Stereotyping: American Society
When it comes to prejudice, and discrimination, stereotypes are perhaps the most widely practiced form of prejudice and discrimination in America today. What are the various stereotypes used against Asian-Pacific American men and women? What impact does it have on the APA community and society as a whole? How is APA masculinity & femininity viewed by society and the APA community? Are there any solutions?
Stereotyping is a phenomenon that entails generalization about a group of people. The American society today is quite diverse. This means that an American community comprises of individuals from different cultures. Unfortunately, in a diverse community, there is a risk of stereotyping as a form of prejudice and discrimination to arise. Stereotyping in the society occurs when information about a group is inadequate. Stereotyping occurs when the society creates their own perception of what a certain group is like (McGowan, & Lindgren, 2006). In the American society today, the Asian-Pacific American (APA) men and women faced various stereotypes.
One common stereotype used against the Asian-Pacific Americans is the model minority. This stereotype is the cultural expectation placed on Asian-Pacific Americans. The American society believes PAN to be smart and skilled in sciences and mathematics. They also believe that PAN has a higher probability of attaining the American dream due to their persistency and hard work. Unfortunately, not all about the model minority is positive. The society believes Asian-Pacific Americans to be docile, submissive and obedient. This trait is particularly placed on the Asian-Pacific woman (Jones, & Sue, 2012). This mentality has, unfortunately, created a perception of Asian-Pacific women as receptive objects. The aspect of objectification of women also fosters stereotyping in PAN. Asian-Pacific women suffer harassment due to their perception as exotic, hyper erotic women who desire sexual domination.
The minority model stereotype may be detrimental to the well being of the Asian-Pacific American. It results to an increased level of stress. The society already has the perception of what entails to be an Asian-Pacific American. An Asian-Pacific American risks succumbing to stress as s/he tries to live up to societal expectation. A student, for instance, may succumb to stress and depression for failing to succeed in science and mathematics subjects like the society expects (McGowan, & Lindgren, 2006). Stress and depression are mental problems that can lead to suicide if not timely addressed.
The assumption that Asian-Pacific Americans are into science and mathematics has led to the community neglecting art subjects as well as sports. An Asian individual may be interested in an art subject. However, in an effected to fit in the minority model stereotype, he abandons his desires and focuses on sciences. Family members, school counselors, and professors have also been affected by the minority model to the extent that they guide the Asian-Pacific American students towards the sciences.
The Asian-Pacific Americans also face stereotypical perceptions in the work place. At the workplace, the perpetual foreigner syndrome persists and organizations consider Asians are as inassimilable. Asian Americans tend to experience the glass ceiling when it comes to going up the ladder. Most Asian Americans end up with average management jobs (Jones, & Sue, 2012).
The society views the Asian male as a less desirable male compared to the Asian female. There is also the perception that the Asian male is abusive and thus less preferred by other American communities. This perception has left few Asian men with an opportunity to marry from other culture. Most of them end up marrying their own Asian women. The Asian women, on the other hand, appear submissive and loyal. Men thus view her as the ideal partner.
Jones, J. & Sue, D. (2012). Dual pathway to a better America: preventing discrimination and diversity. The American psychological association.
McGowan, M. & Lindgren, J. (2006). Testing the model minority myth. Northwestern University Law review. Vol. 100(1).
Describe the experiences of Asian American women from early immigration to the current generation. What are the obstacles and issues that APA women have overcome and or have yet to overcome?
The first Asian immigrants in US arrived in 1880’s. However, most immigrants were men who worked as low skilled laborers. The Asian women did not arrive in US until much later. In the 19th century, Asian women were prohibited from migrating to other nations. The migration of Asian women to US occurred due to violence and turmoil. The women were exposed to violence and turmoil in their native countries. However, as they migrated to the US they failed to discuss the effects of violence. This put them at risk of post traumatic stress disorder. Mental disorders are abhorred and considered a stigma in Asian culture (Chi, & Robinson, 2012).
Currently, one of the issues affecting Asian women is depression. Asian American women are said to have the highest levels of depression and suicide. The high rates of depression and suicide in Asian women is attributed to their upbringing. The traditional Asian family life existed on the basis of discussing life accomplishments and awards. The families rarely discuss problems and challenges that they are facing. This meant that women with issues affecting them had no alternative but to shelf them and struggle to cope. According to the department of health and human services, death as a result of depression occurs in Asian women aged from 15-24. Women in this age group get depressed and since there receive no assistance; they commit suicide (Pyke, & Johnson, 2004). Asian women as old as 65 years of age have the highest suicide rates than any other ages.
In the society today, Asian women are affected by sexism and stereotyped as submissive and hyper feminine. This perception is strongly held by men from other cultures. They view the Asian woman as intelligent, mysterious, exotic and wise. The men also have the perception that the Asian women come from a culture that believed the woman’s place is to serve men. Men from other cultures thus strive to date an Asian woman in an effort to satisfy these fantasies. Dating websites encourage white men to date Asian women (Chi, & Robinson, 2012). They describe the Asian woman as established and hard working looking for real love. The websites also portrays Asian women to have a higher sense of their feminity and naturally gentle and caring.
The society has romanticized Asian women, and they are thus faced with two alternative. The first is to blend and fit in the stereotypical image that the society expects. This may prove impossible in the changing world where the Asian women have to adopt the lifestyle of different cultures so as to make it in life. The second alternative the Asian women are faced with is to ignore the fantasy and unrealistic perception of the society (Nikolchev, 2012). The persistent objectification of Asian women is one of the obstacles that the Asian women have to overcome. The society already has predetermined characteristics of the Asian women; most of which are wrong.
The experiences of Asian American women from early migration to the current generation have been difficult. First, immigration of women had been prohibited. This was because women were required to stay at homes and cater for their homes. The gender roles had thus been predetermined long ago. As they began to migrate to US, they were faced with various health issues such as depression and suicide (Pyke, & Johnson, 2004). The Asian women are regarded as home makers and are not expected to be the cause of problems to their family. With this in mind, the Asian women shared less on their problems resulting to depression and in severe cases suicide. Currently, the Asian women are trying to overcome objectification which is strongly rooted in the western culture.
Chi, S. & Robinson, E. (2012). Voices of the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience. ABC-CLIO.
Nikolchev, A. (2012). Among Asian American women, depression. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/health/among-asian-american-women-a-little-known-battle-with-depression/4200/
Pyke, K. & Johnson, D. (2004). Asian American women and racialized feminities. Gender and Society. Vol. 17(1):33-53.