The Assimilationist Paradigm and Burmese Americans

Joseph Cheah

in Race and Religion in American Buddhism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199756285
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918874 | DOI:


The Assimilationist Paradigm and Burmese Americans

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The process of adapting Buddhist religious practices to the American milieu is different from that employed by white Buddhists and sympathizers. Burmese immigrant Buddhists cannot simply racially rearticulate their religious practices to the American context; i.e., modifying the host culture by infusing meanings that comes from the culture of their homeland. Rather, they must adapt their religious beliefs and practices to the American culture by negotiating within the racial and religious landscape of the United States. This chapter contextualizes this process by situating the experiences of Burmese Americans within the larger historical framework of Asian Americans in order to highlight the ways in which Burmese Americans have inherited overt and covert racism experienced by Asian ethnics (those who have been in this country for two or more generations), and the ways in which the existence of a hegemonic culture uses model minority myth to continuously reproduce itself to maintain the status quo.

Keywords: milieu; Burmese immigrant Buddhists; host culture; negotiating; Asian Amerians; Asian ethnics; covert racism; hegemonic culture; model minority myth

Chapter.  6415 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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