If you’re not Asian, some of this stuff might not make sense. In that case, please see this as sharing from an Asian American perspective.
Asian-American millenials, maybe this will be stuff you’ve been feeling and hopefully can gain some language for.
I felt a little bit of this back in the Bay, but the notion I’m speaking about has been
magnified by about 100 (93.5 to be exact) percent throughout my time in Texas.
This thing I’m speaking of is the high tension, discomfort, and conflict of Asian-
American to Asian-American relations. Sometimes it’s the awkward lookaways that
I’ve experienced when walking the campus of Baylor. I’ll be walking with my friends
(Asian-American, white, or a mixture of both) and I’ll walk in the vicinity of another
Asian American with a similar co-demographic. The strangest thing occurs and the
other Asian American(s) divert their eyes away from nearly every time. Call me crazy,
but last time I checked looking away from people usually implies some sort of
increased alertness, usually of a threat or discomfort, and insecurity.
Other times I’ll meet other Asian Americans and the conversation usually becomes
very awkward as the dialogue, mostly by action of the person across from me, begins
to beat around the bush of expected similarities in experience and lifestyle. In other
words, they try to sound very white and Americanized and avoid any talk of
commonalities between our potentially similar Asian-American heritage.
So here’s my thing and also my reaction: da hell? It’s something I don’t quite
understand and, frankly, something I’m really frustrated at.
*Disclaimer: all this could be just a giant misperception, but hear me out. Maybe
there is some validity to this conversation.
So maybe this blog can be a post where we can have a conversation and rationalize
some of this junk.
My hunch, millenials, is that this is all just misplaced securities. It’s rare for majority
culture to understand what it means to be a minority and the life that comes with it.
The minority lifestyle contains discrimination, misconception, abnormality, and
discomfort. The good and the bad qualities of what the general public perceive us to
have are EXTREMELY magnified.
So in the spirit of this post, take Asian Americans for instance. Our good qualities of
being academically studious, submissive, and having excellent cuisine are all general
public pieces of knowledge. However these things are usually assumed and fuel
extreme misconceptions; we can call these “positive” stereotypes
Our perhaps “poor” qualities are that we are not capable of great leadership, are
nerdy/non-athletic, not as aesthetically beautiful as other races, cannot speak
English well, and dress “Asian”. These qualities too are usually assumed and fuel
extreme conceptions; these are classically known as “negative” stereotypes.
So in order to fight against these stereotypes what’s an Asian-American brotha or
sista supposed to do? You fight them, or at least keep them under wraps, like yo
damn life depended on it. You become extremely white and hide any cinch of Asian
stereotypes (good and bad) from the general public who, in Baylor’s case, are mostly
white. You mask your good/phenomenal grades, fall in love with classically American
accepted foods, dress freakin’ white, and only hang out with white people.
Maybe this is all stuff that I’m overthinking and misrepresenting; all I know is that
I’ve accepted myself: a Christian, Korean-American, a lover of people, passionate
about health, and a fanatic of food. None of me wants to hide any of these things.
Why? Because that’s who God created me to be. I’m going to live the life God gave
me. I will follow the Lord and allow culture to fit into His plan, not the other way
around. Of course I have broken theology (we all do damn it); so I don’t want to
pretend of come off like I know it all.
So I guess this was a bit of a rant and my heart thrown all into one blog post. Hope it
-Yung “DC” Dan