Alec: Asians and Asian American people are constantly being victimized and our society isn’t realizing it. Personally, I believe too little attention is given to their culture when it comes to racist acts against them. We see it every day and never think twice about it. Even at Ball State University, students in high power positions are stereotyping and putting down the Asian culture. I whole-heartedly agree that these acts of persecution have clearly developed into a huge problem and need to be fixed. I am a firm believer in gaining a positive image of the Asian culture and putting it out there for the world to see. As an executive board member for the Asian American Student Association here at Ball State, we need to begin to educate individuals about Asia and clarify any stereotypical images. Explaining how this culture is different from our own and learning to respect people and societies differing from our own.
I think we can agree that this is a problem, even here within our Ball State community. Our Student Government President, Malachi Randolph, resigned due to controversial tweets he posted about his Chinese boss. Those tweets are deleted, but can still be viewed at the Ball State’s Daily News. Here at Ball State we have a very diverse population of students. We get a lot of exchange students, specifically from China. Malachi mentioned how they were acting like stereotypical Chinese and had that “America’s way is the best way” attitude. At a college like Ball State we should be able to realize the differences within a variety of cultures and be accepting of new things. We don’t necessarily need to practice their cultural traditions, but lets try to be aware of what’s going on around us. Malachi Randolph’s racist tweets should be an example for people to be more aware of what they are saying online and realize the effects of their words.
Laura: I absolutely agree with Alec on this issue of Asian American oppression. The tweets from Malachi Randolph are a clear representation of the remaining struggle of Asian American oppression within our society. The sad part about stereotyping Asian Americans as being “too smart for their own good” is an actual misunderstanding of their cultural traditions. Within the Asian culture, education there is a part of family life and child rearing. A child’s parents will often sacrifice time, money, and/or their careers just to raise them with an exceptional education. This is much unlike the Caucasian American culture, where children are often left to a nanny or babysitter while parents are off at work or with friends. Sometimes Caucasian Americans don’t even pay for their child’s education. An Asian family will pay to put their children through college and give them the proper education to allow their children to reach their career goals and ambitions. This push for education is the main reason most Asian students come to America to attend college; there are more available opportunities. However, these opportunities haven’t always been available.
In previous years universities could limit the number of Asian American students they accepted each year. Asian Americans had already fought for their right, during WWII when people of Japanese decent were forced to either join interment camps or fight along Americans, to a seat on any university’s campus. Soon an act was passed that allowed any amount of Asian Americans on any university’s campus. In the years 1968 and 1969 students were striking at San Francisco State University, as well as, U.C. Berkeley for their educational rights. This strike established the first Asian American Studies Programs in the country. Unfortunately, this mile marker does not change the fact that Asian American’s are still viewed as a “model minority” and face discrimination everyday.
Alec: It’s weird that even viewed as the “model minority” they would face so much discrimination. Today there are so many issues with Asians being accepted into Ivy League universities. Asian Americans work hard during their high school careers, are more than qualified to be accepted into these “top-notch” Ivy League universities and are still being denied any acceptance simply because of their race. Students who apply for college are under the impression that colleges such as Harvard and Princeton are discriminating them. From their findings there is an over population of Asian Americans in their schools. So even though students are applying, even being at the top of their classes, they are not being accepted into these universities. These students input that they must prove themselves more worthy over other students with varying racial backgrounds to even be considered for the university. Maybe it’s that automatic assumption that schoolwork, high school and all other aspects of education are easy for them given their Asian heritage. These students work just as hard or harder to get into the Ivy League schools.
Ivy League schools may be stereotyping the Asian students, but fellow students, co-workers, family members and pop culture can not deny the fact that they are guilty of the very act they’re against. Just recently I heard one of my relatives talk about an Asian man, they spoke at a hotel where they were staying for an occasion. My relative didn’t address this man as an Asian but a ‘China Man’. Upon hearing words such as “China Man” in a conversation, the Caucasian Americans might not think much about their words, but we are assuming that these people are Chinese and disregarding the fact that there are at least more than five different Asian cultures. I’ve also noticed that when we see an Asian person, whom we are meeting, we always have to ask where they are from. Some could be born in America, but we still ask the question “where are you really from” not actually elaborating on their ethnic background. People want to label them as “Non-Americans” simply because of their Asian related physical features, but it all boils down to what kind of Asian are you? Labeling someone by how they look and assuming only certain aspects of Asian culture they could be into is offensive to anyone. The video previously linked, “what kind of Asian are you?” depicts how we don’t think before we speak to someone from a differing ethnic background. Everyday people are just as bad as the academic system and are not even realizing what they are doing wrong.
Laura: Following these lines of discrimination, Asian American’s have fought for educational rights and deserve to strive for their very best whether it is in the United States or Asia. The National Asian American Educational Foundation was founded in 8020 by S.B. Woo; filing an amicus brief and supporting race-neutrality in the admissions of schools. For many years University’s have had the limitations on how many international students they were allotted to admit each year. These numbers ran very low and most universities were mostly white American population. It’s been shown that most Asian American’s actually have to score as many as sixteen hundred more points on their SAT’s just to be admitted to Ivy League universities. This made the struggle for an education that much harder for the Asian American culture to gain. In the New York Times Opinion Pages the author states, “the 14th Amendment on equal protection is just being trampled.”
