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Vitin 1

William Vitin
ENG 102
SUM 2014
Cynthia Hamlett
July 1, 2014
Psychological Effects on Asian Americans: That Choice is yours to make
There are many racial stereotypes all ethnic groups known. For instance, Caucasians,
Mexicans, Blacks, Middle Eastern, and Asians deal with racial stereotypes. Many of us,
including myself, can agree that the racial stereotypes that are being projected through the
entertainment industry on our specific ethnicity effect our lives. There are many different ways
each group is to be stereotyped. One is being called names such as cracker, monkey, wet
back, etc. Another way people stereotype others is by labeling ones race to identify that
persons personal lifestyle. An example of that is by determining their racial statuss by saying
negative remarks. Many races are stereotyped, but the one race that stereotyping takes too far are
the young adult Asian community. Asians are labeled to be someone we are not through movies,
shows, and improvs, etc. Asians are labeled to be good at math and technology, bad in English
and driving, cheap and they all look-a-like. But because the public sees the way the
entertainment media portrays us, they believe what they see through television is right, so they
tend to those stereotypes just to be accepted by others. Many Asians force themselves to live up
to those stereotypes, and others expect them to live up to them as well. What many do not see
through their own eyes is how these modeling affects can effect Asian American relationships
with others, and the worst part is how we let stereotyping effect our relationship within ourselves
in a negative aspect.
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Asian Americans are often portrayed as geeks or foreigners through shows, films, and
commercials. In fact, Asian Americans are far more than the geeks or foreigners Hollywood
would have one believe, yet the majority of society fails to see past those stereotypes (Nittle).
Through a survey, done by Communication Currents (C.C.), asked around a college campus on
how the students perceive of Asian Americans, their mission was to see if media played a role on
how they label Asian Americans. Their findings were the medias stereotypes on Asians and the
publics stereotypes on Asians coincide. The publics perceptions was much aligned with the
medias representations on Asian Americans. In the survey, C.C. concluded that Asians
Americans were perceived as academic overachievers and nerds who lack appropriate social and
communication skills. The survey also concludes that these college students stereotypes affected
their interactions with peers. They are least like to initiate friendship with Asian students during
initial encounters, and are most likely to be left out in socialization activities (Zhang).
Throughout many young Asian American lives, depending where they reside, they go
through vigorous stereotypes and discrimination. If a minority individual lives in a predominant
White society, they are more likely to experience the stereotyping and discrimination within the
community. Model Minority Stereotype is found all over the world. Model Minority Stereotype
is the cultural expectation placed on Asian Americans; such as, smart, wealthy, hard-working,
self-reliant, or never in need of assistance. Some may live up to those stereotypes, but no one is a
perfect human being. The MMS characterization as being highly intelligent, especially in
mathematics and science, is false because all members of any ethnic group cannot exhibit any
trait (Trytten). The University of Texas at Austin, has provided facts that Asian Americans are
not likely to meet all of the stereotypes given to them. In fact, Asian American college students
are more likely to seek medical leave, more likely to go on academic probation, and are less
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likely to graduate in four years. Another is that in 2004, 11.8% of Asian Americans lived below
the poverty line, experiencing the greatest rise in poverty among all groups (Model Minority
Stereotype for Asian Americans). Just recently, I had a close friend of mine, Asian male, who
was attending Cal State San Bernardino. He had requested for an academic leave because of
financial and family issues. This came to me as a surprise because he has lived all his life having
the newest tech-gadgets and shoes - anything new, he had it. His family owns their own donut
shop, which was doing incredibly well. To my knowledge he was passing all his classes, so when
he told the news that he requested for an academic leave, I was stunned. So many thoughts
racing through my mind like, Bro! Youre Asian. You own a donut shop. You come from a
wealthy family. Such thoughts that were reinforced by the entertainment world and the high
expectations we were supposed to live by as Asians because, we were to have the brains, the
wealth, and the American life. I realized that I was labeling my best friend for who he was
supposed to be because of his ethnicity than what was going on in his life behind the scenes.
In the essay, The Language of Prejudice, by Gordon Allport, he talks about how
individuals prejudge by labeling. His examples are on how people are labeled as individuals. In
the essay, there is a picture with a noun that represents the individuals, each individual is
standing behind nouns such as blind man, Chinese, and Negro. The picture portrays that the
individual is judged by who they are on the outside rather than who they are as a person. Allport
states his example by informing a certain individual being a human, a philanthropist, a Chinese, a
physician, or an athlete. He says those nouns just described many be a given person, but
Chinese stands out being the symbol of potency (Allport). For example, labeling in a real life
situation is very common in education, in every science class, we can admit we would try to
secretly fight for that one Asian kid in our class - only to be upset that the Asian kid is just as lost
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as you are in lab. Another example is how so many people label an Asian as a tech-savvy genius.
The majority of technologies are developed in South Asia, so people believe that because it is
developed in Asia that any Asian can solve their tech woes. In most tech based stores such as
Apple, Windows, or Best Buy, Asians are the minorities employed in the corporation. Majority
of the tech geeks who fix many of our devices that fail on us are non-Asian technicians.
In addition, Asians are labeled to be bad drivers or they all look-a-like. There are many
documentaries of foreign travelers that travel to Asia. Experiencing the cultural differences,
many of these travelers will pick up things that terrified them or possible irritated them, and over
exaggerate the situations. In many overpopulated cities in the United States, like Los Angeles,
there is always heavy traffic. In Asia, many of its cities are just as overpopulated as the major
cities in the United States. Traffic is a daily problem in Asia. There are no lanes when people
will squeeze their cars in places where you would not believe your car would not fit. People who
are new to such new forms of driving tend to over exaggerate on how others do things differently.
