Racial Inequality as Faced by Asians and Asian Americans

Racism can be described as the belief in the superiority or inferiority of a certain race as compared to another inadvertently contributing to the presence of contemporary racial stereotypes. In addition, a human being’s moral and social traits are predetermined by the existent inert biological character traits. Thus, there is a need to maintain, promote, and exercise the sense of uniqueness in every person, though this contributes to the presence of at times negative stereotyping. Throughout history, racism (and in effect negative racial stereotyping) has gained notoriety for the implications it has left in different jurisdictions. Acting as a catalyst, it has ignited wars, ethnic skirmishes, and even genocide among many other evils. During the last five centuries, racism has been used by the Western Powers towards non-Westerners in a larger and more meaningful ways than any other time in history.

It is necessary to note that there have been different forms of racism and thus racial stereotyping, such as that witnessed among Europeans, Europeans and Asians, and Arabs and Africans among others. Most famous of all the forms was explicitly espoused in the North Atlantic Slave Trade resulting in the speedy modernization, civilization, and industrialization of the New World. Based on the belief that Black Africans were not on the same level as other human beings (negative racial stereotyping), the enslavement of millions continued from almost 1000 years ago. As will be detailed below, Asians and Asian Americans are on the receiving end as per the consequences, implications, and effects that racism has on them (Shah, 2010).

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The front page photo of immigrant Ki Suk Han, of Korean American origin, at his last living moment proved sensitive enough as to elicit widespread debate in the world’s two most viewed channels CNN and Sina Weibo (its Chinese online equivalent). In these two different platforms, the guests and commentators alike seemed to think so. Pushed onto the on-coming train’s tracks, the victim had less than a minute to save himself. The perpetrator in this case was Black American Naeem Daxis as the accident happened after the two had been embroiled in an argument.

Much public attention was focused on the correctness of the New York Post, an American media outlet, in featuring the photo at its front cover page. Moreover, the headline “Pushed on the subway track, this man is about to die” caused even more negative emotions. The choice of the photo was also considered inappropriate and raised some burning racial issues; this pertaining to the presence of racial stereotyping in American society. On Weibo, a large number of people shared their reactions, comments, and views. For example, two American citizens of Chinese origin held a lively discussion on problems elicited by racism, and its associated racial stereotyping; this on the consequential results and impacts it has on people of Asian descent.

Furthermore, their views on the media’s portrayal of America’s diverse cultures and races were critical and left more question than answers. A unifying and criticizing view was that the photo’s use was quite insensitive, especially along the headline, “This man is about to die” (Blatt, 2012). Some other people were of the view that it was disrespectful and at the same time a mockery of the victim. Americans seem to harbor a sort of animosity towards Asia in general and China in particular. This may be due to nationalistic and most often xenophobic ideals or views that have existed over long periods in American society and thus adding to the negative racial stereotyping of Asians in general (Blatt, 2012).

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The attitude mentioned above may be based on the biased notion of America’s fear of internationally expanding and economically developing China. Its economic outlook and by extension Asia’s outlook have led to many Americans fearing and anticipating the economic power block. As a result, a lot of advertisements in America, especially in politically delicate situations, often disapprove candidates or party that support employment of Chinese; this a furtherance to negative racial stereotyping of Asians in general.

An example can be Jeremy Lin’s outstanding performance in basketball, which is a traditionally American sport. A single game turned a relatively unknown player into a superstar overnight. However, regardless of his successes, the American media portray him unfavorably. This can be proved by the headline ‘Chink in the armor,’ which caused many responses notably from ESPN (Freeman, 2012).

Another example is a theme party hosted by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, which elicited strong reactions from the Asian community living in American Duke Kunshan University. Not only were the fliers racially insensitive, but the accompanying emails sent to all invitees were offensive as well. Originally, the party’s theme was ‘Kappa Sigma Asia Prime’, though it was changed to ‘International Relations.’ The explicit symbolism was used in the choice of dressing and attire, as posted on Facebook and later printed to become fliers. None of those shown in the photo could be associated with the Asian community; yet they were wearing attires typical of Asian culture and heritage. Another outrageous thing was the activities in which the characters in the picture were engaged. This provided a perfect example of racial stereotyping that was explicitly negative in nature.

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A large number of people are of the view that the aforementioned fraternity party and other similar events are becoming avenues for the manifestation of racism through a negative portrayal of racial stereotypes. The use of slang and other certain words is also a worrying trend. The word ‘nigger’ or ‘nigga’ is slang that is loosely used not only among Black Americans, but also among Asians and Hispanics (Parke, 2013). In the hip-hop culture and music, the word is commonly used meaning ‘a friend’ or ‘a relative.’ In addition, there is the ever-changing Mexican Slang, which has continued to take on different dimensions, tones, and even satirical meanings. The young are the primary users of this kind of language that is different in this case due to their culturalization, socialization, and utility of such media as the Internet and digital media outlets.

In conclusion, numerous portrayals of a demographic group in a particularly negative and stereotypical manner continue to elicit heated debates and, therefore, should be viewed with caution. Any stereotyping is likely to lead to racism, which is unacceptable in the modern world.

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