3 Takeaways on Raising Jewish-Asian Families in America from the Authors 'JewAsian'
When expecting their first child, 'JewAsian' coauthors Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt began to explore how families like theirs raised their children to navigate and contribute to a very complex world. 8 years later, they have some insights to share:
- •We talk, a lot, and the talking will probably pay off in the long run.Conversation topics run the gamut, but they often focus on issues of racial, ethnic, and religious identity. Sometimes these discussions are difficult and fraught with emotion, but they are a necessary starting point. Our interviewees told us of the importance of having these issues out on the table as part of regular family life that stresses intentionality and opportunity rather than limitation.
- •We don’t have all the answers, but we try to find them.Adult JewAsian children acknowledged that at multiple times in their lives when they were trying to figure out who they are and where they belonged, what mattered the most was having information and doors open to them that allowed for exploration. In turn they stressed the importance of encouraging children to seek out information on their own rather than resigning oneself to feeling constrained.
- •We are a full-fledged and proud Jewish, Asian American, Korean American, multiracial, multiethnic and multilingual family – but it’s complicated!The individuals we talked to emphasized shifts and evolutions in all aspects of their identity. Strong connections at some points in time, weaker bonds at other times. Yet they never shied away or denied these aspects of who they were, and carried this complex and changing way of thinking with them every day.