As in, the two Asian stereotypes that I seem to come across most often and therefore, the two that piss me off the most. I bring this up now because tonight was another one of those nights when my parents proceeded to pigeonhole themselves and their peers into Asian stereotypes, I proceeded to explain to them why that’s not okay, and my father mocks me as I speak. Only tonight is a week or two after the famous Jeremy Lin headline on ESPN Mobile: “Chink in the Armor.”
I sent a letter to ESPN media relations, the editor-in-chief, some people at SportsCenter, and the writer of the apology. If you have some free time, it’s here.
My father is the one who encouraged and pushed me to send the complaint, as it was a dated ethnic slur that was beyond inappropriate. Which is why it disappoints me that so soon after – let alone at all – he laughs at comments made both by an Asian woman, and subsequently by a white man, on FM 94.9 this morning on the topic of dating Asian women.
So in honor of my feistiness that gets me in a lot of trouble and stressful situations for being vocally outraged when so few others are, here are the top two Asian stereotypes that piss me off the most:
1. “Maybe he has an Asian fetish.”
In eighth grade, my friend would tell me that my crush wouldn’t date me because I’m Asian, and that he’d go out with a white girl instead. Now that we’re older, people can’t be quite so blunt. So they say this instead.
Listen, I’m not the equivalent to licking feet. Nor is simply thinking I’m attractive the equivalent to being handcuffed to a bedpost and whipped. Smiling at me when I walk into a room is not included on Cosmo‘s “69 Kinky New Moves to Try on Your Man” list. So don’t call me a fetish.
I could be kinky. I could put on a black latex suit and re-enact some perverse Freudian fantasy. But the simple act of being me, of possessing an Asian heritage, of having the skin tone or bone structure that I do, is not sexually deviant. Everyone has a type. If your type includes a preference for girls who may or may not possess certain common Asian physical features, you are not a sexual deviant or a pervert.
Woman freaking out on the morning show on FM 94.1, your boyfriend is not dating you solely because you’re Asian. So what if all of his exes are Asian women. Calm the fuck down. You’re treating yourself as an object – a souvenir. Your ethnicity is not your only attribute. Everyone has a fucking type.
2. Anything that refers to the stigma that Asians are asexual, docile, mouse-like creatures who are incompetent outside of a library or lab.
I mean come on. Even to say that “Asians are smart” is a dangerous statement. Because it’s the kind of mentality that reinforces jokes about say, the size of Asian men’s penises. Not cool. That is a total play on how Asian men must be bookish, and so therefore couldn’t be “masculine.” It was a big deal that Jeremy Lin was on a winning streak earlier this month because Asian-Americans are incompetent in athletics. My goodness, why don’t we just stick to textbooks? Lin’s prominence in the media is a proud fucking big deal to the Asian-American community; even to those like me, who don’t follow sports in the slightest. It is a common joke to say that Asians can’t drive because, well, the roads are a public affair. Just ask the girl in my journalism class who used to shout everyday: “Crystal, I hate your race! You guys suck at driving!” I mean, come on, what are we doing out of the science lab? Please, save yourselves, before we get the ideas in our heads that we can handle being out in public!
And so there’s my rant on racist stereotypes. I’m exhausted now.
(P.S. I, personally, prefer none of those fetishes, so please don’t email about that. Thanks.)