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I’VE NOTICED that when I get a good grade on an assignment, there are people who say, “It’s because she’s Asian.” Then, when I get a low grade, some people remark, “That’s failing by Asian standards.” These statements make a connection between the grades I earn and something entirely irrelevant—my race.
It is part of the Asian culture to view education as the primary pathway to success. From a young age, Asian children are taught to work hard so they can excel academically and bring pride to their families. As a result, Asian students have generally been viewed as studious, hardworking, and intelligent by their peers. While this isn’t a bad view of Asians in itself, it becomes a negative stereotype by disregarding the effort that students put in to do well and making Asians feel ashamed when they do not get high grades.
Asian students are no less human than students of other races; they can achieve good grades if they put in the effort, just like every other student. When I put in hours of painstaking effort to earn a good grade on a collateral, only to have someone comment it is due to the fact that I’m Asian, it makes it seem like I didn’t do anything to deserve the grade and that I got it simply because I was born with a certian ethnic label. It makes the time and energy I spend as a student to do well on an assignment seem insignificant.
The stereotype is just as disturbing when an Asian student earns a bad grade or performs poorly on an assignment or test. Saying that I’m an “Asian failure” when I get a bad grade is not just hurtful to me but also to my race. It gives the feeling of bringing disgrace to a whole ethnic group, not just to me. We make mistakes and get bad grades every now and then, just like everyone else. We should be able to do so without feeling like we’ve failed our fellow Asians.
Let us be treated like other students, recognized not for our heritage, but by the effort we put in to succeed. We need room to make mistakes every now and then so that we can learn from them; we can’t be expected to earn the top score every single time. No student deserves that kind of pressure simply because of their cultural or ethnic background.