A month after Number One Son left California to start college in Boston, I asked him if he found East Coast Asian Americans to be different from those from the West Coast. He definitely did, saying that most of them did not grow up in largely Asian communities like the one from where he moved. That is just one of the differences mentioned in this recent Fung Brothers video, East Coast Asian vs West Coast Asian, one of a number of videos I found on the subject. Many of the observations about the differences between East and West Coast Asian Americans match those that John found when he moved to the West Coast, like being surprised at meeting older Asian Americans who spoke English without an Asian accent. Other observations from these videos were completely new to me.
The Fung Brothers video and this one from Off the Great Wall (embedded below) mentions that East Coast Asian Americans seem more conservative and less likely to go into nontraditional careers. I’ve never really thought about that, but it would seem to be true. The Fung Brothers video also points out that many West Coast Asians live in Asian bubbles and don’t experience the raw racism that East Coast Asians encounter. That’s another point that I never really thought about.
One observation (stereotype, IMO) from the Off the Great Wall video and from one of our past writers is that West Coast Asian Americans are all wealthy, materialistic, and like to show off wealth. I think that is true in some cases, but there are significant numbers of impoverished Asian Americans on the West Coast. That perspective is also colored by very rich Asian students sent to California schools who have no qualms about flaunting their wealth.
Many years ago, like my son, I moved to the East Coast for college and saw some of the same differences. That there are differences related to geography shouldn’t be surprising – “Asian American” is a diverse group within itself, and some regions, like California and Hawaii (not even dealt with in those videos) have had a long history of Asian American populations. I’m curious what you all think. Do you think that some of these differences, like the Off the Great Wall observation that East Coast Asians tend to stay within their own Asian ethnic groups compared, are accurate? Check out the videos and let us know what you think.