Rise of the Tiger Nation

Rise of the Tiger Nation

Asian-Americans are now the country’s best-educated, highest-earning and fastest-growing racial group. With that the Wall Street Journal wrote an article entitled “Rise of the Tiger Nation,” which attempts to parallel the success of Asian Americans with American Jews. They share both the distinction and the occasional burden of immigrant success. You can read the full article here. Author Lee Siegel uses examples like NBA’s Jeremy Lin to Survivor’s Yul Kwon to illustrate the visibility of Asian Americans. The piece offer several distinctions that helps and hurt opportunities for Asian Americans including the Chinese Exclusion Act, internment camps, and religion. From the article, “Asian-Americans have followed the opposite trajectory from Jewish-Americans. Toxic racism and then prohibitions against immigration prevented them from rising in American society for nearly a century. And then they did so with unique alacrity. Jewish immigrants, whether in the 19th century, in the 1930s as refugees from Hitler or in the 1980s as refugees from the Soviet Union, came here for the most part without a penny to their name. Today, Asian-Americans arrive in America more highly educated, and more prosperous, than any other immigrant group.” The article is an interesting read, but the parallelism aren’t quite on point. Like missing the wave of Chinese Cultural Revolution, where immigrants came over leaving everything behind in China. The author does conclude on in interesting note. “Yet the astounding success of Asian-Americans raises the dark question of how long they will be able to resist attracting the furies of fear and envy, especially during times of economic stress, or of economic and political conflict with countries like China, where the preponderance of Asian-Americans still come from. If China does one day become an explicit antagonist, it seems likely that the anxiety among Chinese-Americans will be even more intense than that of American Jews every time the allegiances of the American-Jewish lobby are questioned.”

What do you think of the article?

Also read Jeff Yang’s counterpoint Easy Tiger (Nation) here. He presents a better discussion about Asians in America.

Rise of the Tiger Nation (WSJ’s Stu Woo talks to author Lee Siegel.)

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