I Hate Being Called A "Smart Asian"

I Hate Being Called A "Smart Asian"

With this ‘positive' discrimination created by society, I’m not allowed to do poorly on an exam without questioning my very identity and whether or not I deserve to even be my own race.
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“I wish I was Asian, you guys are so good at everything.”

“It’s not even a surprise that you got an A, you’re Asian.”

“Why did you get a bad grade, aren’t you Asian?”

These are the things I grew up hearing as I continued on from grade school all the way to university. Asian, Asian, Asian. That was the only identity I knew for the majority of my life. It is the word that many others use to define me and an explanation for the way I am or who I am. I didn’t know how to see myself other than “that smart Asian girl.” Don’t get me wrong, I love who I am; what really frustrates me is the perpetuation of stereotypes upon me.

I remember in my senior year when I took a Sociology class, the topic of a 'positive stereotype' came up in class. Stereotypes are generally seen in a negative light because they give an oversimplified image for a specific group of people, but my professor’s argument was that not all stereotypes are necessarily bad. “There can be good stereotypes. Let me give you an example,” he continued, “Asians are smart.”

Hearing that as a young, insecure seventeen-year-old girl, I automatically brightened. At that time, I felt one of the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life. College applications were due soon, the stress of finding and applying for scholarships, working 25 hours per week, and on top of that I had my classes which I regretfully did not prioritize. So if I was feeling low and if people could see me as smart and talented just from who I was born as, didn’t I want that? I embraced the idea of a positive stereotype and took it in stride. It wasn’t until only recently that I realized how problematic this view on us is, and its potentially detrimental effects as well as the perpetuation of the 'Model Minority.'

By labeling the stereotype that all Asians are smart as a ‘positive stereotype,’ we as a society are ignoring its effects on the intended audience. On the subsurface, it comes off as a compliment and something that we as Asians should take well. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be considered smart, right? Wrong. By encouraging these ideals, there is opportunity to invalidate the achievements people have garnered. When I got a good grade on a paper, a test, or passed the year with a 4.0 GPA, to other people it wasn’t because I worked myself nearly to death and pulled all-nighters to study for exams, it was because I’m Asian and nothing less than that is expected from me.

Not only does it invalidate my success as a student or as an individual, but it continues to make me feel like I’m not enough as a person. I’ll be the first to say that I’m definitely not a perfect person. I make mistakes, I’ve failed on several things, and I haven’t gotten an ‘A’ in every single course I’ve taken. I remember once in class someone asked me what grade I got on my Pre-calculus test and I told them it was a ‘C.’ Rather than asking why, or sympathizing, or even anything else, they said, “You got a C? Are you even Asian?” With this "positive" discrimination created by society, I’m not allowed to do poorly on an exam without questioning my very identity and whether or not I deserve to even be my own race. And though these problems of imposing the idea of a positive discrimination are important to discuss, it exposes the even deeper issues of why this was invented in the first place.

We all know what the ‘model minority’ is. It is a group of minority people who are perceived to achieve higher success than the average person. And who is the poster child for it? Asians. With this idea of a model minority, it instigates a deeper divide of trying to address the issue of racism. By society saying Asians are achieving success at a higher rate than other minorities because we work harder than others or our values are in the right place, it creates an automatic contrast that says black people or other people of color are not able to achieve this level of advancement simply because “they’re not working hard enough,” therefore implicitly placing the blame of their ostracization in society on themselves rather than actually admitting that we, as a whole, are a racist society. It was a mechanism created in an attempt to cause a split between people of color, making them go against each other, instead of actually tackling the complications of racism.

So next time you see a talented person who happens to be of Asian descent, don’t make some off-hand joke about them only being able to do it “because they’re Asian” or if they fail at something, they definitely can’t be Asian because Asians are good at everything. Because by doing this, you would be contributing to the enemies, both literally and figuratively, that people of color already face and inhibit our ability to be seen fully without judgement.

Cover Image Credit: The State

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37 Things Growing Up in the South Taught You

Where the tea is sweet, but the people are sweeter.
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1. The art of small talking.
2. The importance of calling your momma.
3. The beauty of sweet tea.
4. How to use the term “ma'am” or “sir” (that is, use it as much as possible).
5. Real flowers are way better than fake flowers.
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7. Fried chicken is the best kind of chicken.
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14. If a man won’t meet your family after four dates, dump him.
15. If your family doesn’t like your boyfriend, dump him.
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17. But you should always make sure you can support your family.
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20. Just 'cause you are from Florida and it is in the south does not make you Southern.
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24. Makeup doesn’t work in the summer.
25. Laying out is a hobby.
26. Moms get more into high school drama than high schoolers.
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28. You never know how many adults you know 'til its time to get recommendation letters for rush.
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31. People will refer to you by your last name.
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Cover Image Credit: Grace Valentine

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Space Force Or Space Ploy?

What if the the announcement to create a sixth branch of the US Military is a powerful ploy.

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The US President Trump announced recently his decision to create a sixth branch of the military and hinted at calling it "…Space Force…" adding that "...it is vital that our military maintains its dominance and competitive advantage in that domain..." Ultimately the president's order on Monday seemingly mandates the Pentagon to begin drawing up plans for this new branch, though a Congressional vote is required to make it official. "Establishing a service branch requires congressional action…" as noted by Rep. Michael R. Turner who chairs for the House of armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

Let us not forget back in 2007, China demonstrated their Anti-Satellite (ASAT) system by destroying one of their own aging weather satellites. The United States could not ignore the implications and realization of it’s space assets vulnerabilities.It is arguable that with China’s established space program Strategic Support Force (SSF) in 2015, tasked with space and cyber operations could be a major cause to this shift in the United States. But, let us not also forget that in 2015, the U.S. Congress passed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, which allows United States citizens to own space and asteroid resources as private property. What happens if these legally purchased and or owned sections of space are threatened? There must be a governing body to protect these interstellar investments.

But, is this recent and boastful act but the president a clever economical ploy from a noted clever business man? While the world is in estranged toil, China arming up and buying up natural resources like there is no tomorrow and angry over recent declaration of new sanctions; Russia is in a Cold War with the USA, again; The Middle East still isn't really all that fixed, who would have guessed that; and North Korean still at a standstill though things seem to be leaning towards the positive. Could this not be a cleaver ploy to divert the world's attention? Perhaps postponing a all out conflict, in traditional since. In creating a sixth branch of the military and pushing it forward in full swing it's not hard to believe that the rest of the world's major players would fall-suite right quick.

In doing so it would create a massive space race, the likes of which no one has ever seen. Who will control the space around our planet! This recent announcement may very well send the world into a different kind of war. As countries begin to pool their warfare resources towards their space programs and defense. Depleting their resources and man power, ultimately straining their economies, diverting them from possible trade war or open war here on the ground. But who knows. Arguments and turmoil over what exactly the Space Force is expected to do are likely going to be part of political debate for decades to come. All we know for sure is that even though President Donald Trump says he is creating a sixth branch of the military he needs congress to vote it in. Only time will tell as we move forward in the coming months.

Cover Image Credit: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JqshWc3vcPg

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