There are a lot of stereotypes for many people out in the world. I am Filipino, but most people that I have come across in life just label me as Asian, they never usually look deeper. Which is okay, I am Asian at the end of the day. It’s something that will follow me for the rest of my life. There are a few people who like to try and guess “what kind of Asian” I am, which I normally don’t think of in any negative connotation, but it’s definitely an interesting interaction.

There are many stereotypes of Asians, some that contradict one another. There is the stereotype that all Asians are nerdy; the character is normally someone incredible at math exceeds at school and is usually quiet and submissive. The stereotype is that all Asians can do Martial arts or are a gangster. And we can’t forget the strange fetish that some media tend to put toward Asians. Some of these examples of Asians are more specific to Eastern Asians, and even though I am not East Asian, these are stereotypes that I’ve had to come across in my lifetime. 

A couple of examples of this stereotype would be the Disney Movie, Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior which plays off the stereotype that Asians know martial arts, or kung fu.

Don’t get me wrong in the beginning of the movie she doesn’t know how to do either, but by the end of the movie, she’s a master in less than a few months. I know it’s just a movie, and it’s just for the plot, but realistically it would take years, for someone to be able to learn and master it not just months. Also, the whole movie is about an Asian who masters martial arts/kung fu.

This next example is a little more extreme and could be looked at as really offensive for some, and others could find it comedic. When my friend sent it to me, I could tell that Jennifer Murphy probably meant for this to be completely satire, but at least in my opinion, this is very insensitive and completely based on stereotypes.

The song “I Want to Be Neenja” by Jennifer Murphy, which as the song is titled, is about how she would like to be a ninja. This not only plays into the stereotype that Asians know martial arts but throughout the song she is singing in an exaggerated “Asian accent”. Now yes this is supposed to joke but not all jokes are funny to everyone, and this song is basically just making fun of Asians, their accents, and their culture. Some can find it funny, but I think it makes sense why this would be offensive to others as well.

I think that any stereotype can be harmful to someone, generalizing a race as a certain set of traits could be harmful to someone who possibly doesn’t really fit into that stereotype. For example, a more lighthearted example is a Filipino stereotype that we are all extremely good at singing because most of us grow up doing a lot of karaoke. Every family get-together, every birthday, or any celebration was normally a good enough reason to bring out karaoke. Don’t get me wrong, is a lot of fun, but only if you’re good at it.

Someone close to me went out with friends a while back, and they just so happened to go to a little karaoke bar. They told me how they turned down the offer to sing karaoke because they don’t like to sing in front of crowds, and are honestly not really that good at singing, and don’t like to. One of the people they were hanging out with said. “Are you even Filipino?”. Which I know was probably supposed to be a joke, but still a very inconsiderate thing to say. 

Sometimes saying that a person doesn’t fit a stereotype can make a person feel like they can’t say that they belong to this ethnicity. It can really affect someone. It can take away a person’s sense of belonging and identity with their community, just because they don’t fit someone’s preconceived stereotype. 

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