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What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers...?

For Asian Americans to discuss Asian American issues and topics.

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What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers...?

Postby zboy1 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:56 am

Paper Tigers
What happens to all the Asian-American overachievers when the test-taking ends?


Just a portion of the first page as follows:

Sometimes I’ll glimpse my reflection in a window and feel astonished by what I see. Jet-black hair. Slanted eyes. A pancake-flat surface of yellow-and-green-toned skin. An expression that is nearly reptilian in its impassivity. I’ve contrived to think of this face as the equal in beauty to any other. But what I feel in these moments is its strangeness to me. It’s my face. I can’t disclaim it. But what does it have to do with me?

Millions of Americans must feel estranged from their own faces. But every self-estranged individual is estranged in his own way. I, for instance, am the child of Korean immigrants, but I do not speak my parents’ native tongue. I have never called my elders by the proper honorific, “big brotherâ€￾ or “big sister.â€￾ I have never dated a Korean woman. I don’t have a Korean friend. Though I am an immigrant, I have never wanted to strive like one.

You could say that I am, in the gently derisive parlance of Asian-Americans, a banana or a Twinkie (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). But while I don’t believe our roots necessarily define us, I do believe there are racially inflected assumptions wired into our neural circuitry that we use to sort through the sea of faces we confront. And although I am in most respects devoid of Asian characteristics, I do have an Asian face.

Here is what I sometimes suspect my face signifies to other Americans: an invisible person, barely distinguishable from a mass of faces that resemble it. A conspicuous person standing apart from the crowd and yet devoid of any individuality. An icon of so much that the culture pretends to honor but that it in fact patronizes and exploits. Not just people “who are good at mathâ€￾ and play the violin, but a mass of stifled, repressed, abused, conformist quasi-robots who simply do not matter, socially or culturally.

I’ve always been of two minds about this sequence of stereotypes. On the one hand, it offends me greatly that anyone would think to apply them to me, or to anyone else, simply on the basis of facial characteristics. On the other hand, it also seems to me that there are a lot of Asian people to whom they apply.

Let me summarize my feelings toward Asian values: f**k filial piety. f**k grade-grubbing. f**k Ivy League mania. f**k deference to authority. f**k humility and hard work. f**k harmonious relations. f**k sacrificing for the future. f**k earnest, striving middle-class servility.

I understand the reasons Asian parents have raised a generation of children this way. Doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer: These are good jobs open to whoever works hard enough. What could be wrong with that pursuit? Asians graduate from college at a rate higher than any other ethnic group in America, including whites. They earn a higher median family income than any other ethnic group in America, including whites. This is a stage in a triumphal narrative, and it is a narrative that is much shorter than many remember. Two thirds of the roughly 14 million Asian-Americans are foreign-born. There were less than 39,000 people of Korean descent living in America in 1970, when my elder brother was born. There are around 1 million today.

Asian-American success is typically taken to ratify the American Dream and to prove that minorities can make it in this country without handouts. Still, an undercurrent of racial panic always accompanies the consideration of Asians, and all the more so as China becomes the destination for our industrial base and the banker controlling our burgeoning debt. But if the armies of Chinese factory workers who make our fast fashion and iPads terrify us, and if the collective mass of high-­achieving Asian-American students arouse an anxiety about the laxity of American parenting, what of the Asian-American who obeyed everything his parents told him? Does this person really scare anyone?

Earlier this year, the publication of Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother incited a collective airing out of many varieties of race-based hysteria. But absent from the millions of words written in response to the book was any serious consideration of whether Asian-Americans were in fact taking over this country. If it is true that they are collectively dominating in elite high schools and universities, is it also true that Asian-Americans are dominating in the real world? My strong suspicion was that this was not so, and that the reasons would not be hard to find. If we are a collective juggernaut that inspires such awe and fear, why does it seem that so many Asians are so readily perceived to be, as I myself have felt most of my life, the products of a timid culture, easily pushed around by more assertive people, and thus basically invisible?

Read more at the above link...
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Postby zboy1 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:01 am

Many angry posts from my fellow Asian brothers in the comments section:

I believe that the "bamboo ceiling" does exist. And I think the "bamboo ceiling" is the very reason America has lost so many jobs to outsourcing, particularly tech jobs, in the past years. Many Asian American engineers from the last generation repeatedly encountered the bamboo ceiling, and as a result, they went the entrepreneurial route and started their own companies. Did they want their companies to create jobs in America? Why should they? This is the same country that denied them opportunities due to their race, that consistently stereotypes them as meek and lacking in leadership qualities. As a result, they outsourced jobs to their home countries at an INSANE rate.

There are hundreds of successful tech startups here in Silicon Valley that were started by Asian American entrepreneurs, and they employ almost NO Americans, and certainly no white Americans (a sprinkling of Asian Americans work for these companies, mainly due to their fluency in both their native languages and English).

