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Old 06-24-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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Hey everyone, I've just always wanted to know if people can tell which Asians are from America and which ones are FOB (fresh off the boat).

I'm just curious since I'm from Indiana, and I feel like I dress differently from Asians who werent born here (international students, etc), and was wondering if the way you dress and your actions make you American or if it doesnt matter because my face is still Asian and will always be lumped into a group.

Please dont be mean and say things like "all Asians look alike."
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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Default I don't think that "fashion sense" ..

Quote:
Originally Posted by DazsGirl View Post
Hey everyone, I've just always wanted to know if people can tell which Asians are from America and which ones are FOB (fresh off the boat).

I'm just curious since I'm from Indiana, and I feel like I dress differently from Asians who werent born here (international students, etc), and was wondering if the way you dress and your actions make you American or if it doesnt matter because my face is still Asian and will always be lumped into a group.

Please dont be mean and say things like "all Asians look alike."
..would really be a determining factor, but the level of skill in the English language might. I would hope that any newly-arrived immigrant would be treated with understanding, especially if he/she has difficulty with the native language. In some states, like California, Oregon, Washington, and many large metro areas nationwide, the Asian population is quite strong, and being "accepted" isn't an issue at all.

Good luck, anyway, but I think your ethnicity won't be an issue.
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Old 06-24-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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In Seattle, there are large numbers of Taiwanese who clearly dress in a certain fashion that distinguishes them from American-born Asians. A lot of Asian Americans on the West Coast do tend to have the running joke that you can always pick out a fob from a crowd, because we are aware that certain styles and fashions that are trendy in East Asia are not so for Asians in America. My guess is that this distinction is less evident to those in cities with smaller Asian populations.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Both coasts
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I'm Asian-American and have lived in Seattle, LA & Orange County, and am now in Vancouver Canada, these places all having significant Asian populations of new immigrants as well as North American-born. I've also traveled across Asia so I can really tell there's a difference in physical appearance. As an Asian, I can usually also differentiate between Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, SE Asians, etc.

But I can also tell the difference between US/ Canadian-Asians and the foreign-born or newly arrived Asians- and it is not only English proficiency/ accent. It is mainly the dressing styles (I find Asian-Americans in California dress differently from even Asian-Americans in NY due to regional differences). Also American-born versus Canadian-born Asians are indistinguishable to me except perhaps accent, alot of the Canadian-born Asians here in Vancouver dress very similarly to the ones in Seattle or California. I find that the Asians that come recently from Asia or who did not grow up in North America, have different tastes in hairstyles, etc. Alot of the younger Asian girls here in North America who grew up here like to have their skin tanned, while interestingly in Asia the girls like their skin as fair-colored as possible. And not to cause any issue, but the Asians who grew up in North America are more likely to have good teeth than the ones that have recently come in from Asia- from my observations. Indeed facial expressions/ body language styles are different- when you grow up in the US even if you are of Asian heritage, you are going to act different from say if you grew up in Asia.
I've even wondered if American-born Asians look different from Australian-born Asians or British-born Asians. I'd think in that case, it'd be more different fashions.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:20 AM
 
Location: Seattle
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There is a large difference between someone who grew up in the midwest and an Asian international student who came to the US 6 months ago in terms of appearance, behavior and language skills. My experiences with Asian-Americans who grew up in heavily white majority regions are less interested in Asian culture and more interested in fully integrating with American culture and distancing themselves from the "FOBs."

In LA, which is pretty much Asian mecca, there isn't nearly as much of a dichotomy between FOB and Asian-American...the line is a lot more blurry. Many Asian-Americans grew up in Asian majority communities and went to high schools that are Asian majority, and to a large degree have a relatively poor ability to interact with whitebred America (and of course little ability to interact with Asia). There was a recent article about this in either the NYT or WSJ. That said there is still a difference in appearance from an Asian-American who grew up in Indiana, an Asian-American who grew up in LA and an Asian who is visiting from China or Taiwan or Korea.

In LA there is an Asian economy which is capable of functioning on its own and does not need to do business with white America...it is happy to but it is not part of its target segment. I would say in LA you have a much different dynamic than in any other metro area (with the possible exception of SF or NYC but I know in SF they don't have nearly as many Asian majority communities or schools as they do in LA, but they have a couple).

Also in Los Angeles you have a lot of people who immigrated here at various stages of their lives, for instance many people came from China or Taiwan when they were teenagers or young adults, so they aren't "fresh off the boat" but at the same time they aren't "Asian-American." You see a very high variance at how "Americanized" they are. In many cases they are more Americanized than a lot of Asian-Americans who grew up in Asian majority communities, in some cases they are very traditional Asian.

Last edited by drshang; 06-24-2009 at 11:29 AM..
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:36 AM
 
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Asia is such a huge place and would include people from India, Afghanistan, Russia, and many other lands. Assuming you're talking about folks from the Far-Eastern Asian countries like China, Korea, Japan... etc. the answer to your question would still vary by country. For example, I believe that some countries, like Japan and South Korea, have adopted many aspects of 'western' culture within their own boundaries. People coming from such places would likely find it easier to fully assimilate to life in the US than, say someone from Laos, Cambodia or PR China.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:30 PM
 
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Broad brush:

Asians born and raised in the midst of a general bourgeois middle class setting dress and act like other Americans.

Asians born and raised in the midst of insular enclaves of Asian immigrants are sort of in a gray area, and may have certain attributes that are more FOB like.

Asians born and raised in Asia, unless they interacted with European or American expats extensively in their home country, are generally obvious FOBs.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:48 PM
 
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I live in Seattle, WA and I honestly cannot distinguish between Asians at all.
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:04 PM
 
Location: St Paul, MN - NJ's Gold Coast
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I think i've met more asians born in Asia... The American born asians are usually younger; they're the smartest in my school..

I think 6% of my high school is Asian, and 4 of the top 10 students are Asian.
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Old 06-24-2009, 03:09 PM
hsw
 
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Socio-economics often prevail

US-born Asians whose parents are professionals, e.g., US grad school-educated software engineers, tend to look/behave differently from US-born kids of less well-educated parents who might be small business owners

Similarly, US-born Asian kids who are themselves highly educated professionals tend to be rather different in attire/manner/accent/speech from US-born Asians who didn't attend a leading college and/or are blue-collar or clerical workers

Much like Jewish kids from more elite NYC suburbs like Greenwich or Scarsdale (or Manhattan itself) tend to have zero NYC/Northeast accent (and different attire/manner) vs Jewish kids from less well-educated, though affluent, LI/NJ suburbs or outer boroughs of NYC
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