Today there are 3.6 million Chinese Americans living in the United States.
Yet the Voice of America reports, Chinese Americans are still perceived as foreigners in their own country.
The story Hastings Law School Chancellor and commentator Frank Wu tell are common for many Chinese Americans and other Asian Americans.
“It is a daily occurrence to be asked where you are from,” says Wu who was born in Cleveland. “When people ask, I explain that I’m from Detroit, Michigan. But, people shake their heads and say: ‘No, no. What I mean is, where are you really from?’ The addition of just one word speaks volumes about who truly belongs to this country.”
A survey in 2012 by the Committee of 100, a Chinese American community organization, found that one out of four people in the United States believe Chinese Americans would take the side of China in any dispute with the United States.
It was that kind of thinking that lead to the incarceration of 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.
“From the beginnings of Chinese people being in the United States (in the 19th century), they were perceived as alien invaders that were here to take away everything we love about America,” said author Helen Zia. “That has been an abiding archetype.”
Despite that, other says there are signs of improvement. You can read about that in Voice of America.