Asian Americans health Stereotyping
Stereotyping can be defined as having an attitude, or a specific perception towards those who seem different or exclusive of one’s experience. This attitude primarily seems to be usually pejorative, and with over simplified social perceptions. A stereotype can be defined as this belief of looking and classifying people into specific groups, or in accordance with the characteristics which they seem to posses. This characterization emanates an attitude of classifying people outside ones experience, in perception of how they carry out their practices or behave on a daily basis. What people need to understand is that these beliefs do not accurately present the reality, in as much as they harbor similarities. People also need to understand that the definitions accorded these stereotypes are fundamentally psychological. Therefore, this means that there are different theories and concepts that come with stereotyping in the psychological disciplines. Some of these concepts and theories may tend to share some commonalities, while at the same time contradicting one another depending on the stereotyping in question. This case study look at different stereotypes involving different groups in the society, more so focusing on the Asian American community.
The Asian American group can be defined as the American population which is made up of people who can trace their ancestral background to the Asian continent (Prasso, 2005). This incorporates the people who inhabit different parts of this continent, although people from the Far East tend to have large populations in the Americas that those of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. However, the Asian American population includes those people with different entities like Filipino, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean and other Asian entities. These people normally tick their race in formal documents as “Asians” and they make up about 6% of the American population. That is at least 19 million Americans with an Asian descent. Each of these groups has got their own history of how first they came to this country.
However, the main factor remains that when they came to these lands, they intermarried with native people and ended up starting families in this country. Some of these groups can even be traced to have had discovered this country even long before Christopher Columbus had gone back with its report in Europe in 1652. In fact, history shows that the “luzonians” landed in Morro Bay, California as early as 1587. They were followed by the “East Indians” in 1635 and later the Filipinos followed and other people with Asian descent followed around 1760s (Danico, 2004). This population also had to fight its way in the Americas so as to be recognized as a legit group in this country. This is bearing in mind that there was a lot of discrimination going on in this country’s political, economic and even social development during its foundation. However, the Asian American population among other ethnic groups witnessed a lot of positive changes more so after the Hart-Celler Act. This act was adopted in 1965, and it removed strict immigration rules, more so against people of Asian national origin. This extensively based on skills and family connections with members who were already in the United States. This is what saw to the increase in this population.
There are many stereotypes in the United States of America concerning people who can trace their origin to Asia. To understand this cases study better, we need to figure out the different categories of stereotyping. There are many categories which are associated with stereotyping. They include; one’s sexual orientation, race, sex, religion, age and physical capabilities. However, it seems as if race and sex attract a lot more of stereotyping than any other, and as a result they have become more controversial and prevalent in our society. Physical capabilities as a stereotype also seem to be catching up with these two in terms of attracting attention. If we were to take sex for example, I believe this stereotype continues to exist because of distinguishable personal characteristics. There have been numerous studies trying to figure out why and in what means sex is such a controversial stereotype when people are always calling for gender equality. In 1992, The William and Gender study provided some results that tried to shed some light on the matter. This study portrayed the male gender as independent, domineering, adventurous and more powerful than their female counterparts. The study also characterized the female gender as superstitious, sentimental and submissive as compared to their male counterparts. I also believe that the sex stereotype exists because either man still view women as inferior especially when they read religious teachings like the Bible or the Quran, or women still feel they should be submissive to the male gender
Other than sex, this research also provided results on what they believed were a clear cut representation on racial stereotyping. They argued that in as much as the stereotyping theories may be untrue, the world cannot shy away from the fact that some races prevail much better in particular activities than others. For example, if we were to focus on the United States of America athletic wise, the African-Americans seem to have special skills and abilities in executing the same. They seem to do well in sports like; football, basketball and even in racing tracks among other athletics activities when compared to any other race in the United States of America. They also seem to have special skills in making music in our country when compared to other races. The Williams and Best racial study also classified the Germans as more efficient and methodically resourceful when compared to other races. Other racial and stereotypic studies have also classified the Jews as focused and ambitious when compared to other races in the United States of America. Having gauged the above arguments, I belief this stereotype exists because either our communities pushes use in believing that is how things are, or there is too much pride that cannot let a person pursue something that is perceived as belonging to a particular race.
Physical appearance is another category of stereotyping, which seems to influence peoples’ lives on a daily basis. This is especially on how different races, gender, and religions socialize to one another. For example, most women prefer being in relationships with partners who are of more appearing body mass. That is well built muscles and showing signs of physical fitness, for they believe they have unique and strong genes for procreation. There is also a belief that African- Americans do well athletically for they seem to have a broader physical appearances. I feel that this stereotype continues to exist because of how our societies have continued to portray strong and huge men. For example if we were to look at our movies or even the stories that are told in our novels, strong men are associated with indomitable characteristics. This makes many people and especially women believe and put in practice what they here; going after huge and strong men.
