Stereotyping has always and will always be a part of our culture, simply because we are all humans. Therefore making it human nature by instinct. The Typical stereotypes that have been said about Asian Americans are that we are hardworking, quiet, short and that we can not play sports. That we are book smart but not street smart which in turn is a result to an assumption that we can not drive. One of the stereotypes that people have about me as an Asian is that I can not play sports. As an Asian American, I was born to motivate myself through playing sports.
I excel in numerous sports such as track and field and also in basketball. During my elementary school years I was involved in track and field from which I received five gold medals. Two of my medals were from the 5,000 meter dash, two more of them were from the 4 by 400 meter dash relay and my fifth one was from the 100 meter dash. When I reached high school I decided to switch sports. It was then that basketball became my passion. After trying out for my high school team and making the cut, I was able to experience a new opportunity. The opportunity in being able to compete with other countries.
My team and I were eligible to compete in the Junior Southeast Asian games. We competed with team members who came from China, Mongolia, Laos, Japan, Cambodia and Vietnam. I would play my heart out during every practice and especially every game. I was soon rewarded for my talent. I was named Best in Sports and Athlete of the Year when I graduated from high school. One of my favorite examples that came into contrast to the stereotype that Asians can not play sports is Yao Ming. Yao Ming who plays center for the Houston Rockets team is also one of the best professional basketball players in the NBA.
His ability to block and shoot from the perimeter overcomes the average of a typical center players ability during a game. Yao Ming is clearly a prime example of a contrast towards this stereotype. Therefore making Asian Americans capable of playing and competing in sports. Another example of a stereotype that most people assume about me is that I am short. My family happens to be unique in that standard. I stand at 5’9 and my father stands at 5’10. From my mother’s side of the family, I have three cousins who are very tall. One of them is 6’0, the other is 6’2 and my third cousin stands at 6’5.
From my father’s side of the family, my relatives stand at an average from 5’8 to 5’10. I would say that I am blessed to have such dominating growth hormones in my family which helped make me who I am today. When I was in elementary school, I was ranked as one of the smallest and shortest in my class. Every time we would have to fall in height line, I was always in the front. I was told that males are late bloomers, which later turned out to be true. Within a couple of years I shot straight up and was considered to be one of the tallest in my class.
I always wanted to be tall because I love to play basketball and track and field. My height allowed me to make the position as a point guard for my basketball team. As for track and field, one of the benefits of having long legs was that it helped me run distances at a faster pace. If we take a look at the Chinese race, a good majority of the people are average height, if not tall. One prime example is Yao Ming. Therefore making it a myth that all Asians are short. The last stereotype from which I may occassionally get misjudged by is how Asian Americans can not drive.
Many people believe that Asians are slow and accident prone. Statistically speaking according to the demographics statistics in Maryland (www. infoplease. com) it states that the White population has 98 percent, the black population has 64 percent and the Asian population only has 4 percent. I started to drive by the age of 18. Since then I have not had any accidents, only minor ticket charges. I drive everyday from my home to my job. I can only describe the traffic here in Maryland from my point of view, which is that most drivers do not follow the traffic rules.
In an Asian country the traffic rules are different compared to the traffic rules here in the United States. Most Asian Americans who immigrated here have a different way of driving. For example, in China they normally use bicycles for transportation. In Japan, they have narrow roads compared to our wide freeways here in the states. Where I am from in the Philippines, pedestrians do not have the right of way. They must be cautious before crossing the street at all times. Therefore Asian Americans, like myself who are or were new residents here in the states are misjudged by our driving skills.
It is not to say that we do not know how to drive, it only means that we have been driving by our traffic rules from back in our countries. Having to adjust to the United States traffic rules is a major transition. In summary, many of the typical stereotypes that people have about Asian Americans, including myself are false. For Example, most of us can play sports. Not all of us are short; and our driving skills are a work in progress, we are cautious and aware of certain consequences if failed to drive by the traffic rules.
At many times I perceive these stereotypes as ignorance simply because of a cultural norm. I always try to withhold any judgment until I get to know the person. Stereotyping will always be a part of our culture, simply because we are all human. However we can always try to prevent this by trying to educate ourselves about the different cultures and heritages. Through education our relationships with different cultures will enhance the progress of our nation and undo the damage in our hearts.