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Part 1 – After you complete reading/viewing of all this week’s course content, please answer, in at least 10-12 sentences: According to the Chapter 7 reading of Asian America, what are the different types of citizenship? Then using at least one other assigned content this week (podcast or video discussion about belonging), why do you think it is important to distinguish between citizenship and belonging? Another way to think about this is to ask, do all citizens, who “legally” belong to the U.S. feel like they belong and are part of the U.S.? Why or why not?

Part 2 – After you post, comment on three peers’ posts following netiquette expectations (see syllabus) in at least 3-4 sentences. Some suggestions for peer responses are as follows:

  • affirmations (e.g. “great job describing/pointing out/analyzing…”,), or
  • questions (e.g. “what do you think…can you clarify….?),or
  • sharing of related points (e.g. “what you describe reminds me of…”), or
  • generative differences (e.g. “I see what you mean, but I thought the opposite because….”), or
  • referrals (e.g. “since you describe/like this, I think you will also enjoy/find interesting….”

1. This week’s materials touched on the various aspects of citizenship, specifically the difference between legal and cultural citizenship. The topic of legal citizenship touches on the process of obtaining actual citizenship and the different routes that immigrants or refugees can take. Because of the stricter immigration and citizenship laws surrounding Asian Americans, many struggle to obtain the proper documents or meet the proper requirements, resulting in the classification as “undocumented.” Biases against Asian Americans in the citizenship process can also be seen in the deportation and detention aspect, as racial profiling is constantly used to target Asian Americans and there is always a threat of deportation for those who have not gained full citizenship. Once legal citizenship is gained, however, the feeling of foreignness does not stop. Cultural citizenship refers to the quality of having one’s culture be considered “American,” and many Asian Americans have had to find their own way to coexist with American ideals and their ethnic culture. Despite advances in the aspect of “fitting in,” majority of Asian Americans still feel the divide between their existence in America and the rest of the country, as mentioned in the video and podcast. Even if the legal requirements of citizenship are met, there is nothing in this country that guarantees the complete acceptance and feeling of belonging for Asian Americans. Institutionalized racism and prejudices continue to be a barrier to the cultural citizenship for Asian Americans, and the constant contradictions of the United States government towards Asian immigrants serve as a constant reminder for us that there is still more work to do.

2. Legal citizenship in the US is granted if you are either born on US soil or become a naturalized citizen. To become a naturalized citizen, one must have proper documentation, be at least 18 years old, live in the US for at least 5 years or be married to a US citizen for at least 3 years, and know US government and history. However there are a few more groups that could qualify for citizenship. First are refugees who are individuals who fled to the US due to political or other forms of oppression from their home country. Another is a legal permanent resident who are individuals given refuge in the US who could eventually apply for US citizenship.

Another view on citizenship relates to the social, civil, and political aspects of living in the US. Social citizenship entails health benefits, economic assistance, and legal protection. (Dhingra, Rodriguez, p8). Political and civil citizenship relate to regularly participating in all things related to political responsibilities such as voting.

It’s important to distinguish between citizenship and belonging because even if you are a legal citizen, that doesn’t mean you feel welcomed. Emotions are strong and can influence the way you see the world around you. In the discussion “Where Are You Really From?”, Naomi Ishisaka said she feared coughing in public despite wearing a mask and being a US citizen. She feared that people would assume she has covid because she’s Asian and coughing. (11:55) Even though she is an active member in her community, she still has emotions of fear. Just because one is a citizen, that doesn’t eliminate all doubts or fears they may imagine or experience. Citizenship isn’t a “force field” that protects you from stereotypes and assumptions.

No, not all citizens who legally belong to the US feel like they belong. A good example is in the podcast “Hello, Freedom Man”, Christopher Larson was adopted from Vietnam by a white family. His parents applied for his citizenship but his documents got “lost” in the system. His uncertain citizenship status did not affect most of his life, but he always had to be alert for ICE. Christopher Larson said (Self Evident Show, “Hello, Freedom Man”, he saw two individuals who looked official and he thought he was going to be deported. Even though he’s legally protected, he still has a special list of 50 individuals who he can contact if he were to be taken. (35:00) This isn’t a normal precaution for a citizen to take. Living your life with fear of being deported without any proper justification does not align with the definition of belonging. This uncertainty cannot be ignored so individuals who feel this threat, may have a backup plan for the worst case because it’s never impossible for it to happen.

3. According to Chapter 7, there are four different types of citizenship. They include Legal Citizenship, Social Citizenship, Cultural Citizenship, and Transnational Citizenship. Legal and Social citizenship refers to an individual’s presence in society and how they interact with the government. A great example of this is voting, working for the government, and receiving government benefits like unemployment, EBT, etc. Cultural citizenship refers to an individual’s traditions and customs, meaning they have the right to practice their ethnic customs and religions. In America, some cultures aren’t accepted in society based on race and beliefs, this is one of the leading reasons why there is a racial divide in the United States. In the podcast, some stories gave us insight into what it is like to not be accepted because of being of a certain race, having different beliefs, practicing different religions, and speaking other languages. Although being a legal citizen, some individuals feel they don’t belong to our society or feel like they’re an outcast.

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