Post on: January 29, 2014
The Chinese New Year is arriving soon, and this year will be the “Year of the Horse.” On behalf of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and the Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group, I wish everyone a happy new year!
America has been undergoing a tremendous amount of change in recent decades, most important of which is the increasing amount of cultural and ethnic diversity due to the rise in population of minority groups. Today Hispanic Americans, African-Americans and Asian-Americans account for 18 percent, 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of the U.S. population, and it is anticipated that in the next decade these minority groups will become the majority for the first time in this country.
The rising population comes with an increased amount of social and societal responsibility. Traditionally, minority groups such as Asian-Americans are more focused on our own work and families, and have not been actively involved in mainstream American activities such as politics and seeking leadership positions in the community and government. This needs to change. As Asian-Americans increase in number and influence, we need to participate more actively in these community and governmental activities, and help to solve the problems America is facing as a country today.
As Asian-Americans, we have our own needs, as well. Like all other minority groups, we desire racial equality and equal opportunity, and we continue to fight against glass ceilings in the workplace, discrimination in the admission process at major American universities, and racial discrimination, which was exemplified by the nationwide demonstration across 27 U.S. cities that took place on Nov. 9, 2013, where over 10,000 people gathered and protested ABC network’s racially insensitive programs. The only way for Asian-Americans to achieve racial equality, however, is for us to have more of a voice in the American society, as well as more representation in the American government, both which will come only if Asian-Americans ourselves increase our participation in and contribution to society.
Asian-Americans do have a great deal to share with the rest of America. For example, one of the main issues facing America today is education. Asian-Americans are well known for our ability to educate our children to excel in school. However, we need to not only succeed in educating our own youth, but also and more importantly, share our knowledge and skills in this area with the rest of America so we can all work together to improve the educational system in America.
I hope this year’s Chinese New Year — the Year of the Horse — will bring “galloping” changes in this country in the interest and attention of Asian-American community, including Chinese Americans. We should not be content with merely participating in our own communities’ activities, such as celebrating the Chinese New Year with dumplings and dragon dance festivities, we should also be more confident and willing to step out of our own communities and participate more actively in the mainstream activities of the American society, such as politics and leadership roles in the community and government, so that we can work with all racial and ethnic groups and through collective effort help shape the future of America.