By Airec Sype
I am Asian-American.
What does that mean exactly? Shit, I don’t really know.
I guess if you break AA down to its two root words, my ethnicity is composed of Asian and American. (Also being American can mean a bunch of different things, in this sense I’m talking about mainstream “white-America,” I guess. But I’m not trying to be racist here, or at least not too racist).
So I’m Asian-American. Parents were born in Asia, I was born in America; I have spiky hair and sharp eyes, but I don’t have an Asian accent . . . most of the time, sometimes it just slips out, just the tip (;P). All of these things that compose me are borrowed cultural stereotypes and figures that mix the two worlds into my own.
Even though two different cultures are infused in me, you can say that I am not really Asian or American. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? The bewildering thought of assimilation or cultural segregation is one that many children of “color” (like me) are confronted with every day: Do I strive to become a part of mainstream America (again, what the hell is mainstream America? I know with my short height and yellow skin I’m not “white” but I am still an American) or do I isolate myself from the crazy melting-pot-culture of America and choose to stick with the familiar and become another Asian?
I don’t know.
Not many of us children of mixed heritage know. For we do want to be a part of this modern day America, but we also don’t want to lose touch with our parents’ culture that they have brought with them as they dreamed for a better life for their children. For if I were to lose my Asian heritage, then I would just be a goofy-Asian-looking-white-boy who doesn’t know where he came from besides his fathers balls. Yeah, that’s kind of weird to think of. I already get hateful looks of disdain and disgust when Chinese people, mistaking me for their own, try to speak to me in their language and I respond to them with a blank face and Engurish.
See, even Asians can be racist against other Asians.
But this Asian heritage- what is it really? I can tell you one thing: there is a lot of fucking pressure. It’s not easy growing up with society labeling you the model minority. Just like how American society assumes that most African-Americans are good at sports, or how Jewish people are good at saving money, Asian Americans are also stigmatized and branded with stereotypical pressures that can sometimes be overwhelming.
Am I good at ping pong? No. Am I good at racing rice rockets? No. Am I good at math? Ehh, kinda but that’s not the point. But I’m good at beer pong, I’m good at wrestling (a popular American sport to participate in during high school, and I should probably say I was good since I’m fat and doughy now) and not Judo (an Asian martial arts). I can continue but you get what I mean.
American society isn’t solely to blame for this “Asian” social pressure on us hybrid kids; our own culture has a hand in it as well. (And anyone with an Asian mother knows we fear that hand). We all have heard the stereotypes of strict Asian parents, the tiger moms. Our parents may not necessary want us to be super Asians, but they do pressure us to become doctors or get A’s (because B is for bitch) on our report cards . . . cause if we don’t, we get the fly-swatter. Haha, just kidding . . . actually not really.
With all of these obligations and demands that outside forces put on us, as an individual, to become the perfect model-minority-Asian-American, it’s really easy to disappoint. Not only does this mentality create a competitive atmosphere with other Asian Americans, but it also creates a negative internal dialogue within ourselves. Which is probably why suicide amongst Asian Americans is so high.
I mean, how do I become the perfect Asian if joining a fraternity wasn’t in the plans of becoming a doctor? Is it really that shameful if your child that was spawned into this free world of America decides to become an English major and instead of a doctor or a lawyer or a scientist? Oh no, how will you tell the (Asian) neighbors?? We’re not some trump cards in your mahjong game of who-has-the-more-successful-kid!!!
Actually, I had to lie to my parents about joining a fraternity and told them that it was a club for future teachers. Luckily my parents were from villages with huts and shit so they don’t know what Myspace and Facebook are. Also on a side note, I joined a social fraternity and not an ethnic fraternity. If I wanted to hangout with other Asian people, I could go to Chinatown or join the ASU, I don’t need to pay for that; my money went to fund my adventures with brothers from another ethnic mother and to help me find women who aren’t ASIAN!!!
So as you can see, I have a lot of short-comings to being the perfect model minority. And I’m sure some of you out there (you don’t have to be particularly Asian-American, I know some kids who are failing as Mexican-Americans) also face the same trials and tribulations of modern day second-generation life. If there was a report card for being the ultimate Asian-American and pleasing my Asian parents, I probably would get an F.
But the F doesn’t always have to stand for Failure; it could also stand for Fucking (Awesome).
Now what is this blog? This blog, SorryAsianParents, is going to be a documentation that is composed of my thoughts and feelings, although not all of my thoughts and feelings within this blog are going to be about my journey to becoming the perfect Asian-American. Some of my posts will be of some random shit I thought of while I was sitting on the MUNI or the toilet. A lot of random but funny stuff.
Hopefully they will be humorous for your entertainment and hopefully they will have a slim number of grammatical errors (because everyone knows I speak and write Engurlish).
The name of my blog was birthed during my last year in coolage (I know it’s spelled wrong) while I was bored in class and Instagramming a picture about graduation. See – I wasn’t paying attention in class – bad Asian! I created the hashtag #SorryAsianParents to describe a picture that thanked Red Bull and Wikipedia for the credit of one’s graduation success. I dedicated that picture to my parents because my wit did not help me graduate alone and I needed the help of study aids.
*Note: I did not create the picture
Whether it was subconsciously made or just a fluke accident due to my random collective thoughts firing without a filter, I created something hilarious that generated positive reception. I’m just glad not many people were offended.
So here it is, my new writing project that will not only explore the existence of Asian-Americans living and surviving in mainstream America but also exploring the random idiotic thoughts of Airec Syprasert. Enjoy the ride folks because it’s going to be an interesting one. And if I’ve revealed too much about myself or about my family then I might as well say it now, “Sorry Asian Parents.”