Editor’s note: This story was written by a high school student in Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation’s Summer Youth Leadership Program. This story is part of a special back-to-school issue.
By Remy Golla
“Asians are bad drivers.” “Asians are passive, timid, and shy.” “Asians excel in the school subjects of math and science.” These are just a few of many other stereotypes against the Asian ethnicity. It is a serious problem that we are facing today.
A stereotype is a commonly held public belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. In my personal observance, I have noticed that today’s youth have been using stereotypes more and more, either as a joke or a serious racial gesture.
Society needs to understand that using a stereotype as a joke or to generalize other people is both a serious and hurtful action. Through personal experience, people have judged me through stereotypes.
During school, people would say, “Hey, can you help me at math? I know you must get A’s in this class since you’re Asian.” Actually, I have been struggling in that class.
We, as a community, need to understand that if we let other people generalize us by using these stereotypes, it encourages other people to do it. Not doing anything about the usage of stereotypes gives other people the message that it’s OK to use them, when it is not.
I regret all the times when I did not stand up against the people who have used stereotypes to judge me as a person. We should not let these stereotypes define who we are. We should be defined by our actions.
My opinion is that a stereotype is used because one person fits that stereotype and then it is used to represents the whole race. I think the person using the stereotype is just ignorant and doesn’t understand the culture.
As a community, we should try to break and contradict these negative stereotypes. The stereotype of Asians being shy or timid can be broken by changing our attitude by being more outspoken and energetic.
Also, if we have more representation in other careers such as politics or business, we can break the stereotype of being timid. We should not use stereotypes to judge and generalize other ethnicities. This will avoid conflicts and being hypocritical. ♦