Having studied all the above categories of stereotyping, it would take a miracle to change these beliefs that people have. One thing that stands out though; stereotyping is brought about by the kind of attitude that people have towards a particular race, religion, physical ability and sex. If people’s perception towards these categories changed, I believe sex, race and physical appearance stereotyping can be stopped. Changing the people attitude over this issue remains a challenge since it has already stuck in their minds. Looking at the Asian American people, there are many stereotypes that people associated them with, although some of them sometimes seem to be undisputable facts. For instance, when it comes to studies, Asian-Americans are considered as the group that always emerges victorious even in standardized tests. A good example would be the Japanese and the Chinese who are always assumed to do better in mathematics and science when compared to other American students.
When it comes to any form of testing, whether it is comparing Japanese students who are within the American borders or even those abroad, there is a stereotype which says that the Japanese students as well as many other Asian students have always performed better than American students (Bryfonski, 2012). I have had an experience with students with Asian descent in class and they always seem to perform better than other races in this country, more so in this country. In definition, standardized testing is a terminology used to refer to any test that is given to all test takers in the same manner, testing the knowledge of a certain population or a class (Bryfonski, 2012). Since it is the same test that is offered to students on the same level with the intention of finding out their understanding to different educational topics, there is no reason as to why one group of students should feel more pressured than others. This is because; a standardized test is only given to students who have undergone the same teachings, although the teaching methods as well as the resources that are implemented in these learning institutions may vary. Therefore, if we were to look at both the Japanese students’ way of life, they are not in that much different in the kind of lives that the Americans lead. This is because, the two countries, social status is not that much different from each other. Both of these countries are in the same bracket of the most developed, economically, politically in term of democracy. However, these Japanese students always tend to do better in sciences and mathematics that other races.
This also means that their social lives are almost equally developed because economic success leads to political success and also social success. Either way, even with an almost similar way of life, Japanese students as well as all other Asian students still perform better than other races in the United States. In fact, comparing different situations that are witnessed even in the American schools were there are different races; American students tend to perform way poorer than students of Asian origin (Eagly et al, 2004). This is also bearing in mind that there are many different races in the United States of America. There are also black students, Hispanic students and other races, and they all fall under the title of “American students”. This is not forgetting that there are also many other Japanese students as well as other Asian students in America, and they still emerge the best in American standardized tests. Therefore, it is not about even the standardized tests that are set in Japan or the ones set in America, it is in all standardized tests. When this perception was first installed into the minds of the American students, I feel like they became intimidated because since then most of students with Asian descents are viewed as educational gods. Therefore, from this point we can say that they felt intimidated knowing they would always be beaten by Asian students, something that is brought about by stereotyping.
However, I feel that the effort installed by every student is what determines their results in school. It may be views as stereotypic fact that Asians will always do well than other American students, but I believe that it all about the efforts as well as the study methods used by any methods. Therefore, this point leads us to the basis of how students are educated and on the basis of educating the whole American child. In fact, looking at different races in the United States of America, they all perform differently, as there are some reasons that also put them under pressure. The final outcome is the big racial gap that we are witnessing in the United States of America. There have been many theories surrounding this fact as these students also tend to register large numbers of dropouts in high schools and also in colleges. Research has also shown that Asian students tend to perform better overall, even better than the white. Different professionals have tried to explain this phenomenon, with some experts arguing that Asian students are forced to perform better by their family members. They have said that Asians have a perception that in order for them to be accepted in America, then they have to do well in school and develop a career in the same (Frankengerg & Orfield, 2007). Most of the Asian migrate to the united states for a chance at a better life, therefore, they are pressured by their families whether in the U.S or abroad to perform better so that they can be accepted in the American society. This is also bearing in mind that language barrier is of the most significant challenges that faces Asian students in the United States (Bryant & Heishman, 2010). Some white students even make fun of them when they cannot communicate properly in English in class. Therefore, in order to break this dreadlock, then they push themselves to perform well in school and ignore the stereotypes which say they cannot beat Asian-American students in school.
What people need to understand is that stereotyping has many negative effects in the society regardless of how one decides to look at it. For instance, there are stereotypes that the African-American as well as people of the Hispanic descent will always be involved in crime. This has led to other negative factors like racial profiling by police officers in the community. Using someone’s race in deciding whether to arrest a person, investigate them or even hire them is referred to as racial profiling. African Americans, and to some level Hispanics have been associated with many crimes in the United States of America (Clemons, 2010). This in both the solved and unsolved cases in the United States of America police files. The first suspect who comes into the mind of a law enforcing officer is either black or Hispanic. African Americans have had the worst of these stereotypic believes with them being associated with burglary, murders, drug trafficking as well as robbery cases in the united states (Alexander, 2005). A police officer can just decide to stop an African America driver for no apparent reason, citing routine checkup, something one would not find happening to the whites. The only reason why a police officer should do that is because he/she spotted an African American in the car, for the population is associated with some criminal stereotypic believes (Harris, 2002).