I'm working for one such company at the moment: I was hired because of my fluency in Mandarin and my technical degree (from a state school known more for partying than for academics, no less!) I get paid a mid six figure salary (even more when you factor in stock options) to, essentially, take jobs that very well could have gone to highly qualified and talented American engineers, and give those jobs to people in Shanghai. And you know what? I don't have any qualms about what I do. Neither do any of the Asian American engineers who founded my company.

Keep in mind, we live in a country where we were barred from attaining as much professional success as our abilites should allow, DUE TO STEREOTYPES ABOUT OUR RACE! This is the country that portrays us as dorky stereotypes on TV, bullies us more than anyone else, and consistently portrays us as the unaccepted "other". Forgive us if we don't feel tears when that same country loses it's jobs. Last time I checked, no one in Shanghai ever called me a ch1nk. My nice six figure salary, which I've been making since I was 23 years old?!? That's just the cherry on top. I am absolutely convinced, that if not for the Bamboo Ceiling, a third of the tech jobs AmeriKKKa has lost in the past years would still be here.

And to the white guys who called me ch1nk and g00k all through high school? How's it feel to be in your late 20's and have all the men in your family be unemployed? 'Cuz my life has been DAMN good lately!

More from this guy...and interestingly enough, he agrees with the notion of being 'HappierAbroad' and how Asian men are treated very well outside of the USA:

In fact, I've found white AmeriKKKa to be particularly lacking in acceptance in this regard. I can't remember how many times in college, I would be at a (predominantly white, since I went to school in central Pennsylvania) party and the conversation would invariably shift to girls. If I so much as made a comment about girls, god forbid a white girl, some white guy would say something to the effect of "Why don't you stick to your own women?" or "It's not like a white girl would ever wanna date an Asian". By and large, white AmeriKKKa believes in a large degree of outward racial politeness, but can't wait to cast me into certain racial caricatures, and never advances the outward politeness to a true indication of acceptance. Even at my Big Ten school in the northeast, I couldn't go a week without hearing someone scream "Jackie Chan!" or "Ching chong" at me, usually out of a dorm room window. When I dated a white girl, I was subject to at least half a dozen comments of "Why don't you stick to your own race" and "Why the f*ck would she want to date someone like you?" My cousin, who attends college in the south, even had a brick thrown through his window for having the "audacity" to date a white girl!

Every time I end up at a party that's predominantly Latino, though, the guys will actively start conversations with me about girls. They'll say things like "I saw you checkin' out that girl, you like that, huh? I see, you like girls with nice racks, bro," and will even actively introduce me to the girls there. Sure, it's juvenile and immature, but it also reflects a degree of true acceptance and comfort with me, in spite of our racial differences. After all, isn't a real friend someone you can be juvenile and immature aruond?

In fact, I've found that even European whites consistently demonstrate more acceptance than white AmeriKKKa. I meet a lotta Eastern European tech guys who are visiting the US in my work, and it seems like every time I meet an Eastern European guy, within 5 minutes they'll ask me whether I like Russian or Ukrainian girls, and start telling me I should go party with them in Kiev or Moscow and meet a bunch of girls. One guy even took to showing me photos of his female friends in Kiev and asking me which one I had a crush on, and set us up to email each other. Contrast that with the attitude of AmeriKKKa, where there is ALWAYS the insinuation (subtle or overt) that I shouldn't even CONSIDER meeting a girl outside my own race!

I don't know why more Asian American men don't consider moving overseas to escape the hellhole known as the "United States of America."
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Postby zboy1 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 6:08 am

I like this comment from a strong African American female telling Asian men not to 'confirm' to racist, White society, and keep pride in our culture. Also, don't look-up to White people as a whole. Sigh...I wish more Asian females could be like her...

As an African American female, I am amazed at this article. Honestly, I'd kill to be stereotyped as intelligent, hard-working, and humble. Do you know what many think when they see me? Uneducated, obstreperous, nagging, bitchy. I'm quite sure black women in this god-forsaken country have the most deplorable stereotypes hanging about their heads. Take pride in your culture, please! There's nothing wrong with inculcating within your children the importance of humility, filial piety, thrift, and intelligence. Those sound teachings are severely lacking in my black community, and guess what? This dearth contributes directly to the horrid reputation of blacks in America.

Finally, I'd like to address your encouraging Asian men to seek out white women. Are you not insulting your Asian women? Have you taken into account how they feel being ostracized? Are you cognizant of the fact that by succumbing to the paradigm of beauty in American, blonde hair, blue eyes, you are in fact evincing that you have no innate creativity, no risk-taking skills, no ability to think outside of the box? You're thusly a follower (something this article vehemently argues against, no?) and not a leader.

Trust me when I say that minority women have to put up with enough shit and we don't need our men obsessing over white women. It's ok to date other races, don't get me wrong, but possessing an obsession with one race's women for the reason that you behold them many times on television whilst alienating (and disrespecting) the women of your race is despicable.

I really hope the majority of Asian people don't agree wholeheartedly with this article. Please don't throw away cultural values like so many to assimilate with whites! There's no reason to change! Don't conform.
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