5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

1. The Model Minority Stereotype

The stereotype depicts Asian-Americans as the model minority racial group. Only affluent, educated Asian-Americans are used to perpetuate this stereotype, because they fit the "American Dream" ideology -- living in a posh suburban house with white picket fences and establishing a nuclear family. What may seem like a "positive generalization" is actually a harmful stereotype of a race of people.

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

One point of the stereotype assumes that all Asians are overachievers. First of all, it holds Asians up to a much higher standard than people of other races, so that an Asian with the same credentials as a White candidate is less likely to be accepted as a student or employee. Second of all, it ignores the existence of failing Asian students. A personal friend of mine was Chinese-American and grew up in the States with a father, a mother, and later, a little brother 10 years her junior. When her family moved to Florida, she was sent to the local public school, which was so dull and slow that it made her seem smart.

Years flew by, and as a teenager, her parents got divorced. Her mother took her and her brother to Chinese buffets very often, a behavior atypical of many Chinese-American families who usually cook meals at home and rarely eat out. Her mother found work as a research technician; her brother went to elementary school; and she developed severe depression, which influenced her school performance and caused her to drop out of high school. Her father decided to send her to China to live with relatives, and after one year, she returned to the United States, looking forward to become a medical transcriptionist. I only knew this friend when she was only 3 to 8 years old. I never met her brother. Her later life was exposed to me through my mother's regular correspondence with her mother over an Internet chat service. Anyway, I hope that this narrative paints a more realistic, multi-dimensional, modern Asian character.

[T]his narrative paints a more realistic, multi-dimensional, modern Asian character.

Another point of the stereotype assumes that too many Asians are considered the "model minority" or "overachievers". This stereotype is particularly harmful, because it is directly related to the Yellow Peril stereotype of the 19th century. Back in the 19th century, people of the white majority felt threatened that the incoming Cantonese-speaking Chinese immigrants were going to take away their jobs and women. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed to prevent further Chinese immigration, and businesses refused to hire someone who was Chinese. These discriminatory practices forced Chinese Americans to become self-employed in the culinary and laundry trade, thereby perpetuating even more stereotypes of Chinese Americans. In the 20th century, Asian American families were beginning to send their children to most prestigious colleges at a rate higher than the total percentage of Asian American population.

This led to affirmative action proposals to put a cap on the amount of Asian-American applicants, as if Asian-Americans were not supposed to enter top schools at such high numbers. In an ideal world, race should not be a factor in selecting qualified applicants. If 95% of applicants who got accepted to a top university just happened to be Asian American or Asian (foreign students), then let that be so. Sure, university might not be so racially diverse anymore, but at least the university got quality students. Instead of putting a cap on the number of "Asians", I think parents should put more investment in the lives of their children, especially in mathematics, science, technology, and engineering.

2. The Perpetual Foreigner Stereotype

This stereotype depicts the Asian as an exotic species permanently. The person can live in the States for generations, but as long as he cannot pass as "white", he is permanently recognized as a foreigner. Being recognized as a foreigner in one's own land is very debilitating to American-born Asian-Americans. The Asian-American would be confronted with the expectation to speak his "native language" or exhibit "native customs".

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

American-born Asian Americans also face prejudice from more recent Asian immigrants. Asian immigrants would look at the faces of American-born Asian Americans or Asians adopted by non-Asian families and try to speak an Asian language to them, only to realize that the Asian American does not understand a word. This prejudice that Asian-Americans face is carried over when Asian-Americans want to go to China to teach English. Chinese people would judge the applicant by the looks and choose the White applicant over the Asian applicant because of the presumption of "superior English".

I have personal experience with this stereotype all my life. But I am considered fortunate, as I was actually born in China and could speak Mandarin. I just chose not to speak it in school. The harassment I faced from my peers who expected me to speak Chinese just made me roll my eyes, exclude myself from others, not seek too much attention, and almost resent my Chinese heritage. I stopped speaking Mandarin in the home in 6th grade, and now it has become more of a convenient habit. I still understand 90-95% of spoken conversational Chinese. The other 5-10% includes idiomatic phrases and technical terms.

