On Racism Against Asians

​By Cath Lei

   “At least you’re not getting shot” is a common response Asians get when we call out racist remarks against us- which, I admit, is logical. I know you don’t mean to be rude when you say that, but it kind of sounds like you want us to get shot. Racism has been seen as a black and white issue for far too long- not that it’s bad that we have our eyes and ears focused on black and white racial issues all the time- but it’d be nice if racism was acknowledged despite the context of the situation.

  People are quick to call out cultural appropriation when a white girl wears dreads, but when she paints over her face to look Korean, they stare with a blind eye. I mean, she can totally pull off small eyes better than we can, and it’s just a little makeup, right? Wrong, racism is racism.

  In 2014, Asians made up 5.6% of the total U.S. population, equating to about 17.8 million out of 318.9. About 5.3% of characters on TV are Asian...which I guess, makes a little sense- but they’re all based on stereotypes. Take Cristina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy, for example. Their intention for her line “Oh, screw beautiful, I’m brilliant! You want to appease me, compliment my brain!” was to tell girls and women that their appearance wasn’t the only thing that mattered, but they paired it with the character most likely to say it based on stereotypes. Now, you’ve got Asian girls thinking their intelligence is the only thing that matters. But wait, there’s more! Raj from The Big Bang Theory is smart and nerdy, but above all, he can barely talk to women. This only adds to the phenomenon of emasculating Asian men- making it seem as if Asian men just aren’t 'desirable' or 'manly' enough. Asian girls are seen as dainty and submissive, as well as “exotic”. For this reason, often times there are men who have “yellow fever”, or a preference for Asian girls. While this may seem like it’s not an offensive issue at first glance, it is. First off, yellow fever suggests sexism- labeling girls and women as weak. Secondly, it has pedophilic nuances, as the whole dainty look ties in with the typical Asian school girl look. For people to tell us to take yellow fever as a compliment is not only incredibly racist, it also enforces pedophilic desires and demeans Asian girls.

  Asians have had a history of being racist- I won’t deny it. Many came here from a place that was not as racially diverse. We’ve made it up to being America’s model minority, so our stereotypes seem to compliment our intelligence and our capabilities. However, not everyone can live up to being ideally perfect. A bulk of mental illness in Asians goes unreported. Instead, the rest of our community looks upon us as though we are lazy. You can say we kissed the white man's ass for too long, but please understand that our grandparents did it because they thought the white man was better than they could ever be and they wanted to have a future in this country. My identity is composed of my culture, my roots, my language, everything that makes me who I am. It is not something to profit off of, it is not your fetish. It is certainly not your place to tell us that we have not experienced racism.

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