The student news site of Jefferson Junior High School

The Prophet

The Art of Alienating

The Story Behind Asian Stereotypes

BY: ANIKA GUPTA

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






“The moment I step from the plane, onto American soil for the first time, I know that it is the beginning of a new chapter in my young life. I am impressed by the cleanliness and order in the JFK Airport. In India, the airports were no where close to the modernity in the American airports.  The airport is crowded, yet not chaotic and I am once again amazed about the difference between the Indian airports and American airports. I get through immigration and baggage collection swiftly—which pleases me greatly—and I step outside into the American air where I find my ride waiting. Pondering about the adventures I will have, I climb into the car. My new wife is back in India attending her sister’s wedding and will come to the U.S. in a month. Though I feel bad for the sacrifices she is making to come here, I know that we will both enjoy the experience.  It finally dawns on  me that this is a new world with new opportunities, and the thing is, I am not the least bit scared.”

-Pramod Gupta

 

One third of the nine percent of engineers in America are Asian yet we still view them as taxi drivers, convenience store owners and opportunity hogs. Basically, we are looking down upon a third of the brains in the United States of America.

Ever since the times of the industrial revolution, Chinese have been viewed as low-cost laborers that were flocking to America for a better life. Later, when Indians started coming, whites viewed them as inferior along with the Chinese who were already there.

Anika 1

Photo Credit: Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

Asians are now usually pictured as Chinese people with thick eyeglasses or Indian people obsessed with their work. Experts and real life accounts show that modern stereotypes such as unathleticism, are misinterpreted judgments about a small fraction of Asians.

Therefore, the practice of alienating is something that hovers over all of our heads, threatening to judge a race of billions on a few people.

Why the Stereotypes?

A big reason the United States let Asians (mostly Chinese at the time) into the country was because they were advanced in science and engineering, which they desperately needed due to the Cold War with Russia. The progress Asians had made was astounding. They had just used to be railroad builders and laborers but by the time of the Cold War, Asians were brilliant doctors, scientists, and engineers. As a result, this made

them an important asset to America and earned them the title “model minority”; they were still not seen as integrated members of the American society. Eventually, the U.S. restricted Asians from coming since their immigration numbers had more than tripled since the Immigration Act of 1965.

Though there were and still are so many Asians in the U.S., Americans considered Asians one dimensional; completely committed to studying and nothing else. A possible cause for this might be that most Asians have parents who grew up in China and India. The parents push their children to be the best because of the limited opportunities they had in their home countries.  An additional cause might be an instinct that has been embedded in human nature for years: fear of the unknown, and in this case it was Asians.

Another alienating factor is that universities discriminated against Asians because Anika 2of the flood of opportunity-hungry people coming their way. Asian numbers were growing rapidly, as well as the desire to succeed academically at all costs. Diversity was becoming a problem because of the lack of other races gaining entrance to the best schools. Now, universities restrict the number of each race that attend them, though it affects Asians the most since they have the biggest number eligible to attend. The number of Asians actually fit to attend get rejected because of diversity rules in universities. Instead, other races such as whites and blacks who aren’
t as academically eligible as the Asians get accepted because of universities focusing more on diversity rather than the actually deserving. Put in simple words, it is a battle between face and fairness.

In the Past

Pramod Gupta, an Indian who immigrated to the U.S. in 1998, said that there were two types of stereotypes he noticed were most prominent during his first few years here: “Was I a blue-collar worker, working in 7 Eleven or a taxi driver or the other one [stereotype] I saw was another extreme; was I    a doctor?” said Pramod as an answer to a question asking about the stereotypes he encountered frequently.

Pramod also mentions that the people who had the stereotypes probably encountered Indians who owned a convenience store like 7 Eleven, or who were doctors. He elaborated on this point by saying that he had met an old woman in a rural area in North Carolina. The woman asked him if he was a doctor because the only other Indian in town was a doctor.

Pramod adds on that even though there were many opportunities in India, some IAnika 5ndians had no future there, which is why they immigrated here. “They [Indian Immigrants] had no future there [India],” he said, “…some of the very commonly available work was taxi driving and working in a convenience store and then slowly owning it. It was more to do with what work was available. On the other hand, working as a doctor in a rural area was something that not many doctors were willing to do and that’s where the Indian education for doctors and their opportunity to come here and make a good living helped them become doctors.” A stereotype or mindset that offended Pramod was when people avoided socializing because he was Indian. Other stereotypes, he said, didn’t really offend him. Perhaps Asians had become so used to the idea of being the model minority that they accepted the judgements without protest.

