TODAY'S FILM: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN directed by Linda Goldstein Knowlton
(Available on Netflix)(Website: http://www.somewherebetweenmovie.com/)
This documentary addresses the phenomenon of transnational identities. It would be both wrong and completely false to compare my experiences (as a first-generation Japanese-American) with the obstacles these girls had to face, but I do think that I identified with at least some of the obstacles these girls talked about in the film.
Transnationalism is confusing. (Of course, every transnational individual has a different experience, but I will describe the term now in the context of my own).There is your family, with their own set of values, culture, and identities. You respect them, are connected to them by blood, and love them inherently. Then, there is the world outside of your home (whether that means your parent's country, or physical home). This world has a completely different culture-- suddenly, what's polite, what's aggressive, what's good and what's bad are not what your parents taught you. Every time you enter and leave your home, you start anew. Your identity changes.
The Asian-American Identity is a Transnational Identity. And this can be hard sometimes. But it can also be beautiful, as shown by this documentary. Many people find that Asian-Americans tend to flock together, and honestly, it can be true. Asian-Americans identify with each other, because they have similar experiences-- high grades and expectations (yes, I am acknowledging the stereotype of Tiger Moms and Dads because they really do exist! Of course, it is wrong to say that all "Asian parents" are like this), feeling rejected by your parents' home country but out of place in America, and even what values are important in life. A lot of people I am close to I befriended because I am an Asian-American. This isn't a negative thing at all... it's not racist and it's not personal. It's simply associating with people who tend to understand you. In fact, I think it is a positive thing.
The key to dealing with a transnational identity is to fully realize that you are not alone. Talk about your experiences openly, and build relationships based on a cultural association. It is through these relationships that an Asian-American Identity can be established. And by establishing an Asian-American Identity, Asian-Americans don't have to choose between one nation or the other. They can just be themselves.