“Asian”

This post is just about being Asian. There’s really no more to it. As most of you guys know, I’m Cambodian, being Cambodian, I get held to certain expectations. Of course, theres that typical stereotype that “Asians are smart”, but everyone expects us to being geniuses (of course there are some Asians that do fit the stereotype). I remember being told “shouldn’t you be smarter than that” by this boy in my science class after seeing that I got a B+. In my standards, a B is great, but of course to other people they assume that B is terrible for an Asian.

Another stereotype that I’ve been held to by movies is that I should be a “cool Asian” or a “smart Asian”. I’ve been confused on what that meant. I personally think I’m at least a little cool and I’m not dumb, but in movies and literature, you’re either cool or smart. Where did that come from? I hate being told “I don’t act Asian”, how does one act Asian? You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve been told I have white people hair.

One of the worst things I hate being asked is “Where are you really from?”, I’ll tell you where I’m from but you won’t believe me until I say “Cambodia”. That’s false, I’m not from Cambodia, I was born in Massachusetts.I really don’t understand how people don’t know that the question “Where are you really from?” is different than “What’s your ethnicity?” (please don’t ask me “What’s your nationality?” if you expect me to say Cambodian). Oh my gosh, the amount of times I’ve told someone I’m either Asian or Cambodian there’s always someone in the background that is like “so… are you Asian or Cambodian?” *facepalm*

Don’t get me wrong, I love being Cambodian. I get to see other ethnic sides that some people don’t. I get to eat “exotic” foods and meet other people that come from the same background as I do. I have greater appreciation of anime more than the average person. But, I wish I could speak Khmer. Of course I still understand some things, but I hate not being able to understand what my grandparents are saying to me. I hate that I know French more than the language that was my parent’s first language. When my other friends who come from different ethnic backgrounds, I love that they can speak another language and I just wish I could too. One of my biggest wishes is to be able to understand khmer completely. I can go on and on about this topic but I think I’ll leave it at this for now.

~Elyza

 

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