That Goth Kid Over There or That Asian Goth Kid Over There? Race, Cliques, and How We’re Still Viewed as the Other White Meat

When we see white people in America from Generation X or Y, we stereotype them by cliques. Their dress gives us the clues we need to tuck them into a specific social category, like prep, goth, nerd, punk, hippie, and so on. When we see non-white people in America from Generation X or Y, no matter what they’re wearing, we stereotype them by race and leave it at that. Unless, of course, that non-white person is Asian, in which case we judge that person by race and clique, because “Asian kids are gaining ground in white culture” and “Asians are the closest to white people.” That is why Asians “are more easily able to transcend their race and find themselves in another social category.”

At least this is the contention of an op-ed article I ran into this morning at the Vanguard, see here.

Putting aside my opinion that this is a load of crap, I’m curious about why: 1) the author of this article, who I presume is white based on context, thinks Asians are more like white people than, say, Latinos or Eastern Europeans, and 2) by Asians, he must mean the yellow ones and not the brown ones and why did he completely and unabashedly omit brown Asians?

Second, the borderline defined by the author is wrong. People who see race more prominently than social cliques will see race first, even if that individual is Asian. Whites who see race more prominently may not call out the race of other white folks, but non-whites certainly do. “See that white hipster boy over there?” we say. People who see cliques more prominently than race may likely exclude race entirely. I’ve seen that happen before, too.

All in all, though, I’m glad Asians “are more easily able to transcend their race.” I mean, that’s why we have sites like APIA Blog Network, Angry Asian Man, the Model Minority forum, APAs for Progress, Hyphen, and heck, 8Asians, and why every established university in this country has to have an Asian American studies program. What kind of Asians have this author been mingling with? The white-washed ones?

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About akrypti

small town roots. enthusiast of many trades. oh, and yeah, high-maintenance like you wouldn't believe. tweet with me @akrypti.
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