With the recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, I am once again reminded that racism is still a prominent issue in the 21st century world that we live in. It is completely unfair, moreover disgusting, how quick people are to discriminate and judge others before getting beyond the surface level. Because of the unfortunate current events, I’d like to share a response that I wrote a few years ago upon coming across Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, The Dangers of a Single Story:
She has bleached blonde hair and a face full of makeup so she can’t be too intelligent. He drives a shiny Range Rover so of course he is filthy rich. Humans, naturally are quick to judge. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Ted Talk, The Dangers of a Single Story, Adichie delves into the issue of ignorance leading to single stories. Single stories are stereotypes that form prejudice; it is the “show of people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again and that is what they become.” People think they know a person completely from what is seen. In actuality, they do not have a clue about the person’s upbringing, which makes the person the way he or she is. Single stories narrow perspectives of unique individuals as they extract respect of cultures and backgrounds.
As an Asian living in America, I have been exposed to my fair share of preconception. The stereotype for an Asian is that she is either a studious saint with strict parents and spends her time at home practicing math equations, or she is a hip hop dance queen that dyes her hair and wears snapbacks. Honestly, I do not fall under either of these categories. However, my American schoolmates are oftentimes confused as they see me excel in my academics but I definitely do not resemble a “nerd” either. Similarly, my family in Taiwan encouraged my mother to enrich my education and they compared me to a flower vase. My family automatically assumed that I do not contain scholarly substance or any function other than being pretty to look at, only because I put effort into my appearance and began wearing makeup at an early age. The issue is that my schoolmates and my family have succumbed to their familiar beliefs of Asians. They have attached another Asian’s story to me and made “one story become the only story.”
Adichie said that “it is impossible to engage properly with a place or person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person.” As reflected in my experience, people unfortunately label instantly based on their common concepts. My schoolmates and my family in Taiwan have difficulty fathoming the idea that I thrive off of the thrill of receiving A’s on my report cards, yet I devour my paychecks on materialistic goods and spend an hour getting ready for school every morning. Just because I am Asian, it does not mean that I fall under the classification of “bookworm” or “Asian with swag.” Much like every individual, I like what I like, I do what I like, and I am simply me. Every person is made up of many parts. Moreover, to practice equal humanity, it is important to capture a person’s entire story before deferring to an ignorant assumption or a single story.
The simple fact is that we are all humans; let's start treating one another like humans.
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Hello! My name is Kitty Wu, I'm from Virginia Beach, and I am a Fashion Merchandising and Design student at Virginia Tech. I am currently a member of the Scholarship as well as Recruitment committees for Kappa Alpha Theta, an Ambassador of Recruitment for the College of Liberal Arts and Human [...]