Being Asian

Aaron Kim

As Am 115

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Being Asian

Within our readings from Shimizu’s Straitjacket Sexualities, I learned that the Asian people are more highly ridiculed than praised. This is certainly ironic as it is a commonly accepted notion that Asians are the model minorities in American society, and yet they are ridiculed for being just that. It can be safely assumed that there is a natural tendency to have some what of a pride to their own specific race/ethnicity, but that does not give an excuse to ridicule other races/ethnicity. To my understanding, Asians are targeted because they do not respond back. If a white man was to ridicule an African American, there would be a reaction and consequence. Switch the African American with an Asian American, then it is a free ticket for the white man to ridicule as much as he wants without the fear of consequences. If the Asian community took this to heart and let their voices be heard just as the African Americans did, then there’s the solution. This can be a little far fetched to note, but one possible reason why other people ridicule the Asians is because well Asians are better at anything. It is a sense of jealousy if not envy, that sparks the interest to ridicule Asians. 

The reading from Don Lee’s The Collective, only made my point stronger. The novel illustrates the hardships and social differences that an Asian American faces in America. I feel that this novel did a perfect job in setting the reader to be in the narrator’s perspective. Joshua Yoon, in a way, depicts the stereotypical Asian in a very nonchalant way: he identifies himself away from the Asian stereotype. For me, I can relate to Joshua, as he enjoys writing far more than mathematics (the commonly known stereotype that Asians are good at math. I’m not). Joshua in a way symbolizes the Asian student growing up to conform to society, and to ridicule his birth right of being an Asian. In comparison, the narrator Eric emphasizes the Asian(ness) within his narration as well as character analysis of Joshua.

In Shimizu’s Straitjacket Sexualities Epilogue, the first few paragraphs talks about Clint Eastwood’s film Gran Torino. I think Gran Torino is a perfect representation of how the American people viewed the Asian American ‘refugees’. Shimizu talks about the broader sense in the perspective of Clint the main character, and how he treats and feels about the Asian people. In a way, I can see how this can be a conventional excuse for their means of ridicule, but it also shows their notion of white supremacy. Clint viewed his Asian neighbors as people just taking white folk’s jobs, and he even croaks about how the nurse does not pronounce his name correctly. It was through the perspective of little things that make bigger changes. 

In Gran Torino, the scene where Thao, a single Hmong boy, is walking down the street reading a book, where he gets bullied on by a Mexican American gang. Thao does not acknowledge them and just walks away with a smile. Meanwhile, a Hmong gang witnessing the bullying, tries to save him by intimidating the Mexican gang running scared. Thao’s inability or lack of will to participate within a masculine setting of being a part of a gang only embodies his true masculinity of Asian American. He resembles the independence, “fly solo”, strength, and intelligence, than rather barbaric and bellicose lifestyle.

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