Thursday, November 03, 2005

On being Asian Part 3

As only the most obsessive readers of this site may remember I talked about the book that says Asian parents raise their kids right. Someone left this comment on my site, and I felt like I should just comment on the comment myself. (It's kind of self referential I know, but I promise not to do it too often.)

Loveless did a nice job trying to provide a fair and balanced review of a book review. It made me want to read more on the subject, as well as to read the actual book.One thing was missing though, and it is understandable. You have to live in America (and probably in or around a major city)in order to see the deterioration of the average American's scholastic abilities and the ensuing failure to have a successful adult life. That would be, of course, fairly much the opposite of the life of the authors of the book, and for many Americans of Asian Descent who we must all hope will be able to help save America from itself.Not being Asian I can only surmise that the book may help to break down some stereotypes which are probably perceived as negative. That should be a good thing.There is no doubt in my mind that there are a number of people growing up in America who would benefit from the book's authors' experience in growing up in America.Given a choice and if I were King of the Land I would make all Americans grow up the way they did. My guess is America would be a way better place to live than it is now.A common rumor in the press during the hurricane news was that people in New Orleans sat by a road for up to 6 days waiting for their government handout to keep them alive. Some of them reportedly did not make it. I will bet my lunch for the next three years that NONE of those people were Asian Americans.Right, Wrong or Indifferent no one can argue, let alone prove, that American kids should be allowed to continue to grow up stupid when there is obviously a better way staring them right in the face. I wish I had the chance to grow up in a house where education and success in life were inculcated from the very beginning. I expect that I might be getting paid for my opinions instead of just offering them for free at places like this. Given a better chance from the start there is no question in my mind that I would have been one of the winners in the game of life. I'd like to thank the women who wrote this book for giving the country a chance to get back in that game

I'm glad that the person liked my review, but there are a couple points I'd like to clarify and also criticize a couple things.

1. "You have to live in America (and probably in or around a major city)in order to see the deterioration of the average American's scholastic abilities and the ensuing failure to have a successful adult life."The perspective that is missing from my review isn't really missing at all. I am an American. I went through the public school system, hell, I even went through the Los Angeles public school system.

2. "Not being Asian I can only surmise that the book may help to break down some stereotypes which are probably perceived as negative. That should be a good thing." I don't know if I think that this neceesarily dispels negative stereotypes. Rather it reinforces them. While perhaps dispelling the notion that Asians only know how to do kungfu. Something propagated by Jackie Chan, Jet Li etc. (Although they make awesome awesome movies.) Most Americans also see Asians as the doctors, optometrists, and dentists of the world. Furthermore, this learning the secrets of the Asians seems in many ways related to the way American parents are sending their kids to Chinese school to learn "the language of the future." It also reflects a certain amount of anxiety about Asians, because white people are starting to feel the need to "keep their edge."

3. "A common rumor in the press during the hurricane news was that people in New Orleans sat by a road for up to 6 days waiting for their government handout to keep them alive. Some of them reportedly did not make it. I will bet my lunch for the next three years that NONE of those people were Asian Americans."
Fucking hell, talk about reinforcing negative stereotypes. This statement really irritates me because it assumes that all Asian Americans are the same. Whereas as a (state-defined) ethnic group we're all over the map. I'm sure rich Asian Americans, like other rich people got out before the hurricane hit. However, this reader certainly owes someone (perhaps not me) his lunch for the next 3 years. Lots of Asian Americans were affected, particularly Vietnamese but also South Asian communities there. Of course this was under-reported because the media doesn't really give a shit about Asian Americans so we're not particularly visible. However this absence of media attention also means people don't realize that Asians do have problems, we get crappy grades, we're bad at math, we're in gangs, we drop out of school, we use drugs, etc. etc. We do, I know people who have done all of these things. Also, for reporting done on Asian American Katrina victims look here, here, and here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kudos, Clara

Michelle

talica said...

Don't forget Bobby Jindal (R-LA) whose district is the "white flight" suburbs.