Stereotypes About Asian People

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Racism is evident in all cultures. Looking back on history, it would seem that racism has always been present through the developing of our societies. The most common type of racism that we see is called casual racism.

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According to the AHRC, casual racism occurs when behavior involves negative stereotypes or prejudices about people on the basis of race, color or ethnicity, while racism focuses mainly on the belief that one race is superior than the rest. (Casual Racism, 2014) Both of these are inherently bad, though the latter has a more negative connotation in comparison to the former. An example of a casual racism is that all Asians are smart. Not only is this claim untrue, but it has harmful effects. These stereotypes about Asians can have a negative effect on people, promote inaccurate information about the minority and can have effects on a person’s mental health.

Asian stereotypes are historically proven to be inaccurate. One explanation to the stereotype that Asians are all smart is that immigration policies were skewed to favor highly educated and skilled Asians. In 1965, the Immigration Act was passed and allowed large numbers of Asians to enter the United States. Specifically, these Asian immigrants were from the most educated and wealthiest groups in their countries. As a result of this, the perception of the Asian American community changed. Decades before this change, Asians were perceived as corrupt and dishonest. In the article, Racial Stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans and Its Effect on Criminal Justice: A reflection on the Wayne Lo Case, author Rhoda J. Yen states that Chinese immigrants were describes as utter heathens, treacherous, sensual, cowardly and cruel by the media (Yen 7). Thus, we can conclude that Asian immigrants did not always have a positive outlook. We can also conclude that the all Asians are smart stereotype is inaccurate since there is excluded data on the rest of the Asian population who fall under poverty.

In addition, the media also display incorrect depictions of the Asian community. Not only are they incorrect, but the media tends to lack the coverage on Asians in general. When Asians are represented in media, they’re usually used to present a stereotype. According to an online article, Enjoy ?Crazy Rich Asians’ “ But Don’t Stereotype, the author states that this movie is the first in 25 years to have an all-Asian cast with the last one being, Joy Luck Club (Hall 2018). In fact, even the book and newly turned movie, Crazy Rich Asians, is loaded with stereotypes. One stereotype that can be derived from the movie is that all Asians are rich, which is widely evident throughout the whole movie. Another stereotype that can be found is the Model Minority stereotype. This applies to the main character, Rachel Chu, who despite having a single mother that escaped an abusive marriage in China, became a successful college professor. In this stereotype, Asian Americans have an unlimited career flexibility and are high achievers. Thus, it overlooks the Asian immigrants who had to struggle to get to where they are now and it also overlooks the discrimination directed against them.

A result to the lack of accuracy of Asian representation in the media and the widespread stereotypes that go along with it, were the conflicts that arose regarding the minority. For example, in the article written by Rhoda J. Yen, introduces the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982. Vincent Chin, who was a Chinese American, was beaten to death by two unemployed, white auto workers named Roger Ebens and Michael Nitz. They had mistaken Chin as a Japanese American in a local bar and accused him of contributing to the rising unemployment of the auto industry. Later on, they beat him with a baseball bat. Neither of these men were charged for a hate crime and instead they were only acquitted of manslaughter and sentenced to three years of probation and a fine. At the time, the media did not believe that Asian Americans could be targeted for discrimination because of their successful assimilation in the American society (Yen 10-11). This incident is one of many of the anti-Asian crimes that occurred in the United States.

Another problem with Asian stereotypes is that people tend to overlook them as people because of their race and are also often targeted as victims of crime. According to Yen, Criminals tend to engage in targeting Asian Americans and assume that they carry more money than other races. They also believed that they were physically weaker, less likely to report crimes, and are more averse to strike back at criminals. She also continues by stating that, Even the decision of whether to commit a crime may be influenced by the racial stereotypes around Asian Americans (Yen 13).

Another incident of an anti-Asian crime is the Peairs’ shooting of Yoshihiro Hattori in 1992. Hattori was shot on Halloween, after he and his friend were trying to locate their friend’s house for a party. After mistaking the Peairs’ house as their friend’s, they tried to leave but were confronted by Rodney Peairs, who ended up shooting Hattori in the chest. The reasoning behind the shooting was that Mrs. Peairs had been terrified of the boys and had thought that the boys were invading on their property. Similarly, cases like this transpired in the following years. (Yen 13-15)

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