Other than that, while a white police officer can decide to let a white suspect off the hook with just a warning for small offences, it is almost impossible to set an African America free on the same grounds. An African American is subjected to a full scale investigation as well as interrogation, and he/she can only be let go only when there is no enough evidence for prosecution. Therefore, from this point, we can argue that negative stereotyping leads to racism among other negative factors in the society. On the other hand, positive stereotyping like the one Asian Americans enjoys when it comes to studies also has its negative factors as well. Positive stereotype, as aforementioned, could lead to intimidation of other groups. Negative stereotype has a large adverse impact on a person’s self esteem. As a result, it is generally agreed that stereotype is not appropriate, and should be stopped. Societies have tried to stop it at a larger scale by eliminating stereotype in the media by initiating laws against it, but this has not been effective enough to fully stop stereotyping. As a result, handling stereotype at personal level could be the best way to counteract the vice.
However, Asian Americans have also been on the negative stereotyping receiving end too, more so on a health perspective for that matter. For instance, scientists insist that the Asian American population tend to be affected by chronic diseases as compared to their white counterparts in this country (Khan, 2006). This is more so when it comes to a disease like hypertension. Hypertension is also referred to as high blood pressure or arterial hypertension. This is a chronic medical condition that inhibits itself in form of blood pressure in the arteries rising above norm. When this condition attacks a patient, the heart is forced to overwork since there is high pressure in the blood vessels and if not managed properly and quickly, it can lead to a very quick death (Maddox, 2005).
According to scientists, Hypertension is a common among the Asian American population in the United States and even in other places of the world (Macgregor & Kaplan, 2010). Medical practitioners often find themselves in situations where they are confronted by cardiovascular cases when it comes to this population more than any other. There are experts who have even gone to the extent of trying to figure out why such a disease would pick a single race to terrorize. Many scientist came up with different theories, but the most common that seemed to come up in every research was that this population inhibit many gene mutation characteristics, which this condition find easy to attack. Researcher found polymorphisms pathogenesis characteristics in this Asian American population, although their significance in this people remains a mystery (Black & Elliott, 2007). There are Asian Americans who have become aware of this condition with other even seeking treatment on the matter. Those that have been treated are known to show low chances of being attacked by hypertension.
In Asian Americans, this condition’s epidemiological studies clearly put this community at higher rates of having this condition than any other race. In fact, a research done in 2010 showed that 57% of stroke deaths that occur in India are caused by hypertension (Zane & Young, 2013). In fact, research also show that in the year 1990, cardiovascular diseases contributed to more than 2 million people in India. Many scientists have tried coming up with different explanations with some citing sodium intake and reduced physical activity among the Asian American population as the reasons, although none of these theories has proved to be constant.
If the above are factual statistics, then there is no problem in discovering ones weakness. However, there are some people more so from other races that have been looking at these statistics as a means of severing associations with the Asian Americans. In fact, there are parents from other races who have been warning their women from being married off to this community saying that their children would not get to live long as they would come down with hypertension. Therefore, this kind of stereotype supersedes even the fact that they perform well in academics, as the public is always ready to judge from any negative stereotype. Therefore, it is time mankind dealt with this vice as it tends of equal negative effects like racism and discrimination.
Therefore, if I were asked to come up with steps that would develop the community at large from this vice of stereotyping, I would implement measures that would make people start looking at each other like at an individual level other than looking at them with what communities they come from and what are their weaknesses or even their strengths. Changing the people attitude over this issue remains a challenge since it has already stuck in their minds: yes. However, I feel that if diverse people overlooked all these categories and came together in these practices that bring about stereotyping, it would be a thing of the past. For example, we could have both genders involved in each other’s political, economical and even social activities in effort of curbing stereotyping. We can also have interracial cohesiveness promotions, and encouragement forums in trying to have unity in the social, political and economic activities in our societies. People can also create awareness on the need of being physically fit, and also on the need of women changing their attitude towards a particular type of men. The best way we can do that is through social media, which serves as a forum of communication between different audiences.
In conclusion, stereotyping is real in our societies. People have different beliefs and attitudes towards difference in sex, race, sexual orientation, physical capabilities and religion. However, in as much as stereotyping has deep-rooted itself in our society, we need to forge ahead through peaceful and diplomatic means in curbing this perception. All that we need to do is promote cohesiveness and undisputable socialization in order to change this attitude.
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