Why Do All Asians Hang Out Together?

Why Do All Asians Hang Out Together?

We don't.
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Throughout my life, I have had countless people ask me the question: “Why do all Asians hang out together?” or “Why do Asians only hang out with other Asians?” This has become a common stereotype across high school and college campuses – a stereotype that Asians are exclusive and only choose to hang out with others of their own race. Popular movies and TV shows have not helped this stereotype, like the movie Mean Girls, where a certain scene described the “Cool Asians” and the “Asian Nerds” as different cliques present in a high school cafeteria. The cliques that were depicted in this scene ranged from “sexually-active band geeks” to “varsity jocks” to “unfriendly Black hotties”. The issue here was that every clique that was composed of White people was described by something other than the race of the people, while the only three cliques with people of color were named solely after their race. Why is it that the all-White table of varsity jocks wasn’t called the “White varsity jocks”? How about the table of White girls eating hamburgers? Why weren’t they called the “White girls who ate their feelings”? This Mean Girls scene is, unfortunately, a solid depiction of the classification of minority groups in our country. Minorities in the United States are usually classified by their race before all else, especially on high school and college campuses. A group of Asians sitting at a table in the dining hall is no different than a group of White people sitting at a table, except for the fact that Asians are stereotyped for it. This creates a double standard against Asians and other minorities – a group of Asians is seen as exclusive, while a group of White people seems normal. Next time you want to ask an Asian person why they only hang out with other Asians, maybe you should first ask yourself how diverse your own friend group is.

Even though you have seen how problematic this question is, you still want to know the answer. Why do all Asians hang out together?

First of all, we don’t. I can’t think of any Asian person who only has Asian friends. You may see a group of Asian people sitting together, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have non-Asian friends. Let’s repeat this.

Just because an Asian person has some Asian friends, doesn’t mean all of their friends are Asian.

Also, spending time with people of the same race is not a crime. A lot of times, people of the same race share similar experiences, and we can empathize with the struggles we all encounter as people of color in this country. My Asian friends are the only ones who understand the struggle of having such a small representation in popular media, and how Asian advocacy is never taken seriously in our society. We all share the burden of media-created Asian stereotypes, which have repercussions that the rest of the world is blind to. We also have similar family lives. Almost all Asians share the experience of having a “tiger mom”. If you had an Asian mother, you would understand what kind of a bond this forms between Asians. Asian parents place a lot of emphasis on education, so tiger moms are a force to be reckoned with.

As Asians, we all come from a very rich cultural background, and it feels great to spend time with other people who have the same cultural identity. I love being able to talk about chicken adobo, Tinikling, and jeepneys with other Filipinos, because they are the only other people who will understand that aspect of my life. What’s so wrong with spending time with other people who share the same culture? Not to mention how fun it is to have a shared language with your friends. If I’m in public with one of my Filipino friends, I can say, “Kailangan kong umihi” and no one else will know what I’m saying.

So, yes. I have Asian friends. I have Asian friends for a reason, too. However, I don’t only hang out with other Asians.

Next time you want to ask an Asian person why they only hang out with other Asians, don’t.

Cover Image Credit: zap2it

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

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The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.

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