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Unapolegetically Asian

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Unapolegetically Asian

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 “You’re such a bad driver. It’s because you’re Asian.”

  I heard that sentence a week ago. But I won’t let it escape my mind.

  Throughout my lifetime, I have had many Asian stereotypes and assumptions thrown at me, but I just took them with a laugh. I just assumed they were joking around, so I didn’t let it affect me as it should have. If I felt hurt, I didn’t worry too much, as I didn’t really care what people thought of and looked at me as. In my eyes, I was just as human as everyone else.

  But I realized last week that not everyone thought the same as me.

  My sister and I were at Walmart, ready to go home, when she backed out of her parking spot.

  Suddenly, a  white car came rushing past us and both of our cars accidentally hit each other.

It was a small bump, and I didn’t even feel the hit happen. My sister continued driving, as it was no big deal. Later, the white car pulled up next to us. A white man rolled down the windows just to yell at my sister and me.

  He was furious that we hadn’t pulled over to check the damage, and I understand; I would be mad too. He started yelling that the bump happened because we were Asian. What he said really hurt me, and I took it to heart. Why he said that, I didn’t know. If we had been another white person, would he have just laughed it off?

  “I’m sorry, I’m Asian,” my sister said sarcastically, furious. She was strongly against racism, and going home from Walmart, there was a slight tension in the air. My sister was ranting, while I just sat there in silence, thinking about what happened.

  I had dealt with these stereotypes all my life. Because I was Asian, I was expected to get straight A’s, not speak English fluently, play the piano, be tiny, be bad at driving, be unorganized, and have greasy hair. If I did have one of these traits, people would just laugh at me.

  Because that was what was expected of me as an Asian.

  No matter what I did, people would still laugh at me.

  When I broke those stereotypes, people would laugh at me, because I wasn’t their “Asian.” Someone who was louder. Someone who was bigger. Someone who decided art is more important than their grades. Someone who they don’t view as Asian.

  I felt guilty that I wasn’t living up to their standards. So my whole life, I tried being the “Asian” people were used to.

  And I shouldn’t have. It was their fault that they didn’t understand what it meant to be human.  

   Ninety percent of the population in Stevenson Ranch is white. None of these people had ever experienced racism or stereotypes, at least not in the way we the minorities were treated. So to most of them, making fun of the minorities was nothing. It was just words to laugh at, and if someone were to talk about their first-hand racism, they would simply scoff at us, saying it was nothing.

  But to us, it was everything.

  I was hanging out with my “friends” at a plaza after the incident. When I told them what happened to me, they either laughed at it or didn’t even bother listen to what I was saying.

  And they were white — white people who had never experienced racism.

I let the topic slide, which was a big mistake. If I had really cared about the topic, I should’ve said something and not just simply have ignored it.

  To make matters worse, I had been joking around, pushing a shopping cart when I accidentally bumped into a wall. One of those friends — who I knew had listened to my story earlier and laughed at it — decided to make a snarky comment that made me feel ten times worse.

  “You’re so bad at driving. Is it because you’re Asian?”

  Hearing this, I felt the same emotion I had the other day: rage, so angry that I wanted to scream at his face and wake him up.

  I’m sorry I’m Asian. I’m sorry I’m bad at driving. I’m sorry I’m not a tiny person. I’m sorry I’m not a straight-A student and I enjoy other things besides the piano. I’m sorry I can speak English well. I’m sorry for not being born here.

  But, you know what I’m not sorry about?

  For being me.

  You see, I realized that no person should ever go through what I experienced. I’m not sorry that when I see someone being yelled at for being a minority, I will stand up for them. I’m not sorry I have the guts to call you out and make you feel bad for what you said. I’m not sorry I care about the people who are treated badly. And I am certainly not sorry that I am not your Asian.

  I won’t ever stand for being treated like I did.

  I actually feel bad for those who do not experience what we do and because they will never understand what we minorities are forced to go through everyday. They will remain ignorant to the fact that we are human. They will just taunt and make fun of us.

  And, guess what?

  We will not stand for it anymore.

  We will stand up for ourselves and not for just for us but for everyone. Everyone that has ever experienced racism and stereotypes in their lives.

  We will fight for us.

  So let me leave you with this:

  To the minorities who just take it in: Stop sitting, and start standing up for yourselves. We cannot take this intolerance anymore. Remember you are not a label.

  To the white racists in Santa Clarita, I am calling you out.  This article is for you.

  To the “friends” who did not listen: You now know exactly the reason why I can’t look or speak to you anymore.

  And to the man in the white SUV: Maybe I am a bad driver. I wish people like you did not  exist, as you do nothing but bring people down. I know I am Asian; thank you for pointing that out. But I will never apologize for anything I do because I am Asian.

  I am human. I am real. I deserve a chance to live and thrive, and I am unapologetically Asian.

 

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Chika Winston, Staff Writer

Hey, my name is Chika Winston and this is my first year in journalism. Winston may or may not be my real last name, and depending on who you ask, it also...

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Unapolegetically Asian