Many years ago, the laws of the United States prohibited Asian immigrants from entering the country. This law was eventually revoked and in 1952 legislation passed that allows people of all races to become United States Citizens. According to the U.S. Embassy website (n.d.), “today Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the country, currently approximately fifteen million people of Asian descent live in the United States” (para. 2). This paper will examine the influences these growing Asian-American communities have on the social and cultural structure of American society.
According to an article by Lam (2009), “Asian cultures have evolved and fully integrated into the American culture in the twenty-first century to the extent it is often non-Asian Americans who practice and promote Asian cultures” (para. 9). Asian Americans are individuals whose ancestries and backgrounds originate in the Far East and Southeast Asia. Asian American communities and their cultural influences have made their mark on the social and cultural structure of American society. From herbal medicine to acupuncture, the Asian American impact is visible in numerous aspects of American society.
Medicine – Herbal medicine and acupuncture are an alternative medicine for pain management that originated in the Asian culture. This along with meditation and India’s yoga as well as herbal massage therapy are viewed as a holistic approach to health and stress management.
Exercise – Tai chi chuan as it is known is an ancient Chinese exercise that has been adopted by Americans as a graceful form of exercise. Tai chi as it is known in America focuses on deep breathing and focused movements. This exercise that has been adapted to American societies is also used as a form of martial arts.
Martial Arts – Asian American’s have influenced American societies with the incorporation of martial arts into American culture. From Jiu Jitsu to Judo to Karate or Mixed Martial Arts all are types of defensive training that remains prominent in Asian American communities.
Asian cuisine – It is difficult to travel in any part of the United States without encountering some type of Asian cuisine. Some of the most likely restaurants are Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese. This Asian style of cuisine has offered Americans such dishes as fried rice, chow mein, egg rolls and teriyaki. Not to mention that many American homes now have woks as part of their kitchen utensils in order to prepare Asian dishes at home.
Religion – While the largest portion of the Asian American population is Christian there are still some members that continue to recognize the religion of their homeland. This religiously diverse ethnic group has contributed to the growth of Hinduism and Buddhism among American societies and cultures. As stated by Lam (2009) “according to a survey completed in 2003, thirty percent of Americans state they are familiar with the Buddhist teachings and twenty-two percent claim to be acquainted with Hinduism” (para 23).
This author is unfamiliar with the concept of Asian American television networks, periodicals or magazines; however it is uncommon to tune into a Saturday morning cartoon network without seeing the Japanese animes dominating these stations. It is the consensus of this essayist that the Asian American communities have in the past throughout their immigration to the United States and will continue to influence the cultural and structural framework of American society.
Lam, A. (2009). From philosophy to food, Asian culture inspires americans. Retrieved:
December 21, 2012. From: www.america.gov
United States Embassy. (n.d.). Retrieved: December 22, 2012. From: