children achieve better success motivated by probability of maintaining wealth and realize social mobility. They tend to train children to be more competitive in upper class-controlled society. And habitus help transforming older generation’s values and norms and pass down to their children, expecting the heritage the value of the importance of education.
For most Asians in American, experience or memory of lacking economic and educational resources is a powerful motivational factor. A good education is a passport out of poverty through upward social mobility. Asian cultural values are not simply about a harsh and uncompromising parenting style, they are about educating children to be aware of the need for a good education. Parent’s attitude plays a crucial role in children’s academic and professional success.
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