Growing up Asian in America by Kesaya E. Noda deals with growing up culturally different in America. There are some important components of a culture like identity, beliefs, values, and dialect. These components are influenced by our family, friends, social environment, and the community we live in. In her essay, Noda talks about dealing with knowing and defining herself. She explains that there are two mindsets for her. The first one, inside, which she is totally comfortable with and feels accepted, and the other one, outside, which she thinks that other people don’t understand her and are often ignorant to her.
She faced discrimination, when she was a child. Others called her as “Other” or “Unalterably alien.” She draws a clear distinction between Japanese-Americans and other Americans. She emphasizes that a third generation German-American is an American, on the other hand, a third generation Japanese-American is still seen as Japanese-American, because most of the people only remember that being Japanese means being a danger to the country. I think that this is a clear example of the ignorance of people.
Noda stands by her identity. When she was young, she couldn’t understand why her parents didn’t complain about all the things that they had to do to prove their loyalty to America. She felt angry about it. After realizing the reasons, she showed empathy for her parents and other Japanese-Americans too. Of course, the circumstances and the way of thinking of people have changed within time. Now, she feels like she belongs to the community. I believe that this change had an impact on her ideas changing. She makes this very clear, when she says that “a death in the family is not just a death in a family; it is a death in the community.”
She feels sorry for her parents and grandparents for going through a difficult time during the World War II. She is also mad at community because of the injustice which is