Culture Stories

One and the Same

I recently stumbled upon an online “Time” article titled “The Real Problem When It Comes to Diversity and Asian-Americans”, with the terms “diversity” and “Asian American” immediately grabbing my attention. The writer, Jack Linshi, presents the observation that Asian Americans are excluded from the concept of diversity in America due to overarching stereotypes and the visible success they’ve achieved since the influx of Asian American immigrants in the 1960s. I’m sure anyone who is Asian, more specifically East Asian, has fallen victim to the preconceived assumptions or generalizations that we are good at school, super obedient, eat weird foods, want to become doctors or engineers and all look the same. I know I speak for the majority when I say that it is often very frustrating and difficult to try and break this glass ceiling. The pressing issue is that because there are so many of us and are presented as “one and the same”, we are seen as a hindrance to diversity, with society seeing us as not providing anything new or beneficial in developing a diverse environment. 

One example Linshi provided especially resonated with me, which was that many Asian American students were not checking off the “Asian” box on college applications, in attempts to bypass the unspoken quotas at popular colleges. It is sad for me to think that in order to stand out, I have to try and sever my roots and cultural identity as it provides more difficulties than opportunities. Though I do find it interesting that this is an actual issue in America, whereas back home in Asia, there is no need to stand out physically because it is almost impossible to do so and there is no judgement towards being Asian. Does this mean I should dye my hair blonde, get double eye-lid surgery, or purposely do really poorly in school or take up film to not seem like the “typical Asian”? No! As hard as it may be to be recognized as an individual in the sea of black hair and yellow skin, I personally have enough pride in my heritage and culture to stay true to who I am and not cover up or deny my race. Because girl, if you got it, flaunt it *snaps fingers in a Z formation*

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