1. “Where are you from? No, where are you really from?”
This question instantly gives an Asian American youth an identity crisis. This question is an assumption that every Asian is an immigrant. However, within the younger generation, some of us were actually born here, in America after our family immigrated here in the last century. According to the Census Bureau, 48 percent of the Asian American population is an American-born citizen. Therefore please don’t assume that all of us are from “the Orient”. There are more appropriate questions such as: “What is your nationality?” or “ What ethnicity are you?”
2. “Ni Hao.” Or, “Konnichiwa.”
First, please don’t assume our race. We might not be Chinese or Japanese. Second, while many older Asian Americans speak their native language and live in Asian American neighborhoods, many young Asian Americans are more assimilated. They regard their own traditions, but blend them with the modern youth culture and they practice great communication skills. Third, again, there are Asians who were actually born in America and can only speak English.
3. “You must be so good at math.” Or “You must be the IT person.”
Asian American kids want to break the nerdy images of them. We’ve had enough with the math geeks, future doctors and violinist image. Many Seattle Asian American youth have a reputation within the car modification industry following the 90’s import car trend. A lot of non-profit youth organizations advocate for youth by poetry and spoken word. And young Asian American artists and designers introduce beauty and culture to the world through their clothing and art.
4. “You are not exactly leadership material.”
For Asian Americans who recently immigrated to the United States, the stereotype is two-fold: Not only are they viewed as not being leaders but Americans interprets their cultural norms as passive. Many Asian American Youth believe strongly in their leadership skills including: collectivism, team-building, strong commitment and hard work.
5. “Is your boyfriend / girlfriend Chinese too?”
Asians doesn’t specifically have dating preferences. However, they admit being in a relationship with another Asian is more comfortable because the couple could share similar backgrounds about family and social norms.
6. “How many people live in your house?”
Family is important with Asian American youth and they tend to stay close with family members. This is because of their collectivist culture. The youth pay great respect to elders and family plays an important role in their decision-making. Some Asian American youth think that Western lifestyles are too individualistic: Everything is about “me.”
7. “I think you’re good but I am not sure if they are looking for your type.”
Some Asian American youth believe there are fewer chances out there for them. The media gives little in the way of an Asian voice or acceptance. For example, MTV doesn’t have a lot of Asian representation. However, it also part of the reason why Asian American youth work harder and put more effort in what they want to do.