But I avoid speaking it, not even to my own parents. What originally started out as a desire to correct low self-esteem morphed into a desire to communicate with a language that I knew most fluently. When I found out about "Off The Great Wall" on YouTube, I was so comforted by the satirical take on Chinese-American culture that I appreciated more of my heritage. I took 1-2 years of Chinese school in the United States, when I was in 5th and 6th grades. That taught me the hanyupinyin alphabet, a development created by the modern Communist government to increase literacy. I think it's a relatively late development, because neither of my parents learned it when they were in school. They learned every Chinese character by shape, form, and context. Several years after my brief experience in Chinese school, I decided to take on continuing my Chinese reading and writing education through the Internet.

My continuing education is rather informal. I often use the Yabla Chinese dictionary and maybe Google Translate and maybe my own mother and father to translate something for me. Learning a foreign language, be it Latin American Spanish, American English, or Mainland Chinese, is a gateway to understanding and appreciating the culture. In exchange, I have always helped my parents with English, but that usually comes with hilarious side effects. For example, when I was 8 years old, I had a teacher named "Schwartz". On the first day, I came home from school and told my parents that my teacher's name was "Shee Wa Zi", which sounded like "洗袜子", which meant "wash socks". The Chinese nickname was hilarious.

3. Submissiveness

In America, Asians are portrayed to be submissive, docile, quiet, reserved, and diligent. This stereotype is combined with the "Model Minority" stereotype to create an image that may help the Asian employee early on in his career, but as time passes by, the Asian employee stumbles across the "bamboo ceiling". He simply cannot enter a supervisory role in the workplace, because he is constantly perceived to be submissive and inferior by co-workers and other employers.

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

4. The Asian Face

The stereotypical East Asian face primarily consists of two squinty eyes with monolids. In reality, there are many different types of East Asian faces. My own mother, for example, is an Asian woman. She has big, round eyes, double eyelids, and high cheekbones. She has a younger sister with big, round eyes, monolids, and somewhat roundish face. She has another younger sister with the stereotypical East Asian features. She has a younger brother who has big, round eyes, double eyelids, and oval face. They are all biological siblings; they just happen to look so starkly different. I don't think it's the monolid that defines Asian eyes; it's the epicanthic fold. Double eyelids do occur naturally but infrequently within the East Asian population.

My father, according to the words of my mother, has the worst Asian features. He has a round face, squinty eyes, monolids, a wide nose, and a wide mouth. Nevertheless, I have all his features, except the nose and mouth. By Chinese standards, my mother would be considered exceptionally attractive, and I would be considered plain. I prefer not to smile too hard, because when I smile, I squint, and all you see are slits for eyes. I don't consider myself unattractive, because I have a very symmetrical face. Non-Asians may think to themselves, "All Asians look the same." But look closely, and you can see the differences. It's called outgroup homogeneity.

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

5. Chinese-American Cuisine

It took me some time to figure out what makes Chinese-American cuisine "Asian". I think what makes the cuisine "Asian" is exactly what makes it American. General Tso's chicken is just boneless fried chicken in sweet and sour sauce. The deep-fried cooking method is what makes it American. The sweetness is what makes it American. When served with broccoli, the broccoli makes it totally American. Sometimes, Asian-inspired recipes would include mandarin oranges and dried, crunchy noodles in salads and wraps. The creation of Chinese-American cuisine just shows how innovative and flexible people can be.

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face

However, assuming that Chinese-American food is what Chinese Americans eat at home is not so accurate, especially among recent Chinese immigrants in the States. Meat may be anything (pig's feet, chicken feet, pig ear, beef tongue, beef stomach, pork blood curd, kidneys), which may not be the most appetizing to a typical American who eats only the muscle meats of poultry, swine, cattle, and fish. Keep in mind that muscle meats are traditionally regarded by many societies as higher-quality meat that only the affluent can afford to eat. In other words, muscle meat is traditionally a luxury food, not peasant food. Tofu may be part of a platter, but non-Chinese Americans may not like the taste of tofu.

Also, different regions in China have differences for food. Northern Chinese may eat more wheat-based foods, like jiaozi or baozi or mantou and noodles. Southern Chinese may prefer to eat rice instead of noodles. Where my parents and I came from, spicy food is a must in the dishes. Indeed, my mother would create the dishes so spicy that her own Chinese co-workers, who come from other regions in China, would complain about the spiciness! The important thing to take away from this is that palatability varies from person to person. If you want to please a guest or customer who does not share your taste, then you have to adjust the plate to fit the guest's or customer's palate. The guest will be happy; the customer will pay and give high ratings.

5 Stereotypes That Asians Face
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Most Helpful Guy

  • meowcow
    Not sure what the point of this is. I don't they're stereotypes, except for #1.