Another form of stereotyping is through sexual relationships. This issue mainly effects
the young adult men in this case. There are four reasons to why Asian men have trouble trying to
date the women they want, but because of the way the popular media portrays them to be people
are to see Asian men differently causing these young men to have complications on their love
life. One, Asians are seen to be nerds or video gamers. They are mainly judged by how they
dress and present themselves that cause this stereotype. But, that does not mean because they
dress like nerds or video gamers that they really are. Two, because Asian men are to be
labeled to be nerds or video gamers they are seen to be opposite from confident, introverted and
shy. Yes, they are introverted and shy, but who is not when they see a pretty lady walk into the
room. Three, they are not seen to be sexy compared to the Old Spice models or the Abercrombie
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models on a shopping bag. Most depictions of Asian males in the popular media is not really
considered sexy. Throughout all movies, Asians are never the hero, they never get the girl, and
Asian male celebrities are not really known as womanizers. Women find the one man who can
be their savior is the man they want to be with, and Asians are never seen that way throughout
popular media. Lastly, Asian men are stereotyped to be small downstairs. Asian men have
always been made fun of about their size. The fact of the matter is that our body parts are all
proportionate to the size of our body. If youre a big guy your body parts will correspond to the
right proportional size, and if you were a small guy your body will correspond to its right
proportional size. (Bonsai). Such labels are invalid and misleading throughout popular media
causing a lot of young Asian males to become insecure of themselves and causing them
unhealthy relationships.
The stereotypes towards Asian American have psychological, emotional, and social costs.
Costs such as studying harder and longer, foregoing social life, enduring loneliness and
alienation, and experiencing extreme depression and stress. These problems go largely
unrecognized they receive little to no support to cope with their problems. Many would say to
get over it, suck it up, or grow up (Zhang). Asians, just like any other ethnic culture, are expected
to be successful in all categories, but the stereotypes that Asians face add more expectations from
others causing major psychological problems in their life. Grace Hsiang, wrote an essay,
FOBs vs. Twinkies: The New Discrimination Is Interracial. Her essays main focus was
on how every decision you make will affect your relationship from others and from your family.
In her essay she states that second generation Asians, Asian Americans, often ace pressure from
their parents to rather cling on to their parents ideology or rebel against it and try to be
American (Hsiang). From past experience, the emotional to psychological issues took a toll
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that was unbearable. Because Asians face negative stereotyping, they try to their best ability to
change their personality to fit in with the American culture.
In addition, sometimes one tries to fit in with a group that it can affect their relationship
inside their culture. During most of my high school life, I thought I found myself. I was ranked
top fifty in my class, but I was not happy. I only made the people who expected me to be the
smart child happy. I had ignored all my mental breakdowns because I could not let the people
who had high expectations of me down. It was just unacceptable. My breaking point was my
senior year when I had lost myself; not knowing what I wanted to do after, and not telling my
parents that I had purposely missed the UC and Cal State application deadlines. Not telling them
that I missed my first SATs - doing all that because I did not know if I was doing it for myself or
for others satisfaction. The decisions that were made led me to have low self-esteem and
confidence on my ability to work to my highest potential. During our last playoff game in our
high school career, as a captain for four years I had given my last motivational speech to the
teammates that I will forever call family, and the one thing that stood out from that speech ended
up turning the tables for me was, You have the decision to control your life or let others control
it for you that is your choice to make. The emotional and psychological effects from the
constant stereotyping from the popular media to the public, causes relationship problems for that
individual. The individual may develop low self-esteem problems about their ability to obtain
any relationship, whether it would be friendship or love. Some may end up finding themselves
through their dark times, but others may not.
As a global culture, we live in a world where stereotyping is in our own thoughts it is a
part of our lives. We are constantly labeling one another, and each stereotype we hold against
someone will affect that individuals life. The world has and always will have good and bad
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expectations on every race. We are constantly raising the bar unrealistically higher than expected
for others and for ourselves that will later on down the road affect us psychologically. There are
always going to be racial labels that the world expects us to live by. Yet, we let these stereotypes
affect us, but we have the decision to control our lives or let the stereotyping control us, that
choice is yours.

Work Cited
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Allport, Gordon. Language of Prejudice. Language Awareness Readings for College Writers.
Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, and Virginia Clark. 10
ed. Boston: Bedford/St.
Martins, 2009. 263-272. Print
Bonsai, Thanh. 5 Asian Male Stereotypes Preventing You From Dating Beautiful Women.
Amped Asia. 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 2 July. 2014.
Hsiang, Grace. FOBs vs. Twinkies: The New Disrimination Is Intraracial Language
Awareness Readings for College Writers. Ed. Paul Eschholz, Alfred Rosa, Virginia Clark.
ed. Boston: Bedfors/St. Martins, 2009. 306-308. Print.
Model Minority Stereotype for Asian Americans. The University of Texas at Austin. N.d. Web.
29 June. 2014.
Nittle, Nadra Kareem. Five Common Asian-American Stereotypes in TV and Film. About. N.d.
Web. 29 June. 2014
Trytten, Deborah, Anna Wong Lowe, and Susan E. Walden. Asians are Good at Math. What
an Awful Stereotype: The Model Minority Stereotypes Impact on Asian American
Engineering Students. Wiley-Blackwell. 2012. Web. 23 June. 2014.
Zhang, Qin. Perceptions of Asian American Students: Stereotypes and Effects. National
Communication Association. Apr. 2010. Web. 2 July. 2014.