I’m taking this 3-day quote challenge one step further for this quote. As I’m thinking about quotes that truly mean something to me, I’ve realized that a lot of it has to do with my current environment and feelings. I figured, why not build upon these quotes and tell y’all what they mean to me? So here we go, with quote number 2.
This quote is by Pearl S. Buck, an American missionary who spent almost forty years of her life in China. She later won the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces.”
Nothing and no one can destroy the Chinese people. They are relentless survivors. Pearl S. Buck
Why this quote, you ask? Well, just last week, Fox News aired a segment of Watters’ World, where host Jesse Watters visits NYC’s Chinatown to ask how they feel about the upcoming election. This was an opportunity for Watters & Fox News to gauge how Asian-Americans view both the Republican nominee and the party itself, but what the segment turned into was a blatantly racist, stereotypical and downright rude and ignorant episode that should never had made its way to TV. Heck, it never should have even happened. (You can watch it right here.)
Really? You decide to open the segment with a “Kung Fu Fighting” flute intro, then proceed to ask some girls if you bow to say hello?? Then you make sure you fit every known stereotype of Asians in this episode, interspersed with even more stereotypical references? At this point, it’s no longer even funny, and then you decide to talk to Asian elders who obviously do not speak English, AND THEN MAKE FUN OF THEM FOR IT? (the speak, speak, why don’t you speak part is INCREDIBLY rude.) I’ll be willing to bet the segment is heavily edited too, to eliminate all the Asian-Americans who actually put Watters in his place, who could answer why they’re not voting for Trump this election season, who, well, acted as just another normal American.
This ain’t journalism here, Fox News. This ain’t comedy either, Jesse Watters.
This is bullying. This is racism.
But the fact that YOU think it’s funny, that FOXNEWS thinks its funny enough to air it, that YOUR VIEWERS probably think its both funny and affirmative of their ideas that Asian-Americans are meek, insulated from the outside world and unworthy to respect is largely reflective of society’s overall views towards Asian-Americans.
Racism towards Asian-Americans is nothing new. These stereotypes that most people think are “just jokes” are inherently tools of oppression: we’re supposed to be quiet and timid, unworthy of others’ respect. But of course, parts of society has managed to twist that, and make it seem as if it were a good thing. How? By calling us the “model minority.”
That title is bullshit. There is no such thing as a “model minority.” That gives the idea that the majority (Caucasians) are allowed to judge between the rest of the minorities and pick which one “is better” or “fits in your mold better.” In other words? Superiority complex. And more importantly, it’s exactly that label that has been holding us down. Asian-Americans aren’t known for being vocal: we just keep our heads down and work our asses off. I clearly remember being told by my parents that as an Asian-American, I would have to work four times as hard as any other American to get what I wanted.
That’s bullshit. “As any other American?” Am I not American, too?
I was born in the United States. Yet people still ask me (after I tell them I’m from Texas) where “I’m really from.”
I was born in the United States. Yet people still EXPECT me to get A’s on everything, because “Asians are smart.” As if I didn’t get the exact same public school education as any other American. As if my skin color could predict my intelligence.
And if think you’re starting to see something familiar, I’ll tell you what it is. The fight for equality by African-Americans, Latin-Americans, Asian-Americans, it’s all the same. We all want the American dream. Asian-Americans need to stop accepting these stereotypes, stop keeping their heads down, and stop embracing this so-called label of “model minority.”
Jesse Watters, if you ever want to talk to an Asian-American about politics, I’d be extremely happy to. Because, as an American, I have a lot to say about this election, politics and OUR country, too.
(Here’s a pretty good response to the Jesse Watters segment done by Ronny Chieng at The Daily Show. This is how Chinese-Americans actually feel about both the segment and this election, Jesse.)
But in the end, we need to start speaking up for ourselves, and join the fight for equality with all minorities. This American dream isn’t just for some Americans; it’s for all Americans. And it’s my dream, too.