21 October 2006 Reaction to Karen Pyke’s Article In Karen Pyke’s research en d "The Normal AmericanFamily as an Interpretive Structure of Family Life among Grown Children of Korean and Vietnamese" exposes the perception of the aforementioned foreigners on their families based on their growing up experiences and their plans of filial care. These immigrants become good determinants of how the hegemony of North American culture influenced other ethnicities’ view of the ideal and normal family. The study shows that Koreans and Vietnamese exposure to the television, their non-Asian American friends, and comparisons with specific family behavior and characteristics denoted as normal or American. Within these three factors, what become apparent are the immigrants high regard for the culture which is dominant in the society. Their picture of what is "ideal" and "normal" family becomes synonymous with that of the North American family as seen in popular media and their American peers. On the other hand, the family ideology of the minority like Koreans and Vietnamese is seen as deficient.
The study reveals the preference of the immigrants to have a more Americanized family than stick with their own family ideologies. It should be noted that almost all the interviewees express their predilection for more sensitive, open communication, flexibility, and forgiveness among family members. Their traditional family values like role prescriptions, family obligations, hierarchical relations, and lack of emotional expressiveness are seen are hindrances in attaining rapport among family members. Given a chance to change their families, Koreans and Vietnamese immigrants want their parents to be less strict and give them more freedom, more open-minded and less traditional, and more expressive. As mentioned above, it can be seen that this perception of the normal and ideal family stems from the hegemony of the American culture in the society where they belong.
However, Pyke also notes that even though Koreans and Vietnamese immigrants strongly favor a more Americanized family ideology, their plans for filial care reveals their affinity for their ethnic values of collectivism. As opposed to Americans, these foreigners see that sending their parents in a nursing home when they grow old is disrespectful and unloving. Looking deeper, Pyke asserts that these decisions are not merely due to their perceived obligation or culture but it is their way of expressing their affection to their family.
Karen Pyke’s article is an excellent resource in understanding family ideology in different ethnicities. It also shows the influence of a dominant culture in the perception of the minority. This article also stresses the important role of the popular media in conveying what is "ideal" and "normal." I believe that the deficiency felt by the Koreans and Vietnamese is largely due to the influence and their high regard for the American culture. However, it can be seen that they are also aware of the shortcomings of the hegemon culture as evidenced by their plans of filial care. I strongly support the views of the immigrants-a family needs to be more expressive and children should show their affection to their parents by taking care of them in the latter life. However, Koreans and Vietnamese should also note that their unique ethnic values have kept their society intact. They should also learn to appreciate some of the values like respect for elders which is presently lacking in the American society.
Pyke, Karen. "The Normal American Family as an Interpretive Structure of Family Life among Grown Children of Korean and Vietnamese" Blackwell Synergy. 21 October 2006