Pertaining to Tracy Lai’s article titled, “Asian American Women”, Lai discusses how stereotypes dehumanize people while turning them into objects to be manipulated. Lai touches on the topic of how Asian people and cultures are stereotyped as being inferior and exotic. The problem that Lai brings to our attention is that it is a struggle to be an Asian in America due to the fact that Asians have been denied political, economic and social equality in America.
Lai also brings to our attention the die hard myth that Asians have made it in America, which is far from the truth.
I sense that Lai’s argument is extremely effective due to the fact that stereotypes are not only seen among Asians, they are also seen in many other cultures and genders. For instance, women for years were battling for woman’s equality to be able to vote, and today women are still battling for equality in political and economic areas.
In addition, African American’s are still trying to be accepted into certain political roles throughout our society. Since Tracy Lai is a Asian in America I feel that her argument holds great validity due to the fact that Lai shared her own personal experiences. By reading Lai’s personal feelings, it allowed me to understand her beliefs to a greater extent because I was able to see where she was coming from. Certainly I agree with Lai’s views because I have noticed that Asians are depicted as being inferior.
For example, if you have ever seen a movie or a television show that had an Asian character, nine times out of ten the Asian character is depicted as being mathematicians, naive, and speaks with broken English. I have also noticed that there are very few Asian politicians, as well as very few women politicians, within our culture. I do not know if this problem stems from Asian Americans not having a historical/authoritative figure like Dr. Martin Luther King representing African Americans, and Susan B. Anthony representing woman’s rights to vote.
However, I do know that Asians do not receive the same types of opportunities as others because they have been stereotyped for so long as being inferior. In addition, I feel that the reason why Asians may be seen as inferior individuals is because they were one of the last cultures to start a movement for equality that was inspired by other ethnic cultures. Because of this somewhat late movement, our culture has not been able to adapt to this change, like our culture has not adapted to women being paid the same as men.
Lai brought to my attention that Asians are claimed to value education more than other minorities and Asians are said to have special intellectual affinities for math and science. Lai proceeded to raise the point that this is a racist rationale because this is implying that other cultures are not able to succeed in this type of area. For instance, I can relate to this statement because African American’s are said to be dominate in athletics, and they are also believed to have a higher vertical leap than others.
I was offended when I heard this because I received a scholarship to Sacramento State for high jumping, and I am not African American. This example just goes to show you that stereotypes do dehumanize people and turns them into something they are not. In retrospect, Asians and other cultures are being denied political, economic, and social equality which is not equitable to these people. I feel that by reading Lai’s article has made me realize that stereotyping has no boundaries, because it is occurring in many different cultures and it is effecting many different people.