Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Racism Against Asian American Students

Excerpted from A Report on the Status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Education

I take public transportation to and from school every day. As I walk to the bus stop, I hear kids in the school bus call me “chink” and many other things that are negative about Asians. When this happens I feel a sense of non-belonging. [1]

There were always those kids that called you names or tried to put you into that (pause) if you’re not white you’re not American. [2]

When you’re growing up as an Asian, you get called names and it makes you feel like you’re not wanted. “Can I get some fried rice?” That’s all I used to hear, and still do. I walk down the street and people I don’t even know make fun of me. They call me Chink and Ching Chong. I hate those words so much. It makes me feel so low. When I was younger, all the other kids who weren’t Asian seemed to be having a good time and I wondered why I couldn’t. I concluded that it was because I was Asian. I thought if I were Black or white people would like me more and I wouldn’t get teased, so I used to wish I were Black or white. [6]

They [whites] will have stereotypes, like we’re smart... They are so wrong, not everyone is smart. They expect you to be this and that and when you’re not... (shook her head) And sometimes you tend to be what they expect you to be and you just lose your identity... just lose being yourself. Become part of what... what someone else want[s] you to be. And it’s really awkward, too! When you get bad grades, people look at you really strangely because you are sort of distorting the way they see an Asian. It makes you feel really awkward if you don’t fit the stereotype.72

According to the model minority stereotype, Asian Americans have achieved academic, social, and economic success through hard work and adherence to Asian cultural norms. Asian American students are depicted as valedictorians, violin prodigies, and computer geniuses. Unlike many racial stereotypes, the model minority designation seems at first to be flattering and even positive. A closer examination, however, reveals its damaging effects for both Asian American and Pacific Islander students and for other students of color. The model minority stereotype hides the diverse and complex experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

Works Cited

Lee, Stacy J. and Kevin K. Kumashiro. "A Report on the Status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Education: Beyond the 'Model Minority' Stereotype." National Education Association. 2005. NEA.org. 25 April 2008 .

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