Lost Somewhere In The Middle: A Story of Childhood Immigration

During my advocacy elective as a pediatric intern, I spent time with attorney Alice Rosenthal Esq., the senior staff attorney with the Center for Children’s Advocacy and the coordinator of the Medical-Legal Partnership Program at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. One afternoon, we spent several hours with a father and son who had immigrated from a Caribbean Island just a few years prior. The son had a very complex psychosocial and medical history. Sadly, his childhood was filled with tragedies. In his country of origin, the son’s mother had subjected him to physical and emotional abuse.

A few years after moving to the U.S. with his father and siblings, the son was diagnosed with leukemia. Fortunately, he is currently doing well but is often noncompliant with taking his medications and misses various medical appointments. He has also been diagnosed with a complex psychiatric illness but has stopped his psychiatric medications because he insists that he “feels better” and fails to attend those appointments as well.

Aside from his complex medical diagnoses, the patient had recently become involved in group violence. His father tearfully shared that he feared for his son’s life and that of his other children. Community members had been shot and killed. Overwhelmed by fear, hopelessness, and loss of control, the father was on the verge of asking his son to move out of their home.

All of this was just the surface of what were many years of hardship for this young man and family.

This is an extremely complex case with many layers to dissect. This family’s story brings to light the reality of many immigrant youth in the U.S. and further validates my own experience growing up as a daughter of Egyptian immigrant parents. Since my childhood, I was extremely involved with my Coptic Orthodox Christian church community, most of which were Egyptian immigrant families struggling to find their footing in the “land of endless opportunity,” hoping to fulfill the “American Dream”. Others were immigrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Syria. I very quickly learned that most families from my church community faced endless adversities, and that youth, in particular, faced unique and challenging difficulties.

One’s youth is a time of establishing self-identity, values, and opinions. It is a time of self-discovery and building meaningful relationships. It is also a time of pursuing a sense of belonging while combating insecurities. In my church community, I witnessed various youth disconnected from their homelands and isolated in their new countries, deeply seeking any sense of acceptance. Many are left feeling alone and lost while wrestling with depression, anxiety, and various other mental health disorders.

As pediatricians working with various immigrant populations, it is vital to recognize the struggles that immigrant youth face. Medical legal partnerships are uniquely positioned to help immigrant families combat the challenges related to safe and stable housing, education, and access to medical care. This partnership recognizes how social stressors must be addressed in order for families to live healthier and happier lives.

Who is Making Asian American Pacific Islander History in 2021: The GMA Inspiration List

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebrates the contributions of one of the fastest-growing groups of people living in the United States. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders contain multitudes. They are a global community with a homegrown and unique perspective on America.

Their diversity expands continents and demographics. The hopes and dreams of the AAPI community are America at its finest, and its people and traditions are those that are tightly stitched into the fabric of the nation. The American dream is alive and well within the AAPI community, and we’ve gathered so many of those dreams here throughout this inspiring list of individuals.

We’re publishing The GMA Inspiration List as the community asserts its voice — speaking out and standing up as anti-Asian violence has spread amid the COVID-19 pandemic; defining itself on its own terms; and increasing awareness of their collective history and future in the United States.

The month of May is a time to remember those who have enriched the community and others with knowledge, pride and respect. We recognize that work, those struggles and the vision for the future of the AAPI community, and reflect on the idea that their history is at the heart of American history.

Welcome to the GMA INSPIRATION LIST: Who’s Making AAPI History Right Now?

Good Morning America and ABC News asked influential AAPI leaders, celebrities, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, athletes and more to nominate fellow members of the community for the list. It’s important to note: the vastness of the AAPI community means it has deep ties in countries of origin, which includes the rich Asian global diaspora. To honor the global community, we’ve provided space for nominators who do not identify as American. Most of the nominations on the list are rising stars on the cusp of becoming household names, whose influence, we believe, will become monumental. They are those who are doing the work, gaining success and sharing their talent … and making history right now.

