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The Truth about Asian American Fathers
(Updated Tuesday, Apr 1, 2008, 05:03:23 PM)

or many Asian Americans the most gratifying moments of the Salt Lake City Games weren't seeing Apolo Anton Ohno and Michele Kwan winning their medals; they were seeing two Asian American men being recognized as key forces in the lives of two exceptional American Olympians. How often does that happen in the American media?
     Each time the TV cameras came in tight on Yuki Ohno and Danny Kwan rinkside, U.S. TV audiences saw two distinct images of Asian American fatherhood. Yuki was emotional, vocal and aggressive. Danny was impassive, silent and tentative. Some viewers might have felt cognitive dissonance. The faces of both men were unmistakeably Asian but neither evoked the familiar stereotype of the cold, stern taskmaster frowning at their kids' shortcomings.
     Of course Danny Kwan and Yuki Ohno are fathers of exceptional offspring. But are they exceptions that prove the rule, or is the stereotype based on distortions born of nothing but ignorance? Do AA fathers help their children mature into well-adjusted, successful adults or are they just another obstacle in the path of young Asians seeking a place in American society?

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[This page is closed to new input. --Ed.]
To answer your question:
"Do AA fathers help their children mature into well-adjusted, successful adults or are they just another obstacle in the path of young Asians seeking a place in American society?"

That depends on many factors. The two that come to mind - the father's own upbringing and his character - IMO, has the most influence on how he raises his kids. Some AA fathers are dictatorial with their children, wanting them to only walk the straight and narrow, and clipping their wings whenever they feel the kids are straying. Others, like Yuki Ohno and Danny Kwan, take a more compassionate approach, respect their children's choices as to what they want to do with their lives, and support them in the pursuit of their dreams. As we can see both fathers have reason to be happy with the fruits of their success. Both of their kids have grown up to not only be successful in what they do, but still LOVE, appreciate and remain close to their dads. There should be more like them.
   Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 09:43:21 (PST)    []
My dad is hopelessly old-fashioned and stuck in the past, but I think that's more a personal problem than an Asian one. He's only slowly understanding now how things have flipped 180 from when he was my age and the way AF treat AM now. Anyways, other than that, he's a VERY nice, personable guy who ALWAYS puts himself DEAD-LAST. He's made ENORMOUS sacrifices for his family, and often goes thankless for it. I almost wish he'd complain more instead of suppressing his hurt inside b/c it can't be healthy. There's such a thing as being too nice, and u will suffer for it. So, I gotta give him props, I just wish he'd put his own well-being into considerations as well.
Givin up sum props
   Monday, January 27, 2003 at 14:12:38 (PST)
Daisy Girl-

I think I could have written your post!!! My poor mom has sacrificed a lot and has had to put up with a LOT of CRAP from my dad. I love my mom and now that I am an adult I can better understand what kind of position she was stuck in.
As for my father, he is your stereotypical male pig. He is a professional (physician), however while we grew up, he did not treat my mother and us kids with any kindness. He seemed to enjoy shoving in our face that fact that HE was the one who put food on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our back.

We never spent any quality time with my dad. He was never physically abusive, but he was extremely emotionally abusive, always telling us we were ungrateful and lower than dirt. To be frank, my brothers and I were scared of my father and I think that made him even more angry with us. I still do not know how to deal with him. He has had some medical problems lately, so his temper has decreased quite a bit, however I can never forget the way he tormented me while I was growing up, definitely not a normal childhood.

From his POV, he thinks that a good dad is someone who provides for his family, which is what he did. However, he completely forgot that kids need some emotional support as well. He is the typical stoic asian man who believes that putting his kids down will make them work harder. He still has not figured out that it doesn't work this way in the US. Most americans are supportive of their children, even if they are not the class president or have the highest GPA and SAT scores in the state. He was never involved with any of our activities and now that we are grown I think he realizes that he barely knows us.

ABC College Guy-

I cannot speak for daisy girl, but no, I do not hold my experience with my father against AA males. In fact, I married an AA male. He is nothing like my father, his life is balanced, he has a good career and we have a wonderful marriage (I did vow however never to marry a doctor, which ticked off my dad). I do agree that AA males get a raw deal, b/c the media always seems to depict them as being pigs. I understand that there is a lot of stress and frustration coming to a new country and providing for a family. However, I think that our fathers forgot what was, not just money and status. (read what I wrote to daisy)

Luckily, most AA males that I know are not like our fathers, I think growing up in america, where ppl do not feel embarrassed to display affection and support for their children has been something good that has rubbed off on AA males brought up here in the states. I think that AA males would make excellent spouses and fathers, b/c of their strong work ethic and also understanding that being involved with your kids and being supportive is not only healthy but aids you kids to become successful. Sadly, I think a lot of our parents' forgot that emotional support is a key ingredient to raising a well adjusted and successful child.
   Tuesday, November 19, 2002 at 19:04:45 (PST)    []

[This post was moved from the AA Mothers page. --Ed]
Consider the possiblity that neither Messrs. Kwan nor Ohno represent the As-Am father model. In reality there are an inifite number of ways that As-Am males parent. I will parent my daughter quite differently from the way my Dad did his kids. After all, he was an immigrant to the US at age 17 with but four years of formal education,and ran a laundry to support his brood of five kids. I received two university degrees and practice law. But I will carry on his legacy on hard work, duty to family, loyalty and integrity. Also that he valued education and intellectual development as ends to themselves. Shouldn't all fathers/parents seek to transfer such traits by whatever means they feel are appropriate? Let's not say there's only one template but acknowledge that there are as many as there are personalities.
An immigrant's son.
   Friday, June 28, 2002 at 12:38:52 (PDT)
David Blackthorn,

I left AC or Indenture awhile ago. I think part of the arbitration deal was that they had to give up the name. I don't remember the details, since it was a while ago.

Hope all works out with the inlaws.
AC Dropout
   Wednesday, June 26, 2002 at 10:25:25 (PDT)
Are with Accenture now? (Boy, they're glad they lost that lawsuit over the Andersen Name, eh?)

Yeah, I've sent business over there against my better judgement. You're right about him and the Almighty Dollar--you have money and want your car detailed, he'll be your best friend.

My mother in law and I get along fine actually. She's a kind woman and very patient, but she just doesn't disagree with him to his face out of her own idea of "respect" for her husband. ::Sigh:: We'll see how this all pans out anyway.
David Blackthorn
   Friday, June 21, 2002 at 14:43:09 (PDT)