The novel is anchored firmly in this Chinese-American world, where the daughters are too American for their mothers, and the mothers are too Chinese for their daughters. What this boils down to, in many cases, is that the daughters are not as respectful as their mothers would wish, and the mothers are too critical and old-fashioned according to the daughters. Intermittently throughout the book, however, we see how the bigger American world interacts with this Chinese-American one. In these cases, even Chinese-Americans, like the daughters, are seen as foreign, and occasionally encounter racism.
The older generation of women in The Joy Luck Club remain foreign in the U.S. despite living in America for many, many years.
Amy Tan does not present a fair and balanced portrait of white America.