“Quiet Asian kid.” Someone called me that while I was in university in Canada. I hate that term, that stereotype. I am introverted, yes. I am Asian, of Chinese descent, yes. But must one necessarily follow the other?
I like this.
I consider myself an introvert, but I can be really confrontational (evidence: loudly calling a young, tall, drunk white kid in a crowded elevator in New York City a racist, in front of all his friends). I think part of it has to do with my mom (never one to not speak up about bad customer service) and my dad (who had come to the US from rural China at the age of 11) regularly encouraging me: “Don’t be a typical Chinese! Speak up!”
So yes, he encouraged me by both enforcing stereotypes and convincing me to break them!
I think if you are Asian and you happen to be quiet, people may attribute it to the culture of your upbringing. A quiet white kid is just a kid who is quiet. And white. A quiet black kid is just a kid who is quiet. And black. But a quiet Asian kid is The Quiet Asian Kid. It just plays well into stereotypes.
We can’t ALL be artist David Choe and sit on Facebook shares that are worth millions now. Cuz, does that make him a “GOOD ASIAN”? Check out my latest blog post on JENNYYANG.TV!
many thx to @asiansnotstudying & @fascinasians for some HowToBeAGoodAsian.com tumblr love!
This is the story of how I met Gary Chan. It is also the story of how I got inspired to write these series of blog posts as a way of redefining "How To Be A Good Asian."
Redefining what it means to be “A Good Asian” is a lifelong process for me - I had plenty of reasons in my own life to figure this out for myself and with my good friends in private chats. For example, after I started performing stand-up comedy and talking about quitting my previous career, so many people in my audiences (many Asian American) would come up to me and say they wanted to do that too but were so afraid. I wrote about that in a previous blog: "I want to be a Good Asian, but now I want to do what I love."
However, it was my encounter with Gary that really inspired the idea to create a website and have a larger conversation. Gary’s story really affected me. Gary was NOT happy and though this sounds dramatic, his story haunted me. Life is so much more than about being “good” as it is finding “your happy”. And “finding happy” is much more messy, confusing, but more fulfilling than some narrow idea of being A Good Asian.
I want to share with you the stories about Asian Americans who take a variety of life journeys. I want these stories to be the ones that would’ve helped me as a middle school or high school kid to feel less alone and less pressured to fit into a suffocating and narrow box of being “A Good Asian.”