    Being of Chinese decent, my face looks just as Asian as any other Asian. My eyes are narrow when I smile so that in photographs, they look like they're shut. This isn't a stereotype, it's how we look.

    It is also not a stereotype that most Asians are submissive or docile at the very least. Asian culture, particularly Chinese and Japanese are such that being loud and obnoxious is considered to be extremely rude. We are docile and quiet because that is what our parents taught us. It's rare you see loudmouthed Asians like you'd typically see in African Americans.

    Most foods from different cultures are also fused when introduced into different countries. What North Americans consider sushi is actually offensive in Japan (they do not douse their sushi in soy sauce like we do as it destroys the delicate flavor of the fish). Our pizza is considered offensive to Italians in Italy (their traditional pizza is much different than Pizza Hut and Panago). Ask a person in Mexico if they like churros and they'll look at you like you're an idiot, because they don't make/eat churros. Similarly, Americans are not going to like the Chinese food that is cooked in China. Americans are kinda grossed out when served a roasted quail with the head still attached, or when they see a BBQ pig carcass hanging on a hook in a restaurant. So they simply swap the recipe with something that's more palatable to their taste.

    How any of that is a stereotype that Asians face, I have no clue.
    How you think this is some type of barrier we face... I have no clue.
    Like 1 Person
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Most Helpful Girl

  • abundantlyrich
    Well every ethnic group has good and bad people. I'll make this general. If it is not a person from a different culture picking on you but also a compatriot Passing all that negetivity around. Be prepared for the insults. Stupid mofos are everywhere disguise in every skin colour, innocent apoearances and seemingly sweet and cordial at first. What do they all share in common? Treachery and jealousy.
    Like 1 Person
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What Girls & Guys Said

  • sailorjupiter
    so... you know that Asian is not limited to Chinese only right? we have Japanese, thai, Philippines, Indians and even Arabs as Asian too
    LikeDisagree 4 People
    • Anonymous

      Yes. But I am Chinese, so I write from that Asian perspective.

    • Owh, okay 😊

    • Typically in the west, when people use the term 'Asian', it constitutes "East Asians" as opposed to the rest of entirety of Asia. It isn't entirely accurate, but it has stuck in our vocabulary.

      Although I would contend that not all Arabs are Asians (Moroccans, Egyptians, Tunisians, etc), so it isn't entirely useful to lump Arabs in the category of 'Asians'.

    • Show All
  • vintagegirl90
    Um that we're these innocent girls, it's an annoying little stereotype and that we love Math, I can't say I do.. and we're all foreigners, it's half true, my parents migrated from Asia, but I was born in Australia, therefore not a foreigner and don't have an Asian accent, just a mild Australian accent. They also think that all Asians look the same, rather than guess my background just ask me, it's less offensive to be honest!
  • Tarvold
    You forgot the *ahem* smallest *ahem* stereotype of all.
    Like 9 People
  • Moonstar2024
    My dad has a chinese fiance and he likes Asian girls because most American women are are radical feminists nowadays and cry sexism at everything. His fiance is very nice and he treats her right so it's all cool. I have to agree with him about how American women are. We are both white and American but my mom was a total abusive drug addict so I understand why he thinks like that.
    Like 2 People
  • YourFutureEx
    Like 1 Person
    • I can believe it. My greatest talent appears to be with operating wikis. And I'm pretty sure some Asian out there is looking at my work right now, and thinking: "amateur!"

    • @ObscuredBeyond LMAO 😂 can't deny that :D

  • FatherJack
    The term " Asian " is confusing & misleading , simply because you'll be referring to someone from Turkey all the way to the Bering Straits. Here in the UK , " Asian " always refers to someone from /originating from the Indian Subcontinent , due to the Empire days & large populations of Indians , Pakistanis & Bangladeshis living in the UK. Most far east Asian populations here are Hong Kong Chinese , again due to colonial influence.
  • John_Doesnt
    Oh no, such "terrible" stereotypes. I am of course being sarcastic, because none of those are the least bit terrible compared to what every other minority has to face in the US.
    LikeDisagree 5 People
  • helloitsmethere
    You forgot the stereotypes that they eat pets and have small dicks...
    Like 1 Person
    • Anonymous

      Well, "pets" is the wrong term. Eating livestock (that just happens to be dogs and cats) is the correct term. Dogs and cats can be recognized as livestock as well as pets. In the West, cattle is generally regarded as livestock, but when people keep cows and bulls as pets, they start getting really attached to the animals and treat them as pets.

