SATIRE: Confessions of a Chinese-American


Living in the idyllic, beautiful, majestic, nearly-utopian United States for my whole life as a Chinese-American, from my life experiences and observations I have been able to learn a lot of lessons about the impeccable accuracy of stereotypes and treatment of Asians.


The Color Yellow

I remember watching a film at West Sylvan, and one of the protagonists pointed at an Asian character and said “look, he’s just as yellow as urine.” I do not think I have ever heard a truer statement in my life. Of course, that is why I find myself most attracted to the yellow M&M’s and yellow Starburst. And really, anything yellow. It is also why I am so confused when people think I have tiger parents—the common label for demanding and strict parents who are only interested in academic success and getting into a top tier university. Tigers are orange and black, not yellow…

Shouldn’t my parents really be thought of as lions? A much more appropriate label considering the yellow skin color of both.


Where Am I From?

“Where are you from?”

I hear it all the time from white people I meet for the first time. At first, I just told them I was from Portland, which is the truth. However, for some odd reason, the interrogators never quite seemed satisfied with my answer. I later figured out that what I was really supposed to do was either: a) turn on an Asian accent: harro, sorry I do not speak-ah the Engrish; or b) yeah, I am from Shanghai (or any other arbitrary Chinese city, not that I really am from Asia) and I crossed the Pacific on a boat and came to Angel Island… forever a foreigner.


Bad Driver

Driving, what a scary prospect. I am so fearful that I will become a bad driver, that I still do not have a driver’s license. I do admit, I have seen an Asian driver hit the ONLY car in a parking lot… and run multiple red lights. And because of the clear genetic connection between poor driving and being Asian, I believe it is unsafe for any Asian to get a driver’s license and strongly encourage you to tell your Asian friends to avoid driving and wait until some other Asian invents a self-driving car. Because that’s the real obsession with self-driving cars—getting Asians off the road.


Athletic Inferiority

I have played soccer my whole life, and the greatest compliment I get is when other teams think I am Latino. Opponents, for some reason, cannot fathom losing to an Asian, so they very logically conclude I must be of another race, or simply a mutant. And Jeremy Lin—we all know he is in the NBA purely to attract the Chinese market, right? And just look at the Asian Olympic sports—they only medal in ping pong, even though they are the most populous continent. And the East Timor national soccer team… has 12 Brazilian players. Damn, I guess Asians are only good at esports.



If you have read the Cardinal Times front-to-back (which I guess probably 2% of the readers do, not that I do either) you should know that Lincoln had 14 National Merit Semifinalists and that 12 of them were Asian. 12, that’s like over one-third of the Asian seniors. I’m honestly surprised that not more Asians were Semifinalists. Considering that all Asians are geniuses, this is racial superiority at its finest. A ‘B’ grade is, after all, considered an Asian failure. Unfortunately, I myself fall into the pool of Asian failures.


All Asians Are the Same

Teachers almost always, at some point during the school year, confuse me with some other Asian, male student. Initially, I found myself quite upset about their inability to differentiate me and the other kid. Over the years, after putting myself into the shoes of my teachers, I have developed a sense of compassion for their confusion. Black hair, slanty eyes, not to mention, yellow skin. Added on to the fact that, because all Asians are geniuses, our school work is done at the same level, I think that all Asians truly do seem the same. Literal carbon copies of each other.


Last Name

Finally, I never understand why so many people misspell my last name. C−H−I−N−G. Spelled exactly as it’s pronounced. But when I tell people my last name, I have seen it spelled Chang, Cheng, Chong, Chung, Chiang, Chaing, Cheung, Chiung, Chan, Chen, and Chin (like in the last issue of the Cardinal Times). Is English really that hard for Americans? Can people really not spell out what they hear? Truly a tragedy.



No, my skin is not yellow. No, I don’t actually have tiger parents. There is a reason they have let me skip school about half the time this semester. And while Asian students at Lincoln might be disproportionately represented in IB classes and seemingly have more success than students of other races, it is because of cultural differences rather than better genetics. There are not genetically predisposed to be more successful in school and the idea of racial superiority should be thrown in the trash by society. All Asians look the same as much as all white people look the same, it is simply a matter of exposure to people of color. Although many people fit the stereotypes associated with them, there are many more who break these stereotypes. Imposing stereotypes on people puts pressure on them to conform to stereotypes rather than live the way they want to.