My mom made a comment earlier this week that made me think.
We were shopping for something to contribute to a bake sale when she picked up a box of meticulously-designed, expensive cookies and said, "Let's get these. I don't want the other moms to think I'm a cheap Asian or something." Yikes.
I've noticed recently that people in the Asian American community are sometimes discouraged by stereotypes. They're afraid that saying "I like math" will classify them as the "classic nerd," or playing tennis and the violin will make them like every other "Asian overachiever." In my mom's case, she feared that settling for a box of Costco sugar cookies would make her appear like the "typical cheap Asian." That bothers me.
Ideally one could just be themselves, but that's far easier said than done. I think the key to achieving that is understanding that stereotypes do not define a person. Obviously they exist for a reason, but they shouldn't tell your whole story. So if you find yourself fitting a stereotype, own it. The stereotype might be true, but it does not make up your complete identity.
Ultimately, the only person who decides who you are and what you represent and value is you.
Author: Claire Cao
1/15/18- Def-I Stereotypes
2/16/18- Remembering Peter Wang
2/20/18- Asians Are Un-Athletic? Says Who?
3/11/18- Racial Misconceptions: A Global Issue
6/14/18- History Lesson: The Story of Chinese Exclusion in America
6/25/18- Summer '18: Groundbreaking RepresentASIAN in the Movies
7/18/18- Update On the Movement: Through Our Eyes
8/18/18- RepresentASIAN: My Journey with Katherine Ho, the Voice Behind "Crazy Rich Asians"
9/16/18- A Newcomer's Take on Asian Pride
10/11/18- Update on the United Airlines "Dragging" Incident
11/6/18- RepresentASIAN: Interview with Entrepreneur Benny Luo, Founder of NextShark
12/20/18- The "I Love You" Project