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The Truth Behind Asian Stereotypes

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For Grace, walking into school used to be exhilarating. School was an adventurous discovery that was just waiting to be uncovered but she didn’t realize that getting older would lead to the hatred of the wonderful place she calls her second home. She didn’t realize that mounds of other kids would be lining up to get the answers to the latest math homework. She didn’t realize that people would begin judging and questioning her grades. She never realized that they would do these hateful things simply because she’s Asian.Edward 1

Not only kids and teens, but also adults, go through situations similar to Grace’s every day. Since the booming immigration trend, America knew that it would become a home to all sorts of people from all sorts of places. But what they weren’t prepared for was the success that the Asian culture would have in the U.S. This success would lead to the creation of stereotypes, spurious beliefs that portray the Asian race very inaccurately.

Arrival of the Asians

When the Asian race came to America, America wasn’t exactly welcoming or ready for their arrival. In 1966, they became known as the “model minority”. The phrase basically means a group that is generally based on ethnicity, religion, or race. They are perceived to achieve a higher chance of success in family and economic stances which is why the stereotype, Asians are extremely smart and good at math, may have originated from. It may seem this way since Asians have been getting High-paying and respected jobs such as doctors and engineers, not all of them have such great opportunities. Many people that were still suffering poverty and fighting for their basic civil rights at that time were ignored.

Edward 2By simply placing a label for minorities, most people don’t understand how they feel and it can become quite offensive. When asked the question, “Who do you think creates the stereotypes,” Vanderbilt University freshman, Jeffanie Wu states, “The others, outsiders, or people who don’t understand the culture.” If some of society doesn’t understand the culture then they shouldn’t be allowed to call the people “bad drivers” or “un-athletic nerds”. If these generic thoughts represent the Asian culture, then it will be impossible for society to integrate the race into its’ daily life.
With the growing Asian population, many people believe that Asians steal chances at success. Referring back to the article, “The Real problem when it comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans”, Asian-Americans are a hindrance to diversity and excluded from inclusionary practices like affirmative action. So now the Asian race and culture aren’t even considered a minority and instead, an obstacle for diversity. The Asian race is in fact, the second fastest growing minority in America. Number one is Hispanics yet we don’t consider them a “hinder to diversity”. Jeffanie claims, “There are fewer opportunities for us sometimes because our culture differs from white people so they don’t understand.” It’s obviously unjust that Asians get fewer chances in life simply because they’re Asian.

Rise of the Asians

Edward 3According to Asian-American activist Helen Zia, “Being the model minority, there’s the expectation that you’re going to do so well you shouldn’t have any problems.” The continuous expectations that major races expect out of Asians is too much especially when some may not have as many advantages as the rest of the Asian population. Such similar to the quote from the article, “The Real problem when it comes to Asian Diversity” by Jack Linshi says, “Systems like colleges and employers think success for Asians is a byproduct of their race.”

Not only do Asian stereotypes give misrepresented caricatures of the Asian race, but they also cover real issues they face. When Asian-Americans became successful with high-paying jobs, nobody cared about poor Chinese launderers, Vietnamese refugees, and underpaid South Asian cab drivers. People only cared about the wealthy, upper-class doctors and the brilliant, problem-solving computer programmers. We’re all concerned about how job opportunities are being stolen and how Asians are unfairly smart that our country regularly misses the real issues. Thus, we create these insulting stereotypes.

We All Look The Same

Success isn’t just given and that applies to-Asians and Asian-Americans too. The article “10 Things You Need To Know about China” from Upfront Magazine states, “The ultimate symbol of China’s academic pressure cooker is the Gaokao, the national college-entrance exam. A student score on this single nine-hour test is the only things that matters for admission to Chinese Universities…so students spend years cramming for the test.”  When a chance to make a living and sustain yourself in the future comes, you don’t pass. Society doesn’t consider that fact and instead thinks that Asians are bulky glasses wearing math whizzes.

Edward 5Another problem is how we think all Asian races are just Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. In the article, “Assumptions of Asian American Similarity: The Case of Filipino and Chinese American Students”, culturally distinct ethnic groups such as Cambodians, Filipinos, Japanese, and Pakistanis are lumped into one racial category, Asian Americans. We don’t consider Cambodians or Pakistanis Asians. Some Americans don’t even know Indian is an Asian race. China is the most populated country in the world which is why we only consider Asian as Chinese sometimes. This once again, diverts attention away from races facing real issues and crises.

The word Asian should mean more than a cutthroat gaming monster, more than a socially awkward study zombie, and definitely more than a reckless driver. Being proud of your heritage is one of the most important things you can believe in and society creates concrete blockades that prevent Asians from having that self-confidence that makes them who they are.

Works Cited:

Photos:

http://everystockphoto.s3.amazonaws.com/malaysia_kualalumpur_chinatown_5221_o.jpg

http://www.scmp.com/sites/default/files/2014/06/04/gaokao_class_reuters.jpg

https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/styles/large/public/media/Asians_1.jpg?itok=P1AwmW6F

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f2/Dr._Cristina_Yang.jpg

Articles:

Agbayani-Siewert, Pauline. “Assumptions of Asian American Similarity: The Case of Filipino and Chinese American Students.” Ebscohost.com. Ebscohost, Jan. 2004. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

Smith, Patricia. “10 Things You Need To Know About China.” Upfront Magazine. Upfront Magazine, 21 Sept. 2015. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

Linshi, Jack. “The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans.” Ebscohost.com. Ebscohost, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 27 Oct. 2015.

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