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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'As A Woman,' I Don't Need To Fit Your Preconceived Political Assumptions About Women

I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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It is quite possible to say that the United States has never seen such a time of divisiveness, partisanship, and extreme animosity of those on different sides of the political spectrum. Social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are saturated with posts of political opinions and are matched with comments that express not only disagreement but too often, words of hatred. Many who cannot understand others' political beliefs rarely even respect them.

As a female, Republican, college student, I feel I receive the most confusion from others regarding my political opinions. Whenever I post or write something supporting a conservative or expressing my right-leaning beliefs and I see a comment has been left, I almost always know what words their comment will begin with. Or in conversation, if I make my beliefs known and someone begins to respond, I can practically hear the words before they leave their mouth.

"As a woman…"

This initial phrase is often followed by a question, generally surrounding how I could publicly support a Republican candidate or maintain conservative beliefs. "As a woman, how can you support Donald Trump?" or "As a woman, how can you support pro-life policies?" and, my personal favorite, "As a woman, how did you not want Hillary for president?"

Although I understand their sentiment, I cannot respect it. Yes, being a woman is a part of who I am, but it in no way determines who I am. My sex has not and will not adjudicate my goals, my passions, or my work. It will not influence the way in which I think or the way in which I express those thoughts. Further, your mention of my sex as the primary logic for condemning such expressions will not change my adherence to defending what I share. Nor should it.

To conduct your questioning of my politics by inferring that my sex should influence my ideology is not only offensive, it's sexist.

It disregards my other qualifications and renders them worthless. It disregards my work as a student of political science. It disregards my hours of research dedicated to writing about politics. It disregards my creativity as an author and my knowledge of the subjects I choose to discuss. It disregards the fundamental human right I possess to form my own opinion and my Constitutional right to express that opinion freely with others. And most notably, it disregards that I am an individual. An individual capable of forming my own opinions and being brave enough to share those with the world at the risk of receiving backlash and criticism. All I ask is for respect of that bravery and respect for my qualifications.

Words are powerful. They can be used to inspire, unite, and revolutionize. Yet, they can be abused, and too comfortably are. Opening a dialogue of political debate by confining me to my gender restricts the productivity of that debate from the start. Those simple but potent words overlook my identity and label me as a stereotype destined to fit into a mold. They indicate that in our debate, you cannot look past my sex. That you will not be receptive to what I have to say if it doesn't fit into what I should be saying, "as a woman."

That is the issue with politics today. The media and our politicians, those who are meant to encourage and protect democracy, divide us into these stereotypes. We are too often told that because we are female, because we are young adults, because we are a minority, because we are middle-aged males without college degrees, that we are meant to vote and to feel one way, and any other way is misguided. Before a conversation has begun, we are divided against our will. Too many of us fail to inform ourselves of the issues and construct opinions that are entirely our own, unencumbered by what the mainstream tells us we are meant to believe.

We, as a people, have become limited to these classifications. Are we not more than a demographic?

As a student of political science, seeking to enter a workforce dominated by men, yes, I am a woman, but foremost I am a scholar, I am a leader, and I am autonomous. I refuse to be categorized and I refuse to be defined by others. Yes, I am a woman, but I am so much more.

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If You Have 20/20 Vision, You Can’t See These 10 Annoying Problems Anyone Who Wears Glasses Can

Forget plastic surgery. I want lasik eye surgery.

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Being "blind" is not fun, and it's not for everyone. I started wearing glasses in the 3rd grade and I tried everything to avoid getting them. That whole "carrots are good for your eyes" thing is totally a lie! I ate so many carrots thinking it was going to help but it did nothing. Having glasses is super annoying and I'm about to tell you why...

1. They get dirty so fast.

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Honestly I feel like I'm always cleaning them.

2. People always want to try them on.

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Then, even worse, they hit you with the, "Wow, you really can't see". Uhhh no Susan I can't.

3. You can't lay down in them.

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Whenever you lay on your side, your glasses do the thing.

4. Once you put them down, you can't find them.

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If I'm wearing contacts and I'm doing my makeup, I'll throw my glasses on my bed and then have to feel around for them.

5.  You can't wear cute sunglasses.

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Double glasses is a major no.

6. You can't see what you look like when you're picking out new ones.

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Reasons my glasses have not always been the cutest.

7. You miss spots when you shave.

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The struggle is real when you're trying to shave and you can't even see two inches in front of you.

8. Swimming...

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Either you swim blind or you swim with the risk of breaking and/or losing your glasses

9. Getting asked why you don't wear contacts.

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Because I work at 3 and 4 a.m. or I have class at 8 a.m. Contacts are for special events because I'm lazy.

10. The eye doctors.

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Okay, so the eye doctor actually isn't bad, but you have to go over every time you start to squint your eyes, which for me is every 6 months.

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