Friday, April 11, 2014

Racial Stereotypes: To Continue or Break them?

Thank you, Larry ShinagawaAssociate Professor of American Studies and the Director of the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, for your inspiration for this blog entry! You have inspired me to blog many of my recent thoughts out today! ;) 

So (to readers) Larry openly asked on Facebook about others' opinions on whether there is a war between Latinos and Asians based on this article from, The Undeclared Political War Between Latinos and Asians

This has been an interesting topic for me in the last few months especially with the whole controversial subject surrounding affirmative action and the SCA5 proposed by the Senator of my district, Dr. Ed Hernandez. 

Is there an undeclared political war between Latinos and Asians?  In my opinion, there is NO war NOR competition. 

I believe each racial group needs to change their culture in order to break down the stereotypes and racial profiling that happens in our society. Each culture has its own strengths and weaknesses. If the Hispanics and the African Americans want to prioritize institutionalized education to help their children get ahead in life, their elders and leaders need to serve as role models inspiring the younger generation to WANT to go get that higher education. They need to take a GOOD look at their values to figure out what they need to change about themselves for a better life and to create a more positive image for their racial group.

In the last several years, while attending many events related to the Taiwanese American, Chinese American, and general Asian Pacific American communities, I have had conversations with others regarding race/ethnic groups, and this is what I have to say... 
  • Yes, it is unfortunate that Asian Americans sometimes are made fun of in the mainstream media, that is why it is good that we have groups like, Media Action Network for Asian Americans (MANAA), and Angry Asian Man to keep the media accountable and catch moments when they find Asians/Asian Americans being disrespected on national television and on TV shows.  
  • Yes, it is unfortunate that the U.S. mainstream media does not highlight or cast enough nor provide accurate representation of Asian/Asian American role models for our youth besides Bruce Lee, and other martial artists. 
  • Yes, it is unfortunate that Asians/Asian Americans are stereotyped to fit the model minority myth that provides the general public that ALL Asians/Asian Americans were/are straight A students and high-achieving who will become wealthy doctors or lawyers. 
But you know what? Even though this model minority myth exists and somewhat rings true to certain individuals, I know for myself that it does not describe me. Although I tell others that I am Taiwanese American and Asian American, I know there is NO way that I can represent an entire race. Why? Because I am my OWN individual with my OWN values. Not everyone in my race/ethnic group shares the same values I do. Not everyone operates the same way I do. Being a 2nd generation Taiwanese American, I hold in my heart a mixture of Asian values and American values. As you can see, I am a very outspoken individual who is not afraid to speak to my thoughts, whereas most Asian Americans are not as vocal in fear they will lose face and become ostracized by their so-called friends and family.

To me, living in fear of others not liking you is a mental prison of low self-esteem, and I was in that prison WAY TOO LONG. That prison was mental darkness for me, living in a bird cage where I only hoped to one day escape. Unfortunately, when I tried to get out, I felt like I had no wings because I had no self-confidence. However, slowly but surely over the last 10 years since college, I have picked myself up one day at a time, and everyday I get myself through is an achievement in itself. =) 

Although my Asians and Asian American brothers and sisters may disagree with my way of thinking, I know they are talented in their own ways; however, it seems that traditional Asians place TOO much value on institutionalized education.  Because of that, it seems that they will determine a person's worth or how much respect that person should get based on (1) how far one got in education, (2) whether or not an individual has a Masters/PhD or not, or/and (3) what salary the person earns. Our Asian elders have taught us to be book smart, to study hard, & just study study study! Some people go get higher degrees, but they don't mature. Instead, they become more EGOTISTICAL because they think their education, salary, and job title make them elite and superior over others! But that is what I call INSECURITY.  

I strongly dislike when traditional elders are so incredibly negative towards our younger generation. They subject the younger generation to an emotional abuse which does not foster a loving relationship.  They compare their kids to others' people's kids, constantly criticize and accentuate their child's weaknesses, and overlook a their strengths, and judge them by their salary, job title, and education level. To only judge them, it's SO superficial, but I understand this can happen within ANY racial group! So NO racial group is better than any other! I would beg to differ with Amy Chua.

I myself have no higher degree passed my Bachelors in Psychology and Social Behavior with a Minor in Education from UC Irvine over 10 years ago, but I know for myself that I have become wise for my age, and my EQ is high. I struggled with depression because I did not feel like I was intelligent enough for my Asian community. I felt that I could not compare to others. However, now that I can found my self-worth, I KNOW that I touch hearts. I KNOW I touch lives. I KNOW I have SO MUCH to offer this world that does not know UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, COMPASSION, INTERNAL VALIDATION, MENTAL LIBERATION, PEACE OF MIND like I know. 

When I told a group of Asian parents that I am an aspiring motivational speaker, a Taiwanese father asked me, "What gives you the credentials to be one?" I said, "Life experience." 

Through my life experiences, I believe our world does not have enough LOVE, and THAT is why our world suffers so much. We wallow in our sorrows, in self-pity and become internally depressed and self-critical that we become stuck in the past about our past mistakes/traumatic moments.  We don't embrace life as it comes to us when we should appreciate it! Our older generation needs to start showing more support for the younger generation instead of putting them down! 

As Yehuda Berg said, "Love is the weapon of the future." We NEED to build a young generation of RESILIENCE and DETERMINATION to understand MENTAL HEALTH matters and COPING SKILLS! To not make them judge and put others down because all that is... is INSECURITY! We need to teach our children HEALTHY self-esteem - NOT bullying!! "Strong people uplift each other" is a saying that I used to hear. Encouragement and positive support will help the young generation to believe in themselves. They need not to compare themselves to others. An person only need to compare him/herself to him/herself. Your only competition is the one you see in the mirror. Be a BETTER YOU today than you were yesterday!  But these are not the consistent messages that we deliver to our young generation today. We need to tell them that as long as they are doing their BEST, that is all that matters. Like I said before.. We are ALL works in progress

So when can we stop being judged by the color of our skin? When will we become color-blind?  As Martin Luther King Jr. said... 

CONTENT OF CHARACTER! Now THAT is important! I judge a leader by the CONTENT of their CHARACTER! That's how I vote for my leaders and U.S. Representatives! Do they put they truly care about their constituents, or do they only care about the individuals who contribute to their fundraisers and how much money they're earning? Anyhow, although there is not much Asian representation in U.S. politics, I do not let race be a determinating factor as to who I vote for. I vote for the person whom I think will carry out leadership roles best, who will be a part of the solutions to our community's issues and promote GOOD values similar to mine to BETTER our community. 

EVERY individual NO MATTER which race they come from has his/her strength and weaknesses! If we could become color-blind, each of us is a part of the SAME human race ALL living under the SAME sun, moon, and stars!! We are in this life TOGETHER to make the future for our next generation BETTER! So it's time to live in HARMONY and teach our children good values for the sake and betterment of our society and future generations who will live on the earth after we pass away!  



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