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Culture and International Society, Essay Example

Pages: 5

Words: 1277

Essay

Members of all ethnicities have stereotypes towards other ethnicities. These stereotypes are just generalizations that members have applied to an entire group based upon the encounters they have had with only a few members of the group. For example, there are common portrayals that Asian Americans are more intelligent than others in society. Although this is not a negative stereotype, it has still caused negative effects on the Asian population. One negative effect of this stereotype is that Asian Americans are viewed as over achievers who lack personality and social lives. Consequently, many Asians are dehumanized by the stereotype. This stereotype is most profoundly felt by Asian students. They feel pressured to out achieve other students and are often neglected by teachers because they feel they don’t need the help. In some instances, this lives the students struggling in areas because of the lack of assistance from the teacher. The Model Minority Stereotype has caused many negative perpetuations within the Asian Culture.

The Asian American image has caused many adverse side-effects for Asian Americans. In recent years, there have many studies that have examined how this image has affected Asian Americans students emotionally and academically. The ideal life for most Asian American is to achieve what has been deemed the American Dream-to work hard, obtain a college degree, and provide a good living for one’s family. Perpetuation of the American Dream is to repeat this process over and over again within a family. In many Asian American families, the pursuit of the American Dream is tearing down the family structure. Asian American children are under so much pressure to succeed, that it is affecting them emotionally and mentally. According to Museus,

“No one lives up to a stereotype 100 percent of the time. You might have some but not all of the traits expected of you as an Asian American. And what happens if you do not fulfill the stereotypical expectations placed on you? What are the consequences to self-esteem and/or esteem from others that you value?”(pg. 3   )

Asian Americans have become victims of the Model Minority Stereotype. According to this stereotype, Asian Americans must be naturally smart in subjects like math, science, and technology. They are hard working, self-reliant, and resilient. They are also wealthy, reliable, and never complain because they are submissive. Muses “emphasized the notion that such assumptions can contribute to minority students’ feeling pressure to confirm or refute those stereotypes” (pg. 3)

A study was conducted by Huang, Yen, et al (2015) to determine how these stereotypes affect Asian American children. Several factors have been attributed to the higher risk of anxiety among Asian American Students. These children suffer from generalized anxiety, social anxiety, and fear of criticism. The study was conducted on children within Pre-K programs between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. The students were children of parents born in Asian countries. Prior to the study, parents reported information about their parenting style, cultural values, demographics, and the child’s behavior.  There were a total of 221 children included in the study.  At the conclusion of the study, the authors concluded that more than one third of the children who participated were at elevated risks for anxiety. The anxiety was brought on by the relationship that the students had with their parents and the degree of criticism they received when they did not perform to parental standards. It was also found that pre-k teachers increased anxiety because they held Asian students to higher standards than other students within their classrooms.  They said, “We found that young ASA children living with parents with low parental American identity, low parental English competency, and having an Asian Pre-K teacher were associated with higher rates of anxiety” (770).

Acculturation is very important in the development of Asian Americans identity. According to Zhou, Siu, & Xin (2015), “Acculturation can be defined as the degree to which immigrant or minority populations identify with the mainstream dominant culture (291). Because of this process, Asian American students face many cultural and cognitive barriers. When Asian American students are faced with problems stemming from the Model Minority Stereotype, they are reluctant to report what they are dealing with because of feelings of shame or stigmas related to failure within their culture. Consequently, Asian American students attempt to deal with cognitive or mental issues independently prior to seeking help. In order to reach minority students, teachers, counselors, and other students must be aware of the cultural differences. Zhou, Siu, & Xin (2015) say, “Providing culturally responsive mental health services to Asian American children, adolescents, and their families is characterized as a “dangerous opportunity.” The danger lies in the continued underutilization of mental health services despite high levels of mental health problems among this population” (295). Likewise, it is fair to safe that model minority stereotype could lead to psychological and emotional distress in Asian Americans. In one study conducted on a college campus in the Midwest, more than 75 percent of Asian students admitted that they spent long hours studying which caused them to endure loneliness and alienation. Because of their studying habits they slept a maximum of four hours per night and experienced depression and anxiety (Huang, Yen, et al, 770).

Stereotypes can bind behaviors in negative and positive ways (Zhou, Zheg, Siu, & Xin, 291). Even children are prompted to behave a certain way due to stereotypes and preferences that their parents have. Children learn these behaviors from their parents and continue to teach the same behaviors to their children. Consequently, stereotypes and prejudices can be perpetuated for generations. In order to eradicate these problems from society, parents and educators must raise their understanding of the effects of stereotyping on minority members of society. Parents and teachers must actively discuss with young children the importance of being themselves. Obviously, from the study presented earlier, children as young as 3 years old are impressed by stereotypes. So, children should be taught at this young age that it is acceptable to be different from what society says they should be. Participation in workshops, conferences, and festivals that celebrate other cultures are important in raising awareness of other cultures.  This can be beneficial for both Asian Americans and people of other cultures. The baffling concept about the Model Minority Stereotype is that it is perpetuated more often by Asian Americans than those of other ethnicities. In an odd way, it seems that Asian Americans feel they must live up to those standards in order to be accepted and liked by their international counterparts. Although the birth of the Model Minority Stereotype has not been established, many believe it is linked to the 1965 Immigration Act. During this time, the United States relaxed its restraints on Asian immigrants from various wealthy Asian countries. Officials only wanted the smartest, best educated, and wealthiest Asians to immigrate to America. Consequently, these Asians felt they must strive hard to live up to the standards that had been placed upon them. This changed the concepts of Asian immigrants who had been poor and uneducated. Essentially, the Model Minority Stereotype was created to refute the negative stereotype that Asian Americans had prior to the shift.

Works Cited

Huang, Keng-Yen, et al. “Symptoms of Anxiety And Associated Risk And Protective Factors In Young Asian American Children.” Child Psychiatry And Human Development 43.5(2012): 761-774. ERIC. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

Museus, Samuel D. “The Model Minority and The Inferiority Minority Myths: Understanding Stereotypes and Their Implication for Student Learning.” About Campus 13.3 (2008): 2-8. ERIC. Web 29. Nov. 2015.

Zhou, Zheg, Candice R. Siu and Tao Xin. “Promoting Cultural Competence In Counseling Asian American Children And Adolescents.” Psychology In The Schools 46.3 (2009): 290-298. ERIC. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.

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