America the Un-Rascist

Originally written 10.17.13

In response to  Connie Zhou’s article: http://www.connie-zhou.com/asian-american-awakening/

Today was my first day subbing. I happened to be subbing for a teacher whose main classes contain ESL students (I shouldn’t really say ESL, the class was called Transitional English). I ran into the Asian stereotype in the place I was most and least expecting it. It was like being in high school all over again.

The author of this article (and many others like it) are right in saying that as Asian Americans, we do see a lot of stereotyping and stupid comments. However, the source of these comments may be surprising. My first encounter today happened in my first Transitional English class. A Chinese boy (you will understand why I label him as such soon) entered the classroom and the first thing he said to me was in Chinese, something along the lines of “Oh you’re Chinese! Can you speak Chinese?” This continued when we met up with the rest of the class and the other Chinese student in the class began discussing something in Chinese with the first Chinese student. They both spoke to me in Chinese. After some discussion between all three parties he said, and quite offensively (to me) that I was American (after finding out I was born in America) and that even if I spoke Chinese it was probably bad.

What?

Another student in my last class of the day insisted on saying hello to me in Chinese, multiple times, despite the fact he was Hispanic (he spoke Spanish). And he put his palms together and gave a slight bow when he said it. Do you know how annoying that is?

This thing, whatever it is, still happens today, with the youngest members of our country. I have first hand experience with 6-7 year olds. Some of their comments, though clearly out of innocence, are still very telling of the “whiteness” of Americans. I and two other Asian children (both girls) have both been under the microscope held by the other children in the class. The question that was asked was “Are you sisters? You look alike. You could be sisters!” Only because we were both of Asian descent. Children are curious, but why does this question not occur among children who have European features? It is truly baffling.

Those are my thoughts. I hope you read the author’s article and others like it.

Be aware.

——————————

Edit 10.18.13

My parents saw this and told me I should take it down from Facebook, which is where this was originally posted. Their argument is that this kind of thing should not be posted online, but if not here, then where? This kind of thing needs to be known, not hidden away in the back of a closet.

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