The term Asian is used to refer to inhabitants or natives of Asia. The term is further used to refer to any person of Asian descent. The term strictly refers to people who are native or inhabit counties in the Asian continent which include; Cambodia, Korea, Japan, Philippine islands, Vietnam, Pakistan, Malaysia, India, china and Thailand (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). However the term is commonly applied when referring to people who are natives to East, South East and South Asia. People who are of Asian descent have been victims to stereotyping especially in the USA and Europe. Stereotyping of Asians is basically common worldwide and has been practiced for centuries. Stereotypes can be defined as a set of attitudes and beliefs towards a particular social group (Sue, 2010). Stereotyping has resulted into prejudice which has sometimes led to discrimination especially when directed towards a particular race.
A stereotype against particular races has sometimes led to antiracial sentiments, racial resentment, hate crimes and racial micro aggressions (Sue, 2010). There have been numerous stereotypes on Asians whereby they have been viewed as second class citizens, perpetual foreigners, invisible individuals and the over-sexualization of Asian women (Hall, 2010). The most prevalent stereotyping of Asians is that all Asians are alike. Asian Americans have also been subjected to stereotyping along with their Asian counterparts. Asians in America have been viewed as exotic, invisible and intelligent. Stereotyping is also known to occur within the Asian community whereby they harbor specific perception with regard to different types of Asians. Asians who are subjected to stereotyping by the society often experience psychological difficulties which are often overlooked by the society (Blaine, 2009). These psychological effects are known but are often down played. These psychological anomalies occur when members of the Asian community attempt to defend themselves against micro-aggressions. For instance Asians in schools are always thought to be more intelligent than the rest of the students and are better in sciences and mathematics. Therefore Asian students who do not perform well in class find are often frustrated and confused due to their inability to perform like the other Asians. Below are examples of common Asian stereotypes
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All Asians are foreigner’s stereotype
Asians are also perceived as foreigners. There is a perception in the US that all Asians are foreigners which leaves the Asian community marginalized. Although some of the Asians have been born and raised in the US these individuals are still be perceived as foreigners. Such stereotyping has negative effects for example the entire Asian community has sometimes been overlooked by the government when it comes to giving subsidies and assistance.
Smart Asian stereotype
The media has also made a significant contribution to the stereotyping Asians. As stated earlier, Asians are viewed as intelligent industrious, family oriented and being good in mathematics and science (Blaine, 2007). This dominant stereotype is common in the USA. The media in the US has played a role in stereotyping Asians as smart and intelligent. Therefore Asians are more likely to be shown in television advertisements that are related to professional occupations such as marketing financial services and computers (Schneider, 2004). The media has avoided using the negative stereotypes regarding Asians but has in some cases portrayed information that is related to the aforementioned negative stereotypes. Stereotypes create expectations on how members of a particular social group are expected to behave (Gudykunst, 2001). Individuals in the society make inferences, interpretations and judgments based on this stereotype. For example, during communication members of the society attempt to interact with different stereotyped individuals through methods influenced by prejudice based on various stereotypes. In addition people always attempt to identify behavior associated with a specific social group even when such behavior is absent (Gudkyst, 2001). When people attempt to interact with Asians or Asian American they tend to take into account the behavior associated with them in an attempt to make the process of interaction simple.
Asian martial art stereotype/ Asian Gangs
This stereotype is also referred to as the “evil Asian Male”. The impression that Asian men are evil ruthless but intelligent has long been portrayed in movies with Asian characters (Pham & Ono, 2009). Most action packed movies with characters of Asian origin portrayed a negative image of the Asian male and female characters, for example Fury of the dragon (1976) , Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)and the year of the dragon (1985) amongst others (Reyes, 2007). Most of these movies showed people of Chinese origin carrying out illegal activities such as drug dealing, criminal gangs and prostitution (Pham & Ono, 2009). These movies have portrayed the Asian man as inhuman, serial killers and property destroyers.
Although intelligent the Asian are also portrayed as inferior in these movies for example in the popular movie Rambo (1987), the lead actor who was a white male (Sylvester Stallone) single handedly launched a vicious attack and defeated an entre troop of Vietnamese soldiers in his quest for justice. Asian Men are also portrayed as undesirable male partners for women. In most of the movies, Asian women are paired with white men showing lack of desire for the Asian women (Pham & Ono, 2009). Asian men are also portrayed as passive and speak broken English but are still well trained in martial arts. It is important to note that majority of these movies have not paired Asian men with white women. This has also been observed in television especially in news broadcast Asian men are rarely paired with white women. However, Asian women have been paired with white men in these broad casts. This has been observed in news broadcast stations such as ABC, CNN and CBS news (Pham & Ono, 2009). This does not mean that the Asian Men do not broadcast in such stations; in fact they do but are often found on the weather channel.
