I have been called a lot of things growing up, “blonde,” “dumb blonde,” “pasty, pale,” but never have I ever been called Asian. My back ground is English and Scottish so there is no way to attribute any of my physical features to the Asian race I have always realized that people were sorted into categories based on their intelligence “nerds“ “brainiacs” “dumb“ “overachievers” and “straight As.” I had never though, heard someone categorize their intelligence by calling themselves or others “Asian” until I moved into my house.
“Are you Asian?” asked my roommate. I answered back, “No,” Iwent to my mirror to see how I resembled an Asian to make her think thatt I did not have any of the attributing traits that normally would make one think one was an Asian, I did not have dark squinted eyes for mine were rounded and blue I did not have the skin colour; I was covered in European skint Nor did I have a large faces I could not get that comment out of my head.
No one had ever asked me that question before I looked and looked in the mirror, thinking that I must have missed something My roommate would not just call me Asian for nothing I walked out of my room to find her and ask her why she thought I was Her answer astounded me, “You study a lot so you must be Asian.” In the reading, Racism in Justice it talked about racialization and how it was the backbone for racial inequality.
One area of racialization is: “selecting human characteristics as meaningful signs of racial difference” (Racism in Justice, 40) My roommate selected the trait of intelligence to categorize me as Asian. She most likely selected this trait because Asian’s are stereotypically very intelligent and my studying influences her to believe that I am very intelligent. It is hurtful to think that I must be Asian to study a lot and care about my schooling.
Asians are smart has no proof Biologically there are no differences between the races. The idea that Asians are smart is a social construction. The last property in racialization is: “acting as if race indicates socially significant differences among people” (Racism in Justice, 40) She constantly makes comments to people like, “Did you know she’s Asian?” “Oh, you’re so Asian,” “There you go, off being an Asian” without even thinking that she is making racializationsi By making these comments, she is making racialization explicit and furthering the stereotype that Asian’s are intelligent, that they care about doing well in school, and studying. In a way, it is hurtful to both sides, To anyone who is not called an Asian, she is implying that they are not intelligent enough nor do they study enough to have that label placed upon them And to anyone that is labelled as an Asian, she is implying that their intelligence and studying habits are only because of their race.
Not only is she attributing the trait of intelligence to the Asian race, which is a great trait, but it is not true Not all Asians are super intelligent, just like how every other race can have extremely intelligent people She sorted me into a category based on the characteristic of intelligence and put me in the box labelled “Asian” because of the variation I had of that characteristic, Throughout calling me Asian, she attributed my intelligence to a single race because they are characteristically known for being intelligent. And lastly, she used that characteristic to act like there was now a gap between her and myself because of the categories that we were now in. Until this moment, I always believed that she looked at me the same as her, but with that comment, I realized that she held me in a different category than herself and that we were not the same.