April 14, 2016

Whitewashing of Asians in Media

When I see whitewashing of Asian culture & people in the media, I'm angry, but also sad at the same time. I've heard so many stories of Asians who grew up in families where they were whitewashed by their own parents and now struggle to regain their sense of culture and past and how it fits in with their identity.
It's a vicious cycle. Being white and acting white are held up as the standard for success and being successful is of utmost importance. We need to value our Asian heritage and defend it and fight for it, but first we need to unlearn those lessons taught to us as children of immigrants. That unbroken and unaccented English is the most beautiful, that wearing a uniform of jeans and sneakers helps us blend in, that eating bland sandwiches and fruit rollups would help us not seem “other”, that when we did get teased and bullied, to not make a fuss and ignore it so that we can survive another day. That our success in the world would make up for it.
We are in a system that has a set of rules and playing by those rules makes life easier and not playing by them means that you’re punished, sometimes outrageously so. But I think one of the reasons Asians are not a vocal lot, is because deep down, we’ve accepted that Asian culture is not as valuable. We’ve done such a good job of assimilating that we've lost that sense of urgency and ownership. This fight? No, no, that's not my fight, that's someone else's fight. And soon enough, there won't be any fights, it'll just be the accepted norm. Being white cannot and should not be the norm. We all need to remember that and fight against it.