Unathleticism

Yet another major stereotype is that Asians are not proficient in sports; they are only good at academics. This stereotype is not based on the slightest bit of truth because of Jeremy Lin and many other Asian athletes. Jeremy Lin is a Harvard student and NBA player inspiring Asians to go for athletic dreams while being academically successful. This Chinese NBA basketball player is a leadinAnika 3g player on his team, the Knicks, and continually dominates on the court. If you compare an opposing team’s reaction to a black team versus a white team versus an Asian team, it is very different. The team’s reaction to the blacks would be worried and stressed, while the team’s reaction to the whites would be less worried and more confident. An Asian team, though, would be laughed at and scorned. It was quite a shock for the opposing team when the Knicks star Asian player came out and crushed them. Lin has moved on to dominate in other teams as well.

Since Lin, many other Asian athletes have risen to success and crushed the stereotype under their heel.

 

A Modern Picture

Students from Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville, Illinois were surveyed on what Asians and Asian stereotypes were to them. The most prominent answer to the statement, “Name a stereotype that you hear often or believe about Asians,” was Asians are smart and mainly focused on academics. A majority of students believe this to be true due to the fact that 52.08% of them answered “yes” to the question, “Do you think Asian stereotypes are based on truth?” Moreover, a majority of the students responded “no” when asked if they felt intimidated by Asians in the academic field. According to these responses we can gather that these group of students have mostly accepted the fact that Asians are smart and are strong competition in academics.

Also, being socially awkward is a common stereotype we hear about Asians, but 82.98% of the students answered: No, Asians are not socially awkward. This statistic insinuates that society is becoming more and more accepting of Asians over time. Now, as society becomes more and more accepting of Asians like these students have shown, the stereotype that Asian parents are always strict is becoming less prominent than it used to be. The difference between students saying “yes” and “no” to the question, “Do you believe all Asian parents are conservative and strict?” was 22.92% to 77.08%, respectively. It is clear that the art of alienating Asians is fading into the background, though it has not faded completely.

crushed the stereotype under their heel.

Students from Jefferson Junior High School in Naperville, Illinois were surveyed on what Asians and Asian stereotypes were to them. The most prominent answer to the statement, “Name a stereotype that you hear often or believe about Asians,” was Asians are smart and mainly focused on academics. A majority of students believe this to be true due to the fact that 52.08% of them answered “yes” to the question, “Do you think Asian stereotypes are based on truth?” Moreover, a majority of the students responded “no” when asked if they felt intimidated by Asians in the academic field. According to these responses we can gather that these group of students have mostly accepted the fact that Asians are smart and are strong competition in academics.

Also, being socially awkward is a common stereotype we hear about Asians, but 82.98% of the students answered: No, Asians are not socially awkward. This statistic insinuates that society is becoming more and more accepting of Asians over time. Now, as society becomes more and more accepting of Asians like these students have shown, the stereotype that Asian parents are always strict is becoming less prominent than it used to be. The difference between students saying “yes” and “no” to the question, “Do you believe all Asian parents are conservative and strict?” was 22.92% to 77.08%, respectively. It is clear that the art of alienating Asians is fading into the background, though it has not faded completely.

At the rate things are going, Asian stereotypes might disappear. They might also change over time. Contrary to the common stereotype of unathleticism, Lin and many others have risen up to dominate in the athletic field. Asians are not just one dimensional and completely committed to studying; they are good at anything everyone else can be good at, as the survey results and Lin’s story shows. They are not just the model minority, they are our engineers, scientists, and athletes.

 

At the rate things are going, Asian stereotypes might disappear. They might also change over time. Contrary to the common stereotype of unathleticism, Lin and many others have risen up to dominate in the athletic field. Asians are not just one dimensional and completely committed to studying; they are good at anything everyone else can be good at, as the survey results and Lin’s story shows. They are not just the model minority, they are our engineers, scientists, and athletes.

Works Cited:

Linshi, Jack. “The Real Problem When It Comes To Diversity And Asian-Americans.” Time.Com (2014): 1. MAS Ultra – School 

Edition. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.

Pramod Kumar Gupta

 

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • The Art of Alienating

    Arts & Theatre

    Bradbury Art- Fahrenheit 451 in Pictures

  • The Art of Alienating

    Arts & Theatre

    The Other Side

  • The Art of Alienating

    School & Society

    THE DAILY LIFE OF A CUSTODIAN

  • The Art of Alienating

    School & Society

    Ramen and Dumplings

  • Showcase

    A Democratic Future: Coming to an America Near You

  • The Art of Alienating

    Arts & Theatre

    Eye See You

  • The Art of Alienating

    Arts & Theatre

    Bradbury Art- Fahrenheit 451 in Pictures

  • The Art of Alienating

    In Focus

    Edward Wu

  • The Art of Alienating

    In Focus

    Markos Smith

  • The Art of Alienating

    In Focus

    Joanna Gao

The student news site of Jefferson Junior High School
The Art of Alienating