America, meet the next generation of AAPI excellence. James Hong nominates Chris Naoki Lee

As an actor who has been a part of this business for nearly 70 years, it has been inspiring to see the rise in work from the Asian community, and I am proud to acknowledge Chris Naoki Lee as an up and coming artist. This industry certainly tries to put you in a box, or tries to make you stay in your own lane, but just as I had learned to weave my career into what it is today, I see Chris making similar bold choices as well. Not only does he work as an actor, but he continues to adapt and evolve in the fields of writing, directing, and producing. […]

Continue reading the rest at abcnews.go.com

Breaking down the reality and history of mental health stigmas within America’s AAPI communities

AAPI mental health stigmas have only been exacerbated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Hannah Xu Throughout the month of May, the U.S. celebrates the history, culture, traditions, diversity and many contributions of the AAPI community with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The month of May was chosen for two reasons. One is to commemorate the first wave of Japanese immigrants to the U.S. on May 7, 1843.

Between 1886 and 1911, 400,000-plus Japanese women and men immigrated to the states, particularly to Hawaii and the West Coast.

In memory of the arrival of Manjiro , the 14-year-old fisherman who is considered to be America’s first Japanese immigrant, Congress established May as AAPI Heritage month.

May also marks the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869.

The Central Pacific Railroad, the company that built the western portion of the railroad, employed more than 10,000 Chinese laborers, yet their hard work has often been glossed over in history.

Even at a ceremony in 1969, marking the 100th anniversary of the completion of the railroad, centennial officials agreed to set aside part of the ceremony to pay homage to the Chinese workers who helped build the railroad, but they neglected to fulfill this promise — in a way that stung like a scorpion.

Instead, the then-Transportation Secretary, John A. Volpe, attributed the achievement to Americans, saying: “Who else but Americans could drill 10 tunnels in mountains 30 feet deep in snow?”

Volpe mentioned some of the backbreaking and hazardous work that was performed by a labor force consisting of 90% Chinese migrants, who were ineligible to become citizens under federal law, but they received nothing more than a passing mention. The five minutes of recognition that was promised to these migrant workers was never given. Thus, each May that passes, the AAPI community acknowledges this labor effort and reflects on the many ways in which Asian immigrants shaped this country.

For the 31 days of May, mental health advocates, organizations and those living with mental illnesses observe the importance of taking care of one’s mental wellness, and shed light on the issues that permeate the mental health industry, like inaccessibility, injustices within treatment centers, and the stigma that hinders people from seeking help.

The word stigma is defined by the Cambridge English dictionary as “a strong feeling of disapproval that most people in a society have about something.”

Stigma, prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness is extremely normalized and can be seen in several sectors of society.

Mainstream media coverage of complex illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia, tend to emphasize portrayals of violence, unpredictability and danger to others, despite the fact that close to 96% of violent crimes are committed by people who […]

Continue reading the rest at aldianews.com

Cross Cultural Kids

Cross Cultural Kids

At the 2017 Families in Global Transition Conference (FIGT) in The Hague, Netherlands, Ruth van Reken elaborated on the term Cross Cultural Kid . Children are often in more than one of these circles at the same time. (e.g. A traditional TCK who is also from a minority group; a child of immigrants whose parents are from two different cultures, etc.) This helps us understand the growing complexity of the issues we face in our changing world . The term Cross Cultural Kid is the umbrella name for many variations of CCKs including:

Domestic Cross Cultural Kid

A child “whose parents have moved in and among various subcultures within that child’s home country.” (Pollock & Van Reken, 2009) This may be from the rural subculture to the city, from the subculture in one city to the subculture on the other side of that city, from a Capital city’s subculture to the subculture of another Capital city or from one State to another. Domestic TCKs are moving across cultures, they just happen to be within one country’s border.

Educational Cross Cultural Kid

A child who moves between educational cultures such as from the eastern educational culture to the western educational culture or vice versa. In this category I also include students moving from living at home and attending the local school to living in the school boarding house and experiencing a new educational culture.

Bi/Multi-cultural or Bi/Multi-racial Children

Children born to parents from at least two cultures or races.

Children of Borderlanders

Children living on or near the border between two countries, perhaps living in one country and going to school in another country.

Children of Immigrants

Children whose parents have made a permanent move to a new country where they were not originally citizens.

Children of Minorities

Children whose parents are from a racial or ethnic group which is not part of the majority race or ethnicity of the country in which they live.

