Hey guys! Long time no article...sorry about that. Anyways, I was on WHI a couple days ago and saw Caylie’s (@dystopiaglory) new article about Asian stereotypes, and I gotta say that I can 1,000,000% relate to it. So today, this article will be my response/reaction to everything Caylie mentioned in her article, as well as some other stereotypes that she didn’t mention in hers, using my own personal experiences to prove that none of those stereotypes are entirely true.

If you want to check out Caylie’s article, here it is!

So here it goes!

1. ALL ASIANS ARE SMART

If there’s one stereotype I get every day from people at school, it’s this one. From helping a friend out with a difficult Calculus problem to doing group work with my friends during a Forensic Science lab, they always say, “Oh, of course, you understood how to do this...you’re Asian” or “You understand everything…because you’re Asian.”

Yes, I’m the one girl in high school who’s taking nothing but college-level courses her senior year (I’ve been taking college-level courses since sophomore year and gradually took more as high school went by), so obviously you have to have the mindset to handle a workload that heavy and difficult in order to do well in the class. I’m also in the top 15% of my class out of 300 students in my grade. Even with all of these things in mind, correlation doesn't equal causation. Just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I automatically get good grades on every test/quiz or understand everything on the first try. Like everyone else, it takes personal study time and practice to understand concepts, or it’s just simply understanding and following instructions on a science lab in order to do the experiment correctly to get the right results or even just paying attention in class and taking notes. People don’t become smart overnight, it takes hard work and dedication to reach that point.

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2. ALL ASIANS HAVE SQUINTY EYES

Where do I even begin on this one? I suppose I can start this off with a little fact about me: I don’t have “squinty” eyes. I’m Vietnamese, and I don’t have “squinty” eyes. In fact, no one in my family has “squinty” eyes, and no Vietnamese person I have ever met/interacted with has “squinty” eyes. Again, this doesn’t mean that all Vietnamese people don’t have “squinty” eyes, but I’m saying that the people I do know who are Vietnamese don’t. The same thing goes for all Asians across the board as well. “Squinty” eyes are more common in different Asian countries like China or Japan, but to generalize and say that all Asians have “squinty” eyes is horribly wrong.

I have “double eyelids,” which is something that seems normal for many people across the globe, but in Asia, double eyelids are a beauty standard (like how in Western countries having large breasts and a big butt seems to be the beauty standard for women) and people go to great lengths to get surgery done on their eyes to achieve that. It’s quite a shame that something like that exists, but everyone has their own insecurities.

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3. ALL ASIANS ARE THE SAME

Whenever someone sees me, they go up to me and nervously ask, “Are you Chinese?” Just because Vietnam borders China doesn’t mean I’m Chinese. Actually, just because I’m Asian doesn’t mean I’m Chinese. I’ve also been asked if I was Japanese, Korean, Thai, and even Cambodian and Mongolian at some point in time. Yes, China is a large part of Asia, but that doesn’t mean it’s entirely made up of only China. That’s like saying that New York City is the only city in the New York (aka the state I live in), even though there are also other large cities like Syracuse, Albany, Rochester, and Buffalo that usually get overlooked and have rich histories. For heaven’s sake, two of the wars fought in the Cold War were in Korea and Vietnam, not China.

There are also distinct physical differences among people living in Asian countries, but that’s something that usually takes an eagle eye to distinguish (or you’re Asian and you just have that innate feeling where you just kinda know what country/ethnicity another Asian is without even asking. I don’t know, is it just me? To all the Asians reading this, message me if you also have that feeling lol).

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4. ASIAN PEOPLE ONLY MARRY/DATE OTHER ASIAN PEOPLE

This one really pisses me off, for many reasons. For one, three of my uncles aren’t Vietnamese. gasp The horror, I know. My aunts are Vietnamese, but they married non-Asian men. As a result, my cousins are only half Vietnamese. My cousin Angela married a Canadian man, and they have a daughter who’s--you guessed it--only half Vietnamese. Just this alone should already debunk this stereotype. People should be able to love/date/marry whoever they want to, regardless of what ethnicity they are. Another fun fact about me: my boyfriend of three years (and counting) is Italian, and I’m Vietnamese. We’re doing just fine together in case anyone was wondering.

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5. ASIAN PARENTS ARE STRICT

Okay, I will admit that my parents personally are strict on certain things like what I wear and when I can stay out until. But since I’m 17 and about to go off to college in August, have a credit card, already registered to vote, and have a driver’s license, I’ve been receiving more leeway on what I can do. After all, I do become a legal adult in about 6 months.

