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Featured Submission: The Passive Stereotype

Posted September 25th, 2009 by Peter · 5 Comments
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This is a submission about Asian Passiveness from our guest writer, Vannie Sung. We here in the SAPL Family hope you enjoy it and (hopefully) can relate!

Bowing is part of our culture- it’s a sign language for politeness, deference, and respect.

23293415A week ago, I had witnessed a store owner wrongfully accusing a mother’s toddlers of vandalizing property before the mall security officer. I was ready to offer myself to testify as a witness in case someone moved forward with charges, but my parents chided me for being “nosy”- since it wasn’t my business to be involved.

Every time I think about this, I’m reminded why the American public shies away from politics. Even the word “politics” is a dirty one, riddled with shame and corruption. For this reason, many choose not to meddle. And what happens? Apathy forms, leading to a passive society cynical of its government.

This is especially true in the Asian-American community. Asians in America are invisible (not just because of our height). It may be because of the language barrier or the ingrained Asian value of modesty, but surely that’s no excuse for Asians not to step up and be heard. There are Asian activists out there, but there are too few. For example, John Liu, one of New York City’s leading councilmen (and the only Asian) related how during caucus meeting time he sat at the table himself because there was no Asian caucus (unlike the already established caucuses other minority groups had congregated).









Asians don’t see themselves as part of the American community, and that leaves us first-generation Asian-Americans wondering where we belong; even worse, who we are. Isn’t it time to bridge these gaps of communication? How else are we able to voice our concerns for our Asian counterparts who lack our English fluency skills- on the issues of hate crimes on Chinese delivery takeout busboys?

True, we shouldn’t butt in where we’re not wanted,  but there’s a place and time to intervene in the right circumstances- and passivity is definitely something not to “bow” down to.

Any thoughts? Click here to voice your opinion!

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Tags: Customs · Environment · Featured Topic · Habits · History · Open Dialogue · People · Politics · Relationships · Social

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gaurav Ahuja // Sep 26, 2009 at 10:42 am

    Politics is a dirty word for a reason. It usually refers to the politics of state/government. States are institutions, by definition, that violate the natural rights of mankind. Orientals and other Asians, that happen to be American citizens, should stay away from the corrupting area of American politics. You can make a stand for your people without getting involved directly or indirectly with state politics.

  • 2 Anonymous // Sep 27, 2009 at 8:43 am

    America is an individualistic culture where they predominantly socialize their members to view themselves as individuals and to prioritize their personal goals. Asian countries have a more collective culture where they predominantly socialize their members to view themselves as members of the larger social group and to place the group’s concern before their own. Therefore, in collectivistic cultures a direct confrontation will usually be avoided. It’s a matter of finding a balance and taking a culture our parents were raised in and adapting it to a culture we are living in.

  • 3 presposterous // Oct 14, 2009 at 11:09 am

    I think it’s preposterous that Asians don’t take a more active role in US government. The subjugation of the Japanese is due to post-WW2 sentiment in which the US disarmed Japan in exchange for providing defense. So Japan’s defense force is small and relies on US military bases which also later segued into the strong US-Japan alliance.

    Regardless I’m tired of seeing Asians always taking subservient, dog-like roles. We’re always engineers, or doctors. What about government officials, town officials, senators, congressmen, etc? Any Asian with loads of cash can go out there and stake a position through massive advertisement campaigns, and Asians have a strong ability to relate to at least conservative ideals in America and would be able to energize the conservative base through harping on about ideals of hard work leading to success.

    Honestly I don’t get it. If I had the money I’d enter public service.

  • 4 Peter // Nov 15, 2009 at 2:21 am

    Well for me, its in my bones to be modest. Not that I was ever particularly confident, but Asians don’t generally enjoy being in the spotlight. To be a successful politician, you have to want to be in the spotlight, you have to be confident beyond your knowledge. Cause most of the time, you’re going to be talking about issues that you don’t know a whole lot about.

    Its good to want to be more active in politics, but that will have to come from 2nd, 3rd or later generations of Asian Americans as they become more Americanized.

  • 5 baby walker // Feb 20, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    Boy first encountered financial problems, reflecting the desire to purchase something. Will go from just beginning, he would want this or that – food, fun, and so on. This time he did not know what the money in the end, he seems to think that money from the parents to come out of pocket, you can use it in exchange for a lot of good things.

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