Children of Refugees

Children whose parents are living outside their original country or place due to unchosen circumstances such […]

Continue reading the rest at globallygrounded.com

Please Don’t Call My Child a Third Culture Kid

Please Don’t Call My Child a Third Culture Kid

I grew up outside my parents’ culture. They migrated to the U.S. from India in the early 1970s and I was born in New York City at the end that of that decade. However, they, and I, were plain ol’ “immigrants,” first- and second-generation respectively. While, of course, migrants who plan on repatriating are usually called “expats,” and those who consider their move permanent are usually called “immigrants,” it is undeniable that these various words within the language of migration carry various connotations of race, place and class .

TCK “connotes a privilege that I don’t associate with,” says Sherisa de Groot, a writer and editor from Brooklyn and a first-generation Jamaican-American whose son, born in Amsterdam, is part white-Dutch, Indonesian, and Black. “I prefer the term ‘immigrant’ over ‘expat,’ so there’s no situation in which I would use the term ‘TCK.’ Besides, what is a child’s ‘first culture?’”

“TCK” was coined in the 1950s by sociologist Ruth Hill Useem after she and her husband, John, moved their family from the U.S. to India. There, she began studying American military, diplomatic, missionary and corporate families living overseas with their children, and determined that these families’ children had unique experiences: the first culture of their parents, the second culture of their host country, and the third culture of the expatriate community in that host country. Useem’s original frame of reference was post-war American families who had traveled overseas for work.

Useem died in 2003, but as professor emeritus of sociology and education at Michigan State University, she studied the effects of how such a childhood has an impact on the adult, such as their high level of achievement, their careers, their commitment to volunteerism, and their “international dimension.”

Today, in media and in popular culture, it seems to me, the “Third Culture Kid” continues to be lauded— Barack Obama, who spent some of his childhood in Jakarta, Indonesia, is sometimes hailed as the U.S.’s most successful TCK—while immigrant children are often portrayed as potential terrorists or burdens on the system. That’s why the term makes me so uneasy.

Although the exact number of children being raised outside their parents’ countries is unavailable, an estimated 232 million people currently live outside their country of origin, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights . And given an increasingly global economy, that number can only grow.

So is it time for me to redefine a term, especially as fewer and fewer traditional expats and their children—the sort of folks that Useem might have recognized as TCKs—migrate to Asia , or to reject it altogether?

Maitri Erwin, a geoscientist and writer who was born to Indian parents in Kuwait and now lives in Houston, believes […]

Continue reading the rest at www.wsj.com

Third Culture Kids: Prototypes for Understanding Other Cross-Cultural Kids

“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture(s). Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background . ”

— David C. Pollock, developer of the TCK Profile, founder, Interaction, Inc., co-author Third Culture Kids: The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds

As Ruth Useem wrote in an early article describing the Third Culture, “each of these subcultures [community of expatriates] generated by colonial administrators, missionaries, businessmen, and military personnel—had its own peculiarities, slightly different origins, distinctive styles, and stratification systems, but all were closely interlocked.”1

In other words, for all the differences of background, nationality, ethnicity, and purpose for living internationally among the groups, there were some fundamentals they all shared that transcended those differences. It was here in the early days of cross-cultural interchanges that a new way of looking at “culture” began. It was also here that the impact of how such a lifestyle impacted children began as well.

Common characteristics of Third Culture experience (for adults as well as kids)

  • Cross-cultural lifestyle
  • High mobility
  • Expected repatriation
  • Often a “system identity” with sponsoring organization/business (e.g. military, missionary, corporate, foreign service)

Common personal characteristics of TCKs (children who grow up in this world)

  • Large world view

  • Language acquisition
  • Can be cultural bridges
  • Rootlessness—“Home” is everywhere and nowhere
  • Restlessness
  • Sense of belonging is often in relationship to others of similar background rather than shared race or ethnicity alone

Major challenges

    Many of their losses are not visible or recognized by others. With no language or understanding to process these losses, many TCKs never learned how to deal with them as they happened and the grief comes out in other ways (e.g. denial, anger, depression, extreme busyness, etc.).

    “Cultural marginality” describes an experience in which people don’t tend to fit perfectly into any one of the cultures to which they have been exposed or with which they have interacted, but may fit comfortably on the edge, in the margins, of each. (For how that relates to TCKs see http://www.worldweave.com/BSidentity.html)

Continue reading the rest at www.crossculturalkid.org