I think the one thing that any parent wants, whether they’re Asian or not, is for their child to succeed, but also to let them have their own independence to do what they want and to make their own choices. This is also built on trust and respect, and if your parents trust you enough to do the right thing, then they won’t be so strict. That’s coming from my experience, but there are also parents who are extremely strict and won’t let their kids do anything except for study all day, which is really sad because I know kids like this at school and they don’t have many friends. I think there’s a fine line between making sure your child succeeds in school but also having good social skills, and personally, I do feel that Asian parents do have some trouble with this but once again, not all Asian parents do.

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6. ASIANS ARE OUTSIDERS

Um...let’s start off with the fact that India and China already make up somewhere between 35-40% of the entire world population. Add in the rest of the Asian countries and their populations, and that percentage shoots up to about 60%. So if anything, Europeans are the outsiders in a world dominated by Asians. Of course, I say that last sentence jokingly (and I know there’s gonna be butthurt people messaging me after they read this), but the statistics referenced are true.

Like Caylie mentioned in her article, every now and then people ask me, “Where are you really from?” When I tell them I was born in America, they look at me like I’m crazy. I’m a Vietnamese person living in America. Wow. What a revolutionary thing, I never knew something like that can happen! (insert eye roll here) Saying/implying that Asians are outsiders is just downright rude. It’s not like you haven’t seen an Asian person before in your entire life.

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7. ASIANS AREN’T ATHLETIC

I’m sure a lot of you have seen Asians as wimpy and unathletic in TV shows and movies for comic relief purposes. But to assume that all Asians are unathletic is horribly wrong, especially since the Winter Olympics are over. Korea was the one to host the Winter Olympics in the first place, Beijing will host the Winter Olympics in 2022, and Tokyo is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. This also doesn’t include the fact that a lot of gymnasts, divers, and figure skaters are from Asian countries and have placed gold in the Olympics.

To take this to a personal level, my brother plays football and does track and field. He also does tae kwon do outside of school sports. My cousin in California runs track, has an Olympic athlete as a trainer, and is state ranked in track. I used to swim, cheer, play basketball, and played soccer for a year or two. I stopped doing sports for academic reasons (the workload and the difficulty of it), but to assume something like Asians does nothing but study and suck at sports is quite wrong.

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(Lol throwback to the pictures I used to post on my page two years ago)

8. ASIANS EAT DOGS

Well...um, this one is partially true. It is true that dogs are delicacies in certain Asian countries like Korea. However, does this mean that all Asians eat dogs? NO. OF COURSE NOT. My family living in Vietnam have dogs for pets (and if anyone was wondering, they’re golden retrievers), and many Asians today agree that eating dog really isn’t the nicest thing in the world.

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9. ASIANS ARE BAD DRIVERS

This one ties in part with the whole “squinty” eyes stereotype, since some people joke by saying, “Asians are horrible drivers because they can’t see through their squinty eyes!” Last time I checked, if you passed your road test, you get your driver’s license, and if you passed that means you’re a good enough driver to obtain said driver’s license sooooo...if they were bad drivers then how would you be able to see a ton of Asians driving cars? If they were bad you wouldn’t see Asians driving cars around, right? Since they can’t see the road through their “squinty” eyes?

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#10. ALL ASIANS KNOW KARATE

In Rob Gronkowski’s voice from the Tide Pods infomercial NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. NO. Just because Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan basically made martial arts and set a standard for everyone across the globe taking some form of martial arts doesn’t mean all Asians know karate. There are different types of martial arts besides karate, you know. Like tae kwon do, aikido, jujitsu, judo, the list can go on. Even if there are Asians who don’t know karate, so what? Everyone is good at something, and for the people who do know karate/other martial arts, you never know when you might cross paths with a burglar who ends up stealing your purse and needs to fight them to get your stuff back. Besides, taking some kind of martial arts is surrounding yourself with the Asian culture, and it’s never a bad thing to learn about cultures other than your own.

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That’s all for this article. I read Caylie’s article and I was saying, “YES CAYLIE YOU GO GIRL” the entire time because I feel like those stereotypes are things that Asians have just come to accept and don’t talk about because we’re taught not to express many emotions (unless they’re positive). We don’t say anything, so the stigma surrounding these stereotypes continues to grow and all we do is sit there and take it in whenever someone calls us Chinese (unless you’re actually Chinese) or that we suck at driving. If you’re Asian and related to this article, feel free to message me, haha, we Asians gotta stick together.

If anyone was offended by anything said in this article, please keep in mind that these are things coming from my perspective as a Vietnamese and what I feel about each of these stereotypes. If anyone has a serious problem with what I said anywhere throughout this article, please message me and I will change the part accordingly.

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Until next time,
~Kim (@music_infinity)

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