The Image of Asia

What do you think of when you hear “Asian”? The skin the color of butter, almond eyes of chocolate brown, or maybe even the famous Chinese dish of pork fried rice. Why don’t you think of the hijab worn by the ladies throughout the lands of Bangladesh? I wonder if you have even been taught about Bangladesh. Has China and Japan been etched in you head as the only places in Asia? You must know of the Iraqians in war right now? Massachusetts’ children’s image of Asia is what it is now because of American media and the way that they were taught in their schools.

A child in Massachusetts knows what she or he have seen in the media about all types of Asians. The way the Simpsons(on FOX 25) shows Apu Nahasapeemapetilan, an Indian character who works at a convenience store. Apu has 8 children, an arranged marriage, and is an illegal citizen. In a child’s eyes they would think of Indians as if they all were illegal immigrants because that is what the TV shows are showing them, so why wouldn’t it be true? The stereotypes that the Simpsons showed about Indians were that they were illegal immigrants and talk in accents. But they didn’t show how they support their families or how Apu loves his wife. What stands out to people is the crazy things, not the normal things, but every aspect of a person that makes them different from the image they have in their heads of “normal” people. If the Indian people of Asia are aired like this in the media, what are the East Asians portrayed as? In popular TV show Grey’s anatomy (also on FOX 25), Korean actor Sandra Oh plays Dr. Christina Yang. Dr. Christina Yang doesn’t have 8 kids, nor is she an illegal immigrant. She is the opposite; she is a successful doctor and is very intelligent. If she is also Asian why can’t she be portrayed as an illegal immigrant? The children would think that Indians aren’t normal and the “Asians” are very intelligent and successful. There were no negative stereotypes in the show. She didn’t have an arranged marriage or an accent. So doesn’t that suggest that she is not like Apu on The Simpsons? Yes, because if two shows on the same channel were on the same night, a child would think of Indians as illegal immigrants and Koreans at smart or successful.

Kennedy-Longfellow school is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts and in their 7th grade a class of 24 students were taught of the land throughout Asia. They listened to facts about the Muslim religion; saw the pictures of copper-skinned individuals. They gathered this as the “Middle East”, that us also what they had been told. A few months later… Each student saw videos of the lands of China. How this part of “Asia” had a great wall of 5,550.3 miles, and of the many rice farms that grew here also. The two lessons were taught far apart and never once did the teacher say “We will be revisiting our studies of Asia..” or “We researched the Middle East and now we’ll research another part of Asia..”. Maybe if the teacher had spoken up, the children wouldn’t have set in their minds facts about “the Middle East” and “Asia”. I guarantee that they would’ve had a different understanding.

I am a child in Massachusetts and I was sitting in the class of 24 children in 20o9- 2010. My image of Asia used to be of butter- skin. Though they haven’t said it, I know that my classmates have too. Their jokes about “ Smart Asians” and “Middle Eastern Terrorist” say enough. Luckily, I made the connection the start of my eighth grade year. I hope that you have read this through and know Asia as the whole nation it is and not in parts. All the stereotypes can be tucked away now, because If you were really to know both “types” of Asians; you would know that they aren’t true, not at all.

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