Good wintry morning to you all! I hope the holidays lifted your spirits by spending time and reconnecting with family. I got to experience a less-than welcoming Christmas morning with a mixture of snow and sleet, but hoping for a nice white christmas for everyone else. Today, I wanted to talk and share about my Asian-American experience and some thoughts I have on this topic. This post touches lightly on complicated subject that requires an in-depth holistic view of one’s life, upbringing, politics, and priorities. However, I do hope you enjoy what I would like to share with you all today.
Majority of my life, I grew up in a suburban area with little to zero asian diversity making it very difficult to understand my identity and a target for bullying. Whether it was students or teachers, I knew there was a difference when another individual of lighter tone was given special treatment. Eventually I didn’t give it much thought and accepted all remarks, aggressions, or unfair treatment while pushing forward by developing myself. Now I grew up watching some of the biggest Asian youtube stars at the time like Ryan Higa, Bart Kwan, Tim Chantarangsu, Joe Jitsukawa, and David So. They helped establish a foundation more-so of what it means to be “Asian” than Vietnamese. Nonetheless, I still consume their content to this day for their insightful knowledge and mettle.
I was recently listening to a podcast episode, “Do Asians Crap On their Parents Too much, Leave Lizzo Alone, Opening up about our obesity” hosted by David So on GeniusBrain. In this episode, So expressed his disagreement toward Asian-Americans that have a certain level of privilege that their parents wasn’t afforded. The lack of perspective from Asian-Americans upset by the mentality of immigrants parents can hold, is a selfish and privileged notion that can create a divisive and strained relationship. So begins to explain his argument further on other ideologies that Asian-Americans tend to believe they are entitled to.
This was mentioned in the podcast, but I was upset to see a similar comment on a Instagram post discussing how Asians are passive. “Asians don’t stand up for other Asians or themselves.” So is annoyed how Asian-Americans can make a blanket statement on Asian life when the “Asian identity’ is so nuanced; Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Mongolian, Indian, and countless other ethnic groups. Both So and I think believing that the previous generation should have took a stand against racism is a privileged thought. The previous generation had to assimilate into American culture to survive giving their children, like myself, an opportunity that was better than theirs. The narcissistic ideology that our parents are the worse is a privilege within itself.
Before my Europe trip, I was one of those young americans who was narcissistic, but grew to realize that the upbringing I had was much less difficult than what my parents had. They did the best to their knowledge in raising me and it’s an honor to be where I am in this moment and time.
A few years ago, I had an opportunity to study abroad in Europe with my school. This unique program consists of traveling to 7 countries (Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, and Spain) and countless cities in a matter of 2 and half months. While traveling, I dealt with sickness, loneliness, homesick, and relationship troubles while trying to balance my academics! I remember waking up at 5:45 AM everyday to call back home to my girlfriend at the time and sleep at 11PM after 10+ miles of walking and sketching. While dealing with all of this, I was in foreign countries where thankfully people were patient with me, but otherwise without my peers, I felt like a child lost in a supermarket.
I came to the realization of the hardships both mine and countless other immigrant parents went through coming to America just to give a better life for their children going to Europe. Funny enough, my parents constantly told us their struggles growing up, but I never understood until after this period. I didn’t have to worry about anything besides sleeping and academics. On the other hand, my parents had to worry about feeding their families, jobs, and a whole slew of problems by the age of 18.
I understand that my ethnicity and race has its own problems and advantages, but this is my Asian-American experience. Instead of worrying about food, I worry about reaching my aspirations and career and to me that is a privilege already. I am a testament of American and Vietnamese culture combined; an Asian – American. A unique cultural blending of blessings and problems that the previous generation might not ever understand, but can respect.
To those reading, please understand this is only the surface of the complicated subject regarding Asian – Americans. As I mentioned above, the various ethnic groups under the classification of “Asian-Americans” is so nuanced that everyone will have a different lived-experience. This post served as a thought-provoker for anyone who is interested or identifies as Asian.
I’m signing off now! I hope you enjoyed what I wrote today!