This is an ethnographic project conducted in the Chinese American community in Houston. The author lived in the community for six months to interview, observe and participate in their daily lives. The main theoretical frameworks used in this study are Ogbu''s (1989) cultural ecology and the Diaspora theory (Clifford, 1997). The data points out that both these two theories have strengths and weakness in explaining Chinese Americans'' cultural identity formation but cannot fully cover the varieties existing between the immigrant Chinese and American- born Chinese. Conclusively, the immigrant Chinese group is oriented culturally towards the mainstream American culture in order to survive in the new environment as quickly as possible, while the American-born Chinese have created more space for themselves to sustain their heritage culture. The pragmatic values of the immigrant Chinese direct them to enter the practical fields of study. In contrast, the American-born Chinese, when considering their career paths, pay more attention to factors as self-realization, personal interests and helping the poor.