Asian and Stereotyped | Teen Ink

Asian and Stereotyped

January 8, 2009
By PK4evr ELITE, Allen, Texas
PK4evr ELITE, Allen, Texas
105 articles 5 photos 107 comments

Favorite Quote:
When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, then watch everyone wonder how you did it!

I think that stereotypes don’t make sense and they’re just plain stupid. You want to know why? I’m going to tell you why.

I’m going to say one word, and tell me what you think of as soon as I say it.


Most of you people out there (especially if you’re not Asian) immediately think smart and stingy… correct? Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’m telling you it’s an absolute stereotype- you people like me out there, you understand that this is so difficult, don’t you? I especially hate the smart part- it’s true that most Asians are book-smart, and very much show. But that doesn’t mean that all Asians are book-smart. It’s like saying that everyone born on Earth will one day know how to read and write. But that’s not true, and neither is the myth that all Asians are book-smart.

Ever since my family moved to the United States, it’s always been, “Nat, I don’t understand this. Help me. Nat, I need help with fractions. Nat, I forgot how to set up proportions. Nat, I can’t find the answer in this passage. Read it for me. Nat, read this book, I don’t understand it. Tell me the answer!” Who is this kid saying these things to me?

My little brother, my flesh and blood brother. For one thing, we don’t look alike- I am pale enough to pass for Asian-American, while he is dark skinned and well-tanned from his hours of outdoor basketball. He’s just as Asian as I am, but he will never be book-smart or in an advanced academics course, because he is not the typical Asian, and that is OKAY.

My parents accept this about him. I accept this about him. It’s a fact that can’t be denied. My entire family accepts this and knows that it’s not going to change. What I really hate is that everyone expects Asians to excel in school, because not all of them have the ability to, and that is FINE.

I truthfully can’t imagine my brother as book-smart. If he wasn’t street-smart, we would be dead meat, especially me. He is our human GPS- almost literally. If he goes to a place a few times, he knows how to get back there. He knows all the intersections, where all the stores are located, how to get to everyone’s house because he is a different kind of smart. Me? Couldn’t do it to save my life.

See, he pays attention to things outside of himself, while I’m stuck in books and rely on them. And in some ways, I even envy him.

However, he is the only Asian in his whole middle school on the basketball team, and I am proud of him for that. I am so non-athletic that isn’t even funny- after all, it takes skill to trip over flat surfaces like I do (and have), resulting in spraining my ankle twice while running. Most Asians don’t play basketball- and while my brother is around the average Asian height (and catching up to me, which I’m getting annoyed about), he makes up for it by being the most valuable player you can get- left-handed, fast, speedy. Unlike most Asians, he plays basketball and is actually good at it, even excels in it. People are meant to be different, and different he is.

The human race was created to be unique. Every race is unique as well. Not all of us have squinty eyes, are book-smart, and non-athletic, but that’s okay. We were created equally. No one has the right to judge other human beings- so please don’t judge us Asians.

This is the reason I hate stereotypes.

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This article has 9 comments.

on Aug. 15 2011 at 1:10 am
Hi -- I'm a high school English teacher in CA. I just found your essay online and would like to use 3 paragraphs of it in a PowerPoint about essay writing. I'll credit your screen name and link to the full essay if you'd like. Don't worry, it's a positive use... I liked your essay! Please let me know if that's OK. Thanks.

Mcdull said...
on May. 5 2010 at 2:39 am
I can not help but be so sorry about your unilateralism.

on Apr. 17 2010 at 9:08 am
Sobriquet BRONZE, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
1 article 2 photos 9 comments
You make it seem like Asians can't do sports. Otherwise, this is an amazing article and, as a fellow Asian, I enjoyed reading it :]

tigerlily said...
on Mar. 21 2010 at 9:25 am
honesty i hate stereotypes but the ultimate test is to go up to another asian girl and if the stereotype says u look alike they pass. i'm adopted i would know, my sister and i are always being called twins it really bugs me. we look nothing alike were just both asian

on Feb. 24 2010 at 8:20 am
ReflectionsofYou GOLD, Mason, Tennessee
10 articles 0 photos 107 comments
Honestly, when you said "Asians" the first thing I thought of was a character in one of the first full length novels I read... And yes she was very academic, and had alot of common sense, but of course I know it's not because she was asian. So that should give you a little hope, right? I look at people and all I think is "American", If I even think at all. I can't even tell between races most of the time.... Anyway, good job

on Apr. 28 2009 at 2:54 am
Jadekateye SILVER, Roanoke, Virginia
5 articles 0 photos 4 comments
I think we could say the same for every race. There is something that each race seems to have the upper hand at different things, but we were all created equally.

muhshel.:] said...
on Apr. 25 2009 at 3:06 am
muhshel.:], Odessa, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
Totally and completely agree. :] Couldn't have said it better myself.

on Feb. 27 2009 at 11:40 pm
skywriter11 GOLD, Glenmont, New York
16 articles 1 photo 18 comments
Nice. I don't think there are many people who like stereotypes. I'm Jewish, and some of my friends are the most generous people I've ever met. I hate the stereotypes and the racist jokes.

As for the Asian book-smart stereotype-I have a lot of friends who are Asian, and yes, a lot of them are extremely smart, but there are different things I remember about them. V is the best makeup artist ever. Bo is the best person to talk to on the bus ride home. Jason is hilarious and Justin makes great movies. Everyone is different.

milk said...
on Jan. 17 2009 at 8:24 am
So, you are more Asian than your brother!?