In a considerate and inspiring participation in the existing argument as regards to the meaning of extensive culture and multiculturalism, Gary Okihiro investigates the importance of Asian Americans in history and civilization. In a few confrontational and charming articles, he scrutinizes the Asian American experience from the viewpoint of historical awareness, ethnicity, sex, societal rank and background.
The ongoing debate pertains to the concept of mainstream in relation to American history and tradition, as well as risks of moving away from original establishments that have made America a great nation. Okihiro argues that pluralism and multiplicity only exist to segregate and fracture the country.
The society uses Western civilization as a yardstick for measuring other cultures. The ongoing debate demands that the principle of “great books” should be regained and conserved and individuals on the margins, particularly the culturally marginalized, should be encouraged to join the majority.
In fact, Okihiro posits in his works ‘Margins and Mainstreams’ that the central principles and standards of the country in the modern society come not from the supposed majority but from the minorities that is, from amongst Asians, Africans, Latinos, Indians and probably women. These groups, in their efforts towards egalitarianism, have facilitated protection and advancement of the founders’ principles and have made America a more liberal place for each person to exercise his/her rights.
While unearthing extra meanings of Asian American public history, Okihiro digs deeper into the academic basics and postulations of the discipline of Asian American. Through analysis, the writer describes the supremacy of Euro centrism and other pecking orders in the key premises that enlighten the discipline. His writings compare the Asian American tribulations with those of African Americans, as well as Latinos.
Although Okihiro agrees that the major problem in America is discrimination against the black race, other aspects call for attention among history scholars. The Asian race has suffered a lot from stereotyping and labeling. The Chinese have frequently been termed as pirates because of producing reprints while Japanese are viewed as smugglers and gamblers.
This kind of treatment has caused sufferings to the victims but studies have not paid much attention on the issue. Latinos are accused of drug trafficking and engaging in illegal trades. Some laws have been passed to minimize the influence of Mexicans in America. The Arizona bill threw out most foreigners from Mexico.
Throughout history, women have never enjoyed civil liberties mainly because of male patriarchy. This has been a major issue but scholars have not considered it to be much serious than racism. Women are expected to take care of the home while men enjoy other important societal activities such as employment and freedom to associate. In this case, American character cannot involve only one thing, that is, struggle between white and black races. Americans are yet to appreciate the role of women in the contemporary society.
Another issue that describes American character is wealth. Resources are accumulated in the hands of the few while majority languish in poverty. The gap between the rich and the poor keeps on widening. Women and the black race own nothing. Women are not stable financially forcing them to rely on men for survival. The black race has nothing to offer apart from cheap labor. This is another issue that needs to be addressed through research and academic recommendation.