You see, I adopted my daughter from China when she was just one year old and I’m your usual, generic white lady, so I knew people would bring up race. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for were the racial stereotypes people would say to my face. And because she’s Asian, “the model minority,” people truly think these ignorant remarks they are repeating are compliments.
They’re not compliments people. They are stereotypes. And they hurt my child, they hurt me and they need to stop.
So friends, family and random strangers in line at El Pollo Loco, enough with these ignorant beliefs.
Here are some of my favorite racist remarks cleverly disguised as compliments.
“Of course she’s good at math, she’s Chinese.”
Guess what? She’s not good at math because she happened to be born in China. She’s good at math because she enjoys it, and because she studies. I can name several of my own family members and friends who are gifted at math and weren’t born in the People’s Republic of China.
There are over 1.5 billion people in China, someone’s gotta suck at Sudoku.
Let’s flip the script. If my daughter were African American would you say, “I see your child is black. She must be a great basketball player!”
“All Asians are smart.”
There is nothing like a sweeping racial generalization to make my day. Asia is the largest and most populous continent on the planet. They probably have their share of stupid and silly people too. How else would you explain Japanese game shows? Or grown women in Tokyo carrying Hello Kitty backpacks?
And by the way, all the super smart Asian American kids? It’s not some genetic superiority, it’s usually a thing called a mom. A person in a minivan hauling ass across town to go to math tutors and weekend Korean or Chinese schools in many U.S. cities.
All that supposed intellectual superiority is lots of hard work by many Asian American students.
“She’s shy and quiet because that’s what Asian women are like.”
Of all the comments that people make, this is the one that burns my toast the most. This is the one that makes me want to spit fire.
Have you been watching some old 1970s spy movie where the beautiful Asian women are languidly reclined in slinky dresses waiting for James Bond to appear?
These people have obviously never known the many strong, capable, pushy and demanding Asian women I’ve known.
These people need to get their heads out of their you-know-where; stop watching Hollywood’s tired portrayal of Asian women and watch Margaret Cho drop some F-bombs in her stand up routine.
Did you know South Korea’s president is a woman?
Are you aware that China is home to more self made female billionaires and millionaires than any other country on this planet?
I don’t think these women got so powerful by being shy and subservient or reclining in satin dresses. Thanks Hollywood.
My daughter is like anyone; a complex mix of shy and outspoken, calm and steel. And her disposition has nothing to do with her ethnicity any more than my frequent memory lapses have anything to do with my being blonde.
So, long story short; keep your Asian “compliments” to yourself.
And a good point to remember: whenever you ascribe certain traits to an entire race of people you are damn sure to be wrong.
You can find me blogging about divorce, parenting, adoption and life in cute shoes at Round and Round Rosie.