[Opinion] Asians continue to be subjected to racism in American society

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Throughout time, racism against Asians has become normalized in American society. Graphic by Ivy Lam

Ivy Lam

Throughout the course of history, many assumptions and stereotypes have been established and continually reinforced for certain ethnicities. In America, racism against Asians has become normalized, even if we haven’t acknowledged it just yet. While seemingly harmless comments about our skin tone have been made, the effects of these snide remarks have mutated into casual banter.

Asians are popularly stereotyped as math geniuses, cold hearted or frugal. We are always the ones expected to do well in our academic careers and get into the best colleges. Our need for success does not only come from our cultural background, but also from society’s expectation of us to be a model minority.

Many times, a sly comment about our slanted, smaller eyes are made. Beauty standards have already been set in place in America, and our facial features do not necessarily fit in. Yes, many Asians do have monolids. Yes, when we smile, there’s a great possibility you may not see the irises of our eyes. We are aware of our unique appearance, but we do not accept when others purposefully pull their eyes in an attempt to mimic our features. 

Please don’t tell us that we can’t see or that we eat dogs. Even if you are a friend or a family member, it is not okay to normalize racist sayings or actions. Contrary to popular belief, Asians can see and can have pets as other ethnicities do. What happens in our native countries that spark these assumptions do not define who we are as people.

When you make fun of Asian eyes or crack jokes about eating dogs, it hurts on the inside, but our resilience doesn’t allow us to give in. Most of the time, we laugh alongside you and don’t take it to heart. But this is not okay because we have gotten use to the discrimination. It is not okay for our classmates or colleagues to think our culture is a joke.

Our Asian culture has given the world much of the pleasures it enjoys today. If you look at the bottom of an appliance, the words “Made in China” are likely to be found. Asians have brought food such as ramen, boba, sushi, spring rolls and fortune cookies to America. Billions of products exported from Asian countries like China have transformed every aspect of our lives, yet we face backlash for our ancestry.

Despite all the good we have done for the economy, Asians are still targeted. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, hate crimes against our people have skyrocketed. Since the outbreak, people of Asian descent have been attacked, verbally and physically, across the nation.

Due to the origins of COVID-19 being traced back to China, numerous individuals blame the Asian community for its impact on the world. Back in March of 2020, President Donald Trump claimed that COVID-19 was the “Chinese Virus” on Twitter. Even when we already face racism in our everyday lives, the president further worsens our situation. Asians were spat on, attacked and insulted. Normalized racism, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, has instituted fear everywhere we go.

Time and time again, Asian Americans have been discriminated against all over the country. It has become normal for people to throw racist insults into conversations, expecting no retaliation. The continuation of this abuse should not be tolerated in any culture, especially in the Asian community.