  • zagor
    You're complaining about #1? Yeah, I can see why you'd envy people who get tailed by security in stores, who when they get on a bus can notice women grasping their purses tighter, who get pulled over by police for driving through a nice neighborhood...
  • Lawdog
    Seriously, guy, check your Asian privilege. It's only because our forefathers were Asian that your culture is known for high success and great achievements. If only they hadn't written the Constitution in Korean, I would be able to finally escape from under your tiny oppressive boot!
  • _HimigNgKalayaan_
    I can't relate that much personally because this is more of an Asian-American stereotypes, except 4.. One stereotype I always enounter is Asians eat rice all the time, but then again I do eat rice all the time haha
  • kambo_trick3y
    Thank God I'm Cambodian, we actually have fairly wide eyes.
    LikeDisagree 3 People
  • Cosytoasty
    Number 2 omg lol relatives talk to me in Vietnamese and I'm standing there like... " Uhmmmmm *nods* yes"

    Another good take I enjoyed reading 👍
    • 2love1

      if you have pride in your ethnicity learn your native tongue , you might be a American but you are a Vietnamese in my eyes , it runs through your blood... why did your family come to America? know and learn your roots.. cause that is your people too... it can be hard but look at our ancestors or any other ethnicity , we had to start in a foreign country to learn how to survive in a 1st world country and you have been given a chance to master the game of this country.. dont forget your roots.. take pride in it

    • @2love1 isn't he in China?

    • Cosytoasty

      @Prettyapathetic Nope im British (yes with the accent 😂)

      @2love1 I dont forget my roots but im half chinese and I can speak that. I've been to Vietnam and i dont take growing up in the west for granted at all.

    • Show All
  • RationalMale
    1. Seriously? You're upset that people think Asians are decent folk? Okay.
    2. Perpetually not a real American? Kind of like how if I went to China or Japan I would perpetually not be a real Chinese or Japanese because I am Caucasian? Do I need to explain this?
    3. Not too long ago there was a "dragon lady" cliche that Asians hated too. You can't have it both ways.
    4. Asians have different looks the same way Irish, English, German, and Swedish girls all have different looks. Some difference, yet easily recognizable as being caucasians. Same way people can look at Japanese or Koreans or Chinese people and recognize them as Asians. Can you tell an Irish girl from French girl? If not, don't gripe at us that we can't tell a Japanese girl from a Korean.
    5. Yeah, that's not exactly some cliche that will cripple your life. Panda Express is no more hurting your life than Wendys is hurting mine or a Gyro is hurting Europeans.
    Like 2 People
  • Prettyapathetic
    Kk. You're lucky your Asian , and your blood relatives aren't seen as crazy as fuck.
  • 2love1
    first stereotype
    is a good thing it just show how discipline we are and how much we are on our priorities

    second stereotype
    we should always have pride in our ethnic background
    the roots and history that we carry in our family name... we must remember
    what our family has endured.. and take pride in it and become strong..
    but the prejudice between Asian on Asian i believe one has some esteem issues or they just dont care and the other is just being ignorant with no compassion

    the third stereotype
    IS BULLSHIT us Asian are not submissive we are some furious stubborn hot blooded go hard or go home type of people.. some are just too kind or is mentally weak and sheltered.. no life skills..

    the fourth stereotype
    this one i did dealt with when i was a kid but i have no problem with it
    i love my eyes... it naturally looks dangerous
    from what i see white , latina , pacific islander , black women love us Asians
    least the ones i encounter xP

    Disagree 1 Person
  • lime_rampljuset
    Nice Take.
  • Loveherbut
    U forgot smart in math
    Like 1 Person
  • idkthus
    I'm Chinese. I think you're definitely American.
    • idkthus

      Actually it's ridiculous I've never seen an Asian man being portrayed as submissive, they're actually portrayed as idiots in Hollywood.

    • Anonymous

      You should read M. Butterfly. It's a classic play, written by David Henry Hwang.

      Yes, I am American. Technically, one-and-a-half generation Chinese-American, but American nevertheless. The myTake is not written in the perspective of East Asians in East Asia. It is written in the perspective of the experience of "Asian-Americans", specifically "Chinese-Americans" in America. Hope that clears things up. :D

    • idkthus

      I mean I won't assume anyone in America to speak Asian languages with me.

