Stereotypes about Asian Americans

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The Asian American myth is a belief that Asians are hardworking citizens, smart and submissive. It is believed that Asian Americans are part of the model minority group because the majority of them achieve the American Dream. In the movie Better Luck Tomorrow it directly addresses the idea that Asians are overachievers when it comes to academics but do not follow the definition of what the model minority is of being law-abiding citizens who are weak with values but this movie illustrates how almost all of the Asian American stereotypes are a myth.

Unsurprisingly, Asian Americans are portrayed as a model minority due to perceptions of economic and educational success. In the movie Better Luck Tomorrow it portrays the life of Asian American students inside a high school which is based on the murder of an Asian American student Stuart Tay. The Asian American myth is an idea that Asians are nonconfrontational members of the model minority group who are quiet, hard workers who never get into trouble. Some of the Asian stereotypes is that they are straight A’s students who have strong family values and they usually come from wealthy families. Ben portrays the stereotypical Asian American inside the movie Better Luck Tomorrow because he is a responsible student with an impressive GPA, is involved in school actives, plays sports and does volunteer work all insuring his entry into an Ivy League college.

Ben is a student who worries about his SAT scores so much so that he starts doing drugs to be able to stay up to study. He is portrayed as being extremely smart because he speaks several languages. The majority of Asian American students are overachievers when it comes to school and they are willing to do anything to get good grades without thinking about the consequences. Their parents expect them to study for hours because Ben mentions that “Going to study groups could get us out of the house until 4 in the morning.” Asian students are put into so much pressure of being perfect by their parents and society but being able to stay out until morning meant their parents trusted them because of their perfect grades.

Daric is a valedictorian Asian American student who gets Ben involved in the cheat sheet business as well as drug dealing. Ben and his Asian high school friends start off by scamming stores out of computer parts through a buy and return scheme. Ben wasn’t happy with his life of being the perfect student because when he started to do illegal activities he stated “ I guess it just felt good to do things that I couldn’t put on my college application.” This quote proves their was a rebellion side to Ben and taking advantage at the fact that society only views Asian Americans in a good way because of the model minority myth of them being too afraid to break the law. Better Luck Tomorrow portrays Asian American students as being criminals who were believed to be part of the Chinese mafia because they cheated, sold drugs and carried guns.

Asian Americans are seen as emasculated and they are portrayed that way in movies. In the Slanted Screen documentary, it talks about how Asian Americans are desexualize and can’t get women and describes how “Mainstream America for the most part is uncomfortable with seeing an Asian man portrayed in a sexual powerful light.” Hollywood portrays Asian American men this way because of all their stereotypes that they are weak men. In the movie Better Luck Tomorrow Ben can’t get the girl he wants and so he and his high school Asian friends have to pay to get women to sleep with them. When Ben and his friends show up to a jocks party a couple of white varsity sports players made racist jokes against them by telling them “Bible study is next door.” This causes Ben and his friends to beat up one of the white varsity players making him surrender by taking out their gun. It shows how everyone including their classmates saw the Asian students as being the same, extremely responsible and incapable of having fun but mostly saw them as being coward’s incapable of defending themselves but this part of the scene showed Asian man as being capable of malicious acts.

This movie is shot in a residential neighborhood with nice cars and retail stores showing how they are middle class citizens who represent an image of what an ideal American should look like but their image doesn’t represent their behind the door’s activities. No one believes Asians are capable of sinister actions because of the model minority myth. Ben and his friends seem to fit all parental expectations because they are students who are on top of their class. In the Wu article it talks about how the Asian American myth is a belief that Asians have an unquestionable obedience and who are peace-loving people but she tries to shine some light into the model minority myth by stating that “We need to see Asian Americans and other racial, ethnic and religious groups- for what they are: dynamic, diverse and much more than one- dimensional stereotype.” What she is trying to say in her statement is that everyone is unique and no one person is the same even if they have they share the same religion beliefs or are of the same ethnic background because everyone makes up their own rules and values.

In the end of the movie Better Luck Tomorrow Ben and his straight A’s Asian friends murder another Asian student with a bat really showing their masculinity. They all believed they could get away with anything because they were smart and mentioned “Our straight A’s are our alibies as long as our grades were their we were trusted.” They all thought they would get away with it because of the stereotypes Americans have for Asian people believing that Asians are smart and to afraid to commit any kind of crime because they lack power.

In the film The Slanted Screen Cary-Hiroyuki an Asian American actor reports “If I’m to choose between a wimpy businessmen and playing a bad guy I’m gonna play a bad guy because I got balls.” Hiroyuki is uprising trying to show that Asian man are not wimps and they can be defiant just like any another man from a different ethnicity. In the article “Paper Tigers” Wesley Yang quotes “Fuck humility and hard work. Fuck sacrificing for the future.” This is what Asian American people are known to care for, working hard to become wealthy and being humble his trying to let people know that not every Asian American suits the model minority myth.

In the article “Asian kids shed light on Asian stereotypes” Kantasingh describes the life of two Asian students who don’t fit the model minority myth and how it affects their lives. “A stereotype about Chinese people is that they’re shy.” People believe all Asians are quiet because they are friendly people too afraid to get into an argument with someone. Better Luck Tomorrow showed how high-achieving Asian students become bored of following conventional paths and exhibited images of rebellion by killing a fellow classmate in a slow torturing way, showing how not all Asians are quiet and friendly.

Better Luck Tomorrow effectively proves that Asian American stereotypes are almost completely false because it showed how Asians can be violent criminals willing to do anything to get what they want. This movie shows the difficulty Asians student face while living in suburban homes in America life for them is not as easy as it seems they are expected to fix their problems on their own. It really showed how Asian Americans don’t fit the model minority stereotype because the movie better luck tomorrow is based on real life events and it shows how straight A’s students are capable of committing murder the worst crime possible.

Cite this paper

Stereotypes about Asian Americans. (2021, Jul 30). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/stereotypes-about-asian-americans/

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