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The Overachievers This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

How to be an Asian: 1. Get perfect SAT scores. 2. Play the violin or piano. 3. Have four hobbies: studying, studying, violin/piano, and studying. 4. Be a math or science geek. And 5. Be a competitive overachiever. Just because Asians have pointed eyes and black hair, their brains automatically have a bigger capacity. Everyone knows Asians are smart. It’s in the genes. It’s all talent. It’s because we’re made that way. But everything you know is wrong. “People look at me and figure I'm smart, just because I'm Chinese,” said Lin B., currently unemployed and not looking for work. “Well, I'm not. I am stupid as hell.” Not all Asians are smart. But a stereotype starts with a grain of truth, something that happens a lot. Some Asians do succeed. There’s a reason for that success. There’s something to learn from those accomplishments. And there’s definitely a consequence for those achievements. It’s not in the genes. It’s not just talent. It’s not because we’re made that way.

So why do Asians excel? It’s hard work, motivation, and how we’re raised. From the San Jose Mercury News, Rebecca Gao tells us that a key drive in Asian students is our future. “I take five weighted courses to attend a reputable college…which increases my chances of entering medical school, obtaining a good internship and residency, and so on,” wrote Gao. Looking a little bit farther down the road can be a major inspiration. Who doesn’t want to have a comfortable life? Another motive in immigrants is guilt. In Fox Butterfield’s “Why They Excel”, Butterfield interviews a girl who encountered many hardships in her life, but says “‘I have to do well,’ says the sophomore at Cornell University. ‘I owe it to my parents in Vietnam,’”. Given, making your child feel bad is not the healthiest way to get your child to do well in school, but it works. Also, parents influence a child’s success. Asian parents have higher expectations. We look and search for improvements. According to Dr. Soo Kim Abboud and Jane Kim, authors of Top of the Class: How Asian Parents Raise High Achievers - and How You Can Too “Non-Asian children often equate the final ring of the school bell with freedom from learning and education. Therein lies the difference between many Asian children and their peers. Unfortunately, many children are not taught that the role of student is one to be assumed during and after school hours.” We don’t succeed because we’re naturally smart. It’s not in the genes. It’s not just talent. It’s not because we’re made that way.

Why aren’t other Americans doing just as well? Butterfield says that Asian parents have a different mindset than Americans. “When asked why they think their children do well, most Asian parents said ‘hard work.’ By contrast, American parents said ‘talent.’” In the Asian culture, Confucianism emphasizes tireless work, or the exact opposite of Americans’ beliefs where “some kids have what it takes and some don’t,” says Stevenson, a psychologist at the University of Michigan. So what can we do to strengthen education in America? Stevenson suggests that we should “set higher standards, involve parents with their children’s education, and reorganize school’s teaching methods to motivate students. If the United States can meet these criteria, American students may also one day excel.” Being an Asian has nothing to do with success. If everyone works as hard, is just as motivated, and is raised with high expectations, we’d all succeed. It’s not the genes. It’s not just talent. It’s not because we’re made that way.
How is being smart detrimental? Well, what happens to the people who don’t fit? In Education Digest’s Getting Real about the Model Minority, “the model minority image puts Asian students in a tough spot. ‘It doesn’t just hurt low-achieving students, it also hurts students in the middle,’ Liao says. ‘If an Asian student isn’t at the top, people say, ‘You must not be working hard enough. You’re Asian, so we know you’re smart.’’” Another repercussion is college admissions. Oiyan Poon, the 2007 president of the University of California Students Association, says, “When you look at the private Ivy Leagues, some of them are looking at Asian-American applicants with a different eye than they are white applicants.” Asians face academic discrimination because they work harder. Why is excluding a diligent student okay? It’s not in the genes. It’s not just talent. It’s not because we’re made that way.

Everything you know is wrong. Everyone can do just as well as Asians. If everyone works as hard, is just as motivated, and is raised with high expectations, we’d all thrive. There’s a reason. There’s a lesson. There’s a consequence. Not all Asians are smart. Being Asian has nothing to do with success. It’s not ancestry. It’s not in the genes. It’s not just talent. It’s not because we’re made that way.




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

kiwi12 said...
Jul. 1, 2010 at 10:34 pm:

excellent speech! hope you delivered it well.

I have a lot of asian friends who are over-achievers, however i have some that are not. This speech made me laugh a little. Good job with it!

 
Asianflowers replied...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 4:30 am :

As an asian myself, I thoroughly enjoyed that. Very nice. Good Job!

Could you look at some of my work please?

 
AWScienceGeek This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 2, 2010 at 11:59 am :
Thanks! Take a look at my other work too!
 
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