Most people unknowingly hold a prejudice!
If you will, clear your mind and imagine an Asian-American student in high school or college.
Once you’re ready, try asking yourself these quick questions:
- What kind of grades does this student get?
- What kind of social life does this student have?
- What role does the student’s parents play in their lives?
Now, if you imagined something close to an introspective, straight-A student born to overly-involved parents, then you might hold a prejudice called the Model Minority Stereotype. If you do, it is the media’s fault– not yours!
The Model Minority Stereotype involves a positive set of assumptions about a race (Ex: good at math, extremely studious). Society typically directs this stereotype towards Asians, Jews, and Indians.
Q: “What is so wrong with a positive label? I would love to be labeled as talented.”
The simple answer: In the short-term, many feel that labeling an ethnicity with positive traits justifies the negative ones. For example, the more one generalizes Asians as very logical and analytical, they likely won’t feel guilty when referring to them as “geeks” or “anti-social.”
The real answer: In the long run, this stereotype places a pressure on the psyche of a young Asian individual. Imagine yourself as a middle school student struggling with a particular subject (for me, it was science). Then, imagine if everybody around you expected you to excel that, plus in a chess or an instrument or whatever. Parents, peers, and even teachers place this double-standard on young children
Furthermore, this stereotype affects all Asian-Americans, from children to the elderly. While it encompasses many areas of life, this blog intends specifically to better exchange-students’ lives, so I won’t elaborate futher.
Nobody is perfect. It’s only your fault if you don’t question this prejudice.
A simple questioning of your own beliefs can go a long way. Thank you for taking your time to read this, and hopefully reflect. As food for thought, here’s an uplifting quote:
“We shall never know all the good that a smile can do.”