Alec: It is crazy that we see them having to prove more to get the education they want and deserve. Seeing the statistics Laura provided us is startling and makes us think “maybe we do have it easier.” Working hard to pass SATs, get the grades you need to be accepted into a university and getting the best education seems a lot easier for someone like me seeing these facts. If I was in the shoes of an Asian -American, I had the scores that would allow a student with any other background into their school but not me, I would stand up and fight for my belonging in that school. I consider myself lucky that I was never put into a position like that.
Laura: While we’re talking about stereotypes, a certain performance comes to mind. Katy Perry’s recent performance during the AMA’s, which she dressed in a traditional kimono to “honor” the Japanese culture, but never actually performing any Japanese traditions arts along with the dressing of the kimono. Normally this type of Japanese clothing is worn to special formal events like weddings. Her actions brought up many questions within the media, mainly about her performance being deemed racist and careless to the traditions of the Japanese culture. Unfortunately, it’s our society today that looks upon a performance, such as this one, and is so quick to judge that it was a racist statement. When you live in a world that is centered on fame addicted stars the thought that a racist action could be taken for fame or a name in the media is not as uncommon as we’d hope.
Alec: It’s funny how people are having this debate on how Katy Perry’s performance could be racist or not when American’s are being just as judgmental against Asian Americans. Let us go back to the Miss America pageant; controversy arose because of an Indian-AMERICAN woman being crowned. She was born and raised in New York, but our society won’t claim her as an American citizen? Seriously! Everyday people rush to Twitter only to complain about how she shouldn’t win because of her Indian decent. Everyone wants to pull the racist card on Katy Perry’s performance, but these people also go and post racist comments about an American born, deserving, Miss America contestant. Some people go as far as saying “did we forget about 9/11?” Last time I checked, the September eleventh terrorist attack was plotted by a group of terrorists from Afghanistan and not India. I know this made a National spectacle of our mistreatment of the Islamic people when it happened years ago, but not everyone from that country is responsible for the attacks on the U.S. So why does it correlate at all with an Indian-American woman winning the pageant? I see absolutely no relation.
People get upset because Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, didn’t look like a traditional American woman. Many people were rooting for Theresa Vail of Kansas because she had the American look and traditional American beliefs. Society is turning Miss Davuluri’s news-breaking accomplishment of winning the Miss America crown into a huge controversy scam for no reason. I recall learning in grade school about the “normal-everyday” family, but lets face it, that doesn’t exist. Families come in different sizes, shapes, colors and whatever else and not everyone has the same beliefs and traditions as we do here in America. I see the U.S. as a country made up of diversity. I mean it did begin as a settlement of immigrants on Native Indian land. If we trace our family lineage, we are not all direct decedents of an American culture, I mean it is the “melting-pot” after all. So who established these beliefs and labeled them American? I am sure Ms. Davuluri’s family shares the same traditions as some of our U.S. “American” citizens or even other people who represent the Indian Americans who call America their home now. Their background and culture have certainly adopted an Americanized vision.
I think another topic of discussion is Gwen Stefani back in the early 2000s. How she promoted her album with a group of young, no-name, Japanese girls, who came to be known as the Harajuku Girls. Katy Perry is being criticized for a ‘racist’ performance, but did Gwen ever receive any flack on her Harajuku Girls? When looking for any type of controversy, barely anything was brought up about Gwen’s group of Asians. The only article that stands out to me is when Margaret Cho, a famous Asian American comedian, did comment on Gwen Stefani and that it was indeed racist. The people of 2005 didn’t seem to think much of an issue such as this exploitation of an Asian culture to sell music. If Gwen, or possibly another artist, were to pull this stunt today it would automatically be bashed and receive media attention from enthusiasts deeming it racist. Maybe “we” as a country are not educated well enough to realize what is right and what is wrong. Why not have thought, “Hey these Harajuku girls are doing this willingly, not by force, maybe it’s ok?” America’s opinions on Asian culture seem to be warped and can’t decide if they want to defend their heritage and culture or bash it like the many people tweeting about our Miss America 2014.
Laura: Knowing that the Asian culture has fought so hard for so long, it is difficult to comprehend that they have only overcome so little obstacles and that the issue of discrimination and plain ignorance still corrupts society today. In spite of all of this revulsion, Asian American’s work hard to gain a well desired, fulfilling lifestyle. In a recent census for the year 2012, Asian American’s overcame the living standards of Hispanic origins within the United States. Moving up on the charts! This builds my confidence for the future of the Asian American culture and their skirmish in society. I am optimistic that one day their culture will be well respected.
Alec: Taking this all in, I think we only see the negative controversies of what Asians / Asian Americans have to endure. We don’t pay attention enough to make people aware of what they are thinking and saying. More importantly we need to put an end to some of these petty ‘controversial’ topics; this is why we are educated on differing cultures throughout school and college, working different places, traveling and more you can see that no two people are alike and have a different sense on how to live their lives. We are seeing homosexuals and African Americans in a much brighter light now, than ever before. This gives me hope that progress will be made for the Asian culture. Hopefully we will no longer view the culture so differently, but as something that makes up our community, our society. America is a diverse country and that won’t change. Let us all accept this fact and look at what is similar. I believe this is a needed step, to stop looking at various cultures as “different” people in our society and it is a step we need to all consider taking.