Thursday, September 25, 2008


I've realized that in my four years at the University, I've experienced a unique time where I broke many of the Asian stereotypes that a lot of people have - even Asians. Okay, maybe not "broke" completely... stereotypes are a hard thing to get rid of completely, but just to give you a few excerpts from my life these past couple years...

... every time I walk into an English class, especially the higher level ones, there is almost always only one Asian in the class - me. It got to the point where I was discriminated against in my creative writing class, where the teacher, because of my race, didn't think I could write as well as my peers (and not to be cocky or anything, but I could write just as well as any of them) and graded me down for it. When I asked her if I could write about something other than drinking (yes, that was one of our topics) she refused and when I turned in my work, said my work was cliche. Anyway, moving on, in most of my upper-level English classes, I've been one of the few Asians (I think the most I've encountered in a class was 2, in a 25 person class).

... same goes with my upper-level psychology classes.

... I am one of three Asians in a group of 80+ peer tutors at the Sweetland Writing Center. We had an event last Wednesday where all the tutors, paid and those doing it for credit, got together and had orientation. Looking around the room, I couldn't help but feel a little awkward...

... At my job as a computer Consultant at the Fishbowl, the job is predominantly male, and an even smaller percentage of Asian females. I think at our last job training where everyone showed up, there were two - me and another girl.

... I'm the only person in my AIV class who is going into education, and one of 3-4 people who is not pre-med (nothing against pre-med students! You guys have my full respect and admiration - I would never be able to do what you guys are doing!)

As much as I don't want to make it about numbers, sometimes I do feel weird. Like, I'm perfectly capable at all I do, except because I'm an Asian, and a girl, some of the things I'm involved in seem kind of "out-of-character" for me because of my race. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head, but I don't know if it makes sense written down. I can't begin to tell you how many people I've told about the things I'm involved in (such as my job and tutoring) and they've said, "Wait, really?" I know it's not intentional, and I'm not by any means hurt or offended. I see what they say - small Asian female, what does she know about computers? Is her English that good?

Yeah, I guess I don't fit the mold of a stereotypical "Asian American Female," but I'm starting to embrace it. God gave me different gifts, and a boldness to develop them. And for that, I can say I've gone through college with no regrets. I've done things that few people have had the chance to do, and I've had fun with it. And I will continue to. :) I hope that by doing what I'm doing, I can inspire more people who don't seem to fit the mold to have the boldness to do what they like and excel at what they're gifted at.

1 comment:

tiff pan said...

thanks mel for sharing that.i've been thinking about stereotypes too lately.specifically today when i was walking back from class.
i want to do law.i'm going to an lsa academic advising session tomorrow (hopefully i won't be too tired after going to meijiers).