Asian women asexually active and exotic “China doll”
Most of the films that have female Asian actors have overemphasized the feminity of Asian women with most being portrayed as exotic and sexually active. This character has been termed as the china doll. This perception of Asian women was first seen in the movie the year of the dragon where women were seen as passive and indecisive. Asian women have also been portrayed as untrustworthy and seductive movies such as the Daughter of Fu Manchu has depicted Asian women as treacherous and dangerous. Asian women have also been stereotyped as docile and quiet and working in middle to low economic positions (Tobach & Rosoff, 1994). The media has made a significant role in stereotyping Asian women. As a result several studies seeking to verify the arguments for and against several stereotypes have produced mixed results. For instance it was found that Asian American males and females have a lower self-esteem as compared to other ethnic groups (Tobach & Rosoff, 1994). This research seemed to justify the stereotype that Asians are more docile than other social groups and races.
Asian store owner stereotype
Just like the martial arts stereotype, the Asian store owner stereotype circulates mostly with the mass media. This stereotype presumes that the average Asian man is a successful small business owner. The media has shown several Asians particularly Koreans owning small businesses especially in areas dominated by Chinese. Apparently most of Asian storeowners have been depicted as greedy and often engaging in illegal business such as the sale of drugs and other illegal businesses. The Asian store owner stereotype has previously led to aggression against the Korean owned small business by other minority groups such as African Americans who perceived Asian Americans as responsible for economic injustices (Reyes, 2007). Most people imagined that this was true while others believed it was a form of oppression.
Asian food stereotype
Although less significant it is important to note that the Asian food stereotype still exists. Most people assume that all Asians eat only rice and rice related products. Rice is a staple food in most of the Asian countries and has cultural significance in different Asian regions. Therefore Asian people are inclined towards cooking rice as a staple food however not all Asians eat rice as a staple food and they also consume other types of foods (Reyes, 2007). In fact some Asian people have never set foot in their mother land. Most of the Asian-Americans have known the US as their only home and do not have any affiliation to any other country.
Different Asian social groups have identified themselves with particular characteristics some of which are similar to the stereotypes and perceptions from other members of the society. For instance Filipino Americans perceive themselves to be more cooperative, ambitious, friendly, warm, pleasure loving and emotional more than any other Asian-American group (Reyes, 2007). The Japanese Americans perceive that they are more industrious, cooperative and quite than other Asian American ethnic groups. Korean Americans perceive that they are more aggressive than the members of other Asian communities. Vietnamese Americans perceive that they are more compassionate than other Asian American ethnic groups (Reyes, 2007). The Asian Americans who are inclined more to the American culture perceive that their ethnic group is more ambitious intelligent, conservative and honest as compared to perceptions of other American Asians who are not inclined to the American culture. Today stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans is still persistent and not much has changed. Stereotyping of Asians and Asian Americans today has been propagated by the film industry. Even today people of Asian origin in the US are perceived as immigrants who have difficulty speaking English (Reyes, 2007). They are also seen as gang members who are known for excellent and intelligent fighting skills. They are often portrayed as greedy business men who run medium businesses such as grocery stores and restaurants. The Asian women are currently viewed as exotic and sensual. The audiences who watch movies do so for entertainment purposes and do not pay much attention to these stereotypes however continuous viewing of Asian stereotypes has perpetuated the society’s perception of Asian Americans according to the aforementioned stereotypes. If these stereotypes were not displayed in such movies then the society would not associate Asian women with exotic sex and men with gang fights (Reyes, 2007). This kind of minority stereotype has great consequences on the minority groups because the larger society will often associate Asian- American with various vices.
Effects of stereotypes
Stereotyping can have significant effects on the victim. Unfortunately the society does not realize these effects therefore there are no mitigation measures on stereotyping (Blaine, 2007). The psychological effects of stereotyping among adolescents and youth can result in fundamental consequences especially where the victims try to conform to the characteristics associated with a particular stereotype. Stereotyping has been associated with racism in some instance leading to significant consequences such as discrimination of victims which often have psychological effects on the victims (Blaine, 2007).
Asian stereotyping is common worldwide but more prevalent in the US and Europe. Usually this type of racism is directed towards Asians and Asian Americans. The most common stereotypes in this case are the smart Asians, gang Asians, perpetual foreigners and oversexualization of Asian women. The Media has played a significant role in the creating these stereotypes, through advertisements and movies. American movies featuring Asian characters have always portrayed them as negative individuals in the society. However a few have shown Asians play a positive role in the society (Tobach & Rosoff, 1994). This stereotyping affects all age groups however is most significant among children and adolescents. This is because at this age the children could be affected psychologically by views of the society especially in school. Stereotyping also occurs within the Asian population whereby Asians from different geographical regions stereotype the other Asians. These stereotypes within the Asian community do not differ significantly from the perceptions of the general populations. Stereotyping people leads to unnecessary prejudice that hinders social development among social groups.
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