First and second generation Chinese-Americans often find themselves with one foot in modern America, and the other in the motherland.  At times, it can be difficult synthesizing these conflicting expectations of the past and the present…of a heritage that stresses filial piety in a society that stresses individualism and rebellion…of a media that portrays them as exotic, despite their reality of being born and raised in the United States.  Where does this generation of “model” minorities turn to for role models?  The purpose of this class is to utilize discussion groups to help teens explore their individual and social identities.  Our hope is that campers will walk away with the vocabulary and confidence to articulate their feelings on issues of identity thus facilitating their maturation into young adults.  ID, which stands for “Identity Discussion,” is our opportunity to empower our campers, and let them know that their experiences and their voices matter.

Class norms for discussions

ID was first taught in 2001, and brought back in 2010. Our elementary and middle school campers learn more about their heritage through geography, history and folklore. Our high school age campers engage in a discussion-based class, which allows them to express their thoughts and feelings in a safe space without judgment. This year’s discussions touched on topics including “tiger moms” and the “bamboo ceiling”.

Processing thoughts at the end of class through a journaling activity

2011 Younger class syllabus

  • Sunday – Introduction and Mailboxes
  • Monday – The First Emperor and Go/圍棋
  • Tuesday – The Monkey King and Peking Opera
  • Wednesday – Dragons and the Great Wall
  • Thursday – Affirmations and Jeopardy!

2011 Older class syllabus (including class readings)

2010 Younger class syllabus

  • Monday – Tour of Beijing, Shanghai and Taipei
  • Tuesday – Chinese Exclusion Act of 1883
  • Wednesday – Good luck/bad luck
  • Thursday – Folklore: Chinese zodiac / Legend of the Ten Suns
  • Friday – Skit preparation / Jeopardy!

2010 Older class syllabus

  • Monday – Self-identity/Pipe cleaners
  • Tuesday – Immigration history/Parent expectations
  • Wednesday – Racial identity
  • Thursday – Gender identity/Cross-gender relations
  • Friday – Asians in the media/If you really knew me/Affirmations

We created a mix CD for all our older campers to take home with a CD insert telling our campers some information about all the artists. The CD featured Asian-American artists and Chinese artists with connections to the United States. The track list is below.

  1. Leehom Wang (Wang Li Hong) – Change Me (改便自己)
  2. Wonder Girls – Nobody
  3. Amerie – Heard ‘Em All
  4. Coco (Li Wen) f. Vanness Wu (Wu Jian Hao) – Hip Hop Tonight
  5. BoA – Eat You Up
  6. Far*East Movement – Dance Like Michael Jackson
  7. Jin (Ou Yang Jin) – Angels
  8. CHOPS – Chinese School
  9. Kero One – Keep Pushin’
  10. Khalil Fong (Fang Da Tong) – Enough or Not (夠不夠)
  11. Utada – Come Back To Me
  12. Tim Be Told – Analyze
  13. Kina Grannis – Valentine
  14. Wilber Pan (Pan Wei Bo) – Have To Love (不得不愛)
  15. Vienna Teng (Shi Yi Xin) – Gravity
  16. Priscilla Ahn – Dream
  17. David Tao (Tao Zhe) – Regular Friends (譜通朋友)
  18. Charice f. Iyaz – Pyramid
  19. Justin Nozuka – After Tonight
  1. i’m ba-ack…get ready to get serious, y’all…

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