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Multiple Identity in Asian-Americans

Endogenous And Exogenous Perspectives, Panethnic Identity, The Ongoing Creation Of Identities, Bibliography

Although Filipinos lived in the United States in the sixteenth century, the first large Asian group in the modern era arrived in the United States in the nineteenth century. Since then two inclinations have simultaneously characterized how Asian-Americans' ethnic identity has been viewed. One tendency has been to look at their identity either in terms of a collective panethnic identity as "Asian-Americans" or an ethnic-specific identity, such as "Filipino-American."

The second tendency is rooted in the fact that ethnic identity is both a concept applied to a cultural group (a group that shares assumptions about the world and ways of interpreting and interacting) and a sense of connection created by that group. That tendency has been for exogenous views (that is, perspectives of those outside Asian-American communities) to differ from endogenous views (that is, perspectives within Asian-American communities) about the meaning and significance of ethnicity. Both tendencies have arisen because, like race, a concept rooted in ideology more than morphology, ethnicity is not simply a direct reflection of what exists; it is a concept created for various uses.

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