I have waited a whole week to tackle the elephant in the room. But as much as you can try to avoid it, the subject has to be broached. Writing this blog, I can drive the direction of what I talk about, but I have always known if I want things to get better I have to eventually make an effort to be the instrument of change.
Believe it or not, I'm a minority. Shocking, I know! If you want to know what it's like to feel invisible, go ask an Asian what it's like to grow up and live in this country. Minorities are blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and then as an afterthought, Asians. We are labeled the Model Minority. We can't complain about how bad things are because we are so "successful" as an ethnic class. I can throw you a slew of statistics and data about the under-representation in almost everything. But, one of the worst things about this belief is there are huge numbers of struggling Asians who straight up need help and don't get the attention, or resources because minority attention is consumed by black and Hispanic needs. One silly stupid little blog can't tackle this inequity...yet. Don't think that isn't in the back of my mind as far as rectifying this.
White people are exhausted with all this talk about minorities. I don't blame them. Imagine a really obese person starting to do CrossFit. It is completely different from their normal lifestyle. Uncomfortably so. We're at the part where white people have been working out for what they feel is a really long time, but society is still calling them fat. I can't really blame them for their emotional exhaustion. When it comes to Asians, we are meant to do their nails, tech support, cook their Chinese takeout, and that's about it. It's bad enough they had to concede so much power and attention to other “People of Color.” And for blacks and Hispanics, they rightfully don't want to give up their time in the spotlight because shit is nowhere near good enough where they can bring in some other affected minority classes. It's like if this country was an airplane, white people would be the flight attendants. The Asians are all the way in the back of the plane. As the drink cart of Attention and Focus comes down the aisle, you see the stockpile getting smaller and smaller. All that's left for the back rows is one single Mr. Pibb-like sitcom with an Asian cast on television, or the Coors Light of music with the increasing popularity of K-Pop. But, that's all that's left. "Oooh, sorry about no Oscars outrage of lack of representation, which was a really popular item". "I'm sorry, we only have love scenes of Asian females with other races, there just isn't any interest in love scenes with Asian males, maybe next flight!" But hey, as far as the pity parade, if we were being really honest, as far as East Asians are concerned, face it guys, we're kind of the white folks of Asians, so let's not get too high and mighty with slamming "white privilege."
So, I totally get it. We have to wait our turn. We have to wait for the Asian girl on “The Voice” to actually get a feature when she gets all the way to the 3rd or 4th round (I actually wrote a letter to NBC a couple of years ago when an Asian woman on Team Adam - I can't even find her on fucking Google anymore - got no featured spots at all. I called bullshit and let them know about it and told them I'm never watching The Voice again and I haven't. Of course, because I'm Asian, it went in one ear and out the other. (Big Middle Finger to you, NBC!). We have to wait for the John Cho sitcom to not get canceled halfway through the first episode because no one wants to watch an Asian guy on tv who doesn't fit perfectly into a stereotype. We have to hear and read stupid ethnic comments about "Linsanity" when Jeremy Lin succeeds in a world reserved only for 7'5" Chinese guys named Yao Ming or the other guy who looks exactly like Yao Ming. You know who I'm talking about. Actually, I don't even know who I am talking about. Hold on. Googling. Wang ZhiZhi aka Sorta Like Yao!
A tactic in today's hyper-offended world is to instantly make sure someone gets crucified for any insensitivity that occurs. I think the harsh spotlight of societal shame is not the most effective way to create true contemplative reflection from the people who utter comments that will never make the “Top 10 List of Coolest Statements Ever Uttered.” What I'm going to do is provide some "compliments" Asians receive and then provide some insight as to why, while maybe well-intentioned, it will result in the fakest "thanks" and most forced smile you'll ever see. Which reminds me of my favorite joke. How do you make a Swiss person smile? Put a gun to their head and say "smile".... A smile like that. Gosh, that still cracks me up every time I tell myself that joke. You'd be laughing too if you dealt with as many Swiss people as I have. So here we go:
Tiger Mom - We get it. Asian parents put a lot of emphasis on education. They put the fear of a B up there with the fear of Pauly Shore making a cinematic return. Just because you see a parent making their kid eat all their McNuggets doesn't make them a Tiger Mom. And it definitely doesn't make you Daniel Tosh.
Great at Math - You know what great at math is? It's Good Will Hunting shit, not getting an A in arithmetic. And I can't even do that. There are some of us you just simply shouldn't cheat off of. The awesome thing is, it's kinda like Russian Roulette. The odds are in your favor, but you just might draw the short end of the stick and sit next to me one awful college final.
You're Attractive for An Asian - This is something I have heard my entire adult life. What is the appropriate response except "Geee...thanks." You're really nice...for an ignorant douche canoe.” See how that feels? Revenge is a dish best served cold. I'm still getting carded for cigarettes because I don't look my age. You make Nick Nolte's mug shot look like a glamour shot. How do you like dem apples!
You Speak English Really Well - Dude, anyone speaks English really well compared to you and your trailer park neighbors. I think sometimes they are a little disappointed I don't have the stereotypical accent because then they have to actually think about something to make fun of me about. Sorry pal, no low hanging fruit for your discrimination juice here!
And the grand prize winner…
You're Not Really Asian - Yes, I fucking am!!!!!! And it's time that you stop pigeonholing me into your own preconceived notion of what an Asian is. And, it's high time for me to stop allowing you to do so! This Asian happens to be smart. But, he also is a great driver, hates taking pictures, will happily beat the hell out of you “Duke of Queensbury style”, and loves country music. I'm happy to educate you on what the new modern version of an Asian American is because I can guarantee you it ain't what ya thinkin'. Peace out, I'm going to the Demolition Derby. Ok, I'm actually probably going to the opera instead, but you get my fucking point, Accuracy Police!