Shawn Wong wanted to be Roy Rogers; Photo - Shawn Wong for 'Becoming American'Tonight, PBS airs a three part series, "Becoming American: The Chinese Experience," which spans the dynamic of Chinese in America from the 1800s to present. I'm definitely going to watch, beause I've always thought of myself as American before being Chinese...when cabbies ask me where I'm from, I tend to say "New Jersey."

Reviews of "Becoming American" from Newsday and The New York Times.

The PBS site for Becoming American and program showtimes on WNET/Thirteen in NYC

Amy Tan's book on Chinese mothers and their Chinese American daughters, The Joy Luck Club and Wayne Wang's heartbreaking film of The Joy Luck Club.

One part from Bill Moyer's interview with designer Maya Lin that struck a particular chord in me:

I think [my parents] were definitely wanting us to assimilate. I think they were dealing with having left a past and it was probably painful for them to talk about. And then my brother and I being the only Chinese Americans in a small mid-western community, I mean all I wanted to do was fit in. I remember there was a classmate when I got to high school who was — I think his parents were from Eastern Europe, and he wasn't allowed to speak English at home. He had to speak the mother tongue at home. And I always felt sorry for him. To this day I might regret that I don't speak Chinese, but at the same time, I think there are two different ways. I think now in the generations you learn both.

I think it was probably very painful for my parents. Without really deciding upon it, they wanted us to fit in.

This is echoed in his interview with author Gish Jen, who wrote Mona in the Promised Land about a Chinese American girl growing up in Scarsdale and becoming Jewish.

I'll probably need to get the DVD of the series for my parents, so they can understand me a little more.