As a Caucasian female, I will never experience the life of a minority. I've never had any of their struggles or been apart of their culture, but I've picked up on a lot over the years. For example, I've noticed that racism against Asian-Americans is normalized. We as humans never batted an eye when we witnessed kids stretching their eyes in an attempt to look Asian in school. We didn't get angry enough when we found out Asians needed higher test scores to get into the same colleges as others. We expect so many things from Asians; they either need to be highly intelligent or really bad drivers because stereotypes are constantly pushed on them.
Some of the comments I've picked up on include my own family members saying, "of course they're Asian" when an Asian person happens to cut them off while driving. Another example would be when a kid I go to school with told a story on his Snapchat. He was walking past a group of choir singers who all happened to be Asian. He proceeded to say "These ch*nks are here singing Christmas carols for no reason." In his next snap, he said, "Who invited BTS." (A K-Pop group)
First of all, the slur ch*nk is highly offensive. Second of all, who's to say everyone in that group was Korean? Asians are more than just Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans. There are so many other beautiful cultures. This person also happened to be a minority and if anyone said this about his race, everyone would go ballistic. This may sound controversial, but we don't talk about the racism against Asians even half as much as we do other cultures and ethnicities. The reason for this is because Americans are so comfortable with their comments and terrible thoughts towards Asians.
Since I'm not the one who personally has to go through this, I decided to interview my very close friend. I'm keeping their identity hidden for privacy, but we can give them an alias. Their name will be Alex and they're a Chinese fifteen-year-old who feels like what I'm getting at is correct.
Alex told me they don't consider themselves to be oppressed but they definitely feel like people expect too much from them. They've felt pressure from society to be the smart kid. "I think people just expect me to always be reading or something. A lot of it goes back to grades and education and the pressure that's put on Asian people to be something they might not be," they said. In my opinion, we don't put this much pressure on any other race.
They also feel like it's become a normalized trend to make fun of Asians. "People don't think they're being rude, but they are. Since I'm half white, people will say 'your eyes are kind big for an Asian.' or 'Oh, you must get straight A's, right?'" It seems like Asians can't always go about their day without feeling different and the blame is on those ignorant enough to make such comments. In fact, Alex has always felt different. They shared with me that they used to wish they weren't Asian. They just wanted to be like everyone else.
Alex went on to say, "I think people expect me not to understand racism because Asians are seen as more privileged than other minority races, but that's not the case." This goes back to me explaining the story with the choir kids. If that was any other race people would have flipped. If it was an Asian calling black people the n-word, or Hispanics a derogatory name, it would be a completely different story. People would actually care and pay attention to the offense.
In conclusion, the racism Asian-Americans face is something our culture doesn't touch on enough. People put pressure on them, make fun of their looks, and don't care enough about the hardships they face. However, we can change it by simply being more aware of the stereotypes we're feeding and thinking twice before we speak.
If you'd like to let me know what you think, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!