That Asian Ophie

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I’ve been seeing videos on social media that are titled ’15 Types of Asian Girls!’ or ‘What Do Asian Girls Like?’ Although these videos are for comedic purposes and not meant to be taken seriously, they’re a little irritating because… why can’t a girl just be a girl without having to be referred to as Asian?

For instance, the United Airlines incident. There are people on Twitter or social media who make Asian jokes about the doctor who was involved. They tweet things like, “Go to United Airlines if you want Chinese takeout.” Although he is not even Chinese, I find it interesting that people refer to him as an ‘Asian doctor’ or ‘Asian’ or ‘Chinese’ as if that has some bearing on the incident itself. He’s an American citizen who pays taxes just like you and me and he had a bad experience on an airplane. What relevance does it REALLY have if he’s Asian?

In my previous post about UA, I wrote about wondering whether or not this incident would have occurred if he had not been Asian due to the way that Asians are portrayed in the media (friendly, doesn’t want any trouble, easygoing)/ Although there is a very real incident of Asians being portrayed stereo typically in the media (if they’re even on these shows at all), even Dao’s own lawyer admitted that this wasn’t an incident related to race.

Once someone says, “Regarding the incident that occurred with the ASIAN DOCTOR who was on the airplane” I’m immediately turned off. Why can’t he just be a doctor?

Back to the issue though, I watched a video that listed all the types of Asian Girls and it disturbed me a little. Why can’t an Asian girl just be a human being who doesn’t have to fit a particular category? So I like video games, I don’t wear full-on makeup every time I step out of the house, I’m focused on my career and I love working out – why can’t I just be Ophie instead of being a ‘yappie/fitness Asian girl/Normal Asian Girl/nerdy Asian girl”? Btw, yappie stands for Young Asian Professional. Why can’t a Yappie just be a Yuppie?

So if an Asian girl dyed her hair blonde, started wearing circle contacts and went to clubs a lot, she’d called an ABG by some and then people would assume things like maybe she’s not the sharpest pencil in the box or she’s got an attitude.

If I see such a person outside, I don’t gasp and think, “She’s an Asian baby girl. She’s probably an import model (as the stereotype goes).” I just think she’s attractive. For all I know (and care) she could be going to med school or pursuing a career in design.

My issue is that these types of posts and acronyms are perpetuating stereotypes.

Listing ’10 Types of Asians You See on the Street’ has the risk of making the Asian community look like we’re television characters or people in a play. Not real. Not human beings with unique personalities but little barbie dolls encased in plastic cases with a little string that you pull to make them say something oh-so-typically ‘Asian’.

And as a last note, the lack of Asians in mainstream media has always bothered me. When I grew up, I found that all the characters in the stories I wrote were Caucasian. It never occurred to me why until I realized later on that most of the actors I saw in movies or people I read about in books weren’t Asian. Thankfully that’s changing and more diversity is being introduced these days.

There are some who are threatened by the increasing diversity we have in this country. America was formed on a foundation of immigrants and the unique cultures each of us brings. Many immigrants, such as my own family, are small business owners and help to stimulate this economy by paying taxes and creating jobs. I am a strong believer that making this country more diverse and bringing people of all color into mainstream media is one of the ways that we can truly “make American great again”.