Date of Award

1986

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Estelle Lau

First Committee Member

John V. Schippers

Second Committee Member

Roy J. Timmons

Third Committee Member

Fred Muskal

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate Chinese American images in selected children's fiction to determine whether or not data support the position of the Council on Interracial Books for Children, that the works of fiction studied tend to stereotype Chinese Americans.

After reading the selected fifteen works of fiction, a criterion checklist was devised by the investigator to examine the behavior and lifestyle of Chinese Americans depicted in a variety of circumstances. validity of the criterion checklist was established by a panel of experts in the area of Chinese American studies. Inter-rater reliability was determined by two readers who utilized the criterion checklist to analyze the content of one lower elementary grade and one upper elementary grade work of fiction. Finally, the criterion checklist was used to analyze the fifteen works of fiction and draw conclusions related to the purpose of this study.

The findings in this study do support the conclusions of the Council on Interracial Books for Children that this group of fiction portrays Chinese Americans in a one dimensional, stereotypic manner. In the checklist items related to environment, food, utensils, physical attributes, cultural celebrations, occupations, and recreation, Chinese Americans were portrayed as adhering to Chinese-specific characteristics. However, in cross-cultural and behavioral items, Chinese Americans were portrayed as desiring Western-specific characteristics. This tendency was especially prevalent in upper elementary grade fiction. A more integrative or multi-dimensional view of Chinese Americans appreciating, and able to function well in, both cultural contexts is disconcertingly absent.

Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

1. That teachers, librarians, and other school personnel who use this collection of books, supplement them with materials containing contemporary and realistic information about Chinese Americans.

2. That future writers of children's fiction dealing with Chinese Americans portray them in a multidimensional manner.

3. That curriculum writers of textbooks use a similar criterion checklist to offset the one-dimensionality of Chinese American images in existing children's literature.

4. That future writers of children's fiction on Chinese Americans utilize a criterion checklist such as the one in this study to assist them in developing multi-dimensional characters.

Pages

152

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