    • Show All
  • Anonymous
    People appreciate Asians because while Many are boat people and poor and face some discrimination, they are known for buffoonery.. you know, protesting, complaining, collecting welfare checks and food stamps but downing America at the same they create dangerous large cities everywhere. Does anyone wonder why every large city is dangerous when it has a certain other minority? So Adina don’t feel Bad — just feel blessed you aren’t the other minority
  • Anonymous
    There are some other stereotypes, for example, everybody thinks Asians are very wise, so people tend to ask stupid and philosophical questions...
    Oh yeah, and everyone thinks Asian people are all Kung Fu masters, Ninjas, Samurai etc :P
  • Anonymous
    tiny cock
  • Anonymous
    Forget the face, tell me why Asian girls are obsessed and must have a white guy. Is that a thing back home? Like you guys get together and ohhhh which white dude can we dig our claws into
    LikeDisagree 6 People
    • whats wrong... r u Asian guy who was left by Asian girl with white guy
      stop hate, people r free to do and date whoever hey want to

  • Anonymous
    I'm half Asian and don't appear very Asian so I haven't really had to face this, but I remember this one time when my dad and mum were walking down the street, this stranger 'jokingly' asked if my mum was my dad's housemaid. My mum, as an Asian woman, laughed it off but was pretty offended.
    • 2love1

      Fuck those ignorant fools.. Trying to ruin another person day.. Have pride In your mother and your father

  • Anonymous
    maybe you're perpetual foreigners because Asians seem very reluctant to assimilate. You want all the advantages of living in the west but refuse to fit in. You walk down the street speaking in your own language when you know English, you're incredibly cliquey-only interact with other Asian. You refuse to relinquish your culture hence CHINATOWN.

    AND NUMBER 6) Asian WOMEN ARE DESPERATE & SELF-HATOING SO THEY WILL DATE ANY WHITE GUY. If he's ugly, fat, bald, old, doesn't matter so long as he is white.
    LikeDisagree 13 People
    • Starrk

      Why should any ethnic group have to relinquish it's culture. America has no singular culture for it is a melting pot of a variety of cultures from all over the world. And why should they not speak their native language around friends/family. Just because you can't speak their language doesn't mean they should be prevented from speaking it.

      Also Chinatown is a ethnic enclave just like Harlem and The Bronx is for Black Americans or Greektown is for Greeks or Little Italy is for Italians or Koreantown is for Koreans. Ethnic enclave are very beneficial for ethnic minority groups and immigrants who recently arrived to the country.

  • Anonymous
    When you get down to it everyone in America is obsessed with protraying themselves as a victim or a persecuted minority and this take is in the spirit of that. Its the same with my own jewish community, yes when others asume that American jews are good academically and have financially lucrative careers thats not a negative stereotype in fact its a compliment and there has always been a drive among American Jews for education, business and careers in professions. there's a stereotype about Jewish mothers pushing their kids to become doctors well that is true. Also Jews just like Asians represent a disproportionate amount in IVY league colleges and of those who are wealthy in America.
    So we all Blacks, Asians , mexicans, Jews, Muslims, Hispanics, lesbians, Gays, Feminists (white feminists acting like their oppressed makes me LMAO) as well as other minority groups or mixture of groups need to stop seeing ourselves as victims of oppression in a first world country and rather than see ourselves as an alienated minority see ourselves as Americans.
    LikeDisagree 2 People
    • Anonymous

      On a tour of SEast Asia I supprised at the attitudes of main land Chinese people who seem to have no manners or decency.

    • Im tired of all Deez whiny Americans

    • Anonymous

      @Prettyapathetic not so whinny when people push back then you guys act like bitches

    • Show All
  • Anonymous
    Damn I wish stereotypes didn't exist. Stereotypes are a reflection of how stupid people can be. I really hate the perpetual foreigner stereotype, it questions the American identity like is there a certain look for being considered American?
    LikeDisagree 4 People
  • Anonymous
    I hate the submissive stereotype. Its prolly the main thing that makes guys contract "yellow fever"
    LikeDisagree 7 People
    • YingKim

      Ya I think so :/

    • 2love1

      I believe the whole yellow fever thing is bs we live in America... I find white girls and Latinas beautiful I just believe some girls and guys are 1. She/he has been brainwash in a white man society 2. She/he has not met a Asian man/woman who could hold her/him down , which is sad... Or 3 she/he is just open minded to experience someone from a different ethnic background