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"Oh, you got that grade cause you're Asian" - Challenging a belief or idea


estherh 2 / 5  
Oct 21, 2014   #1
Any help/edits/comments are welcome! Thank you!
Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

"Oh, you got that grade cause you're Asian. Hey, do you know so-and-so? He's Asian. Don't you have some kind of Asian connection? You should date him. You would be the ultimate Asian couple." As an eighth grader moving to a new school, I was not used to being stereotyped because of my race. At my old school, I had grown up with everyone there and nobody had ever said anything to me like that before. I was taken by surprise and felt a little angry, especially because the speaker of those comments was my new, and almost only, friend of the time. The idea that I had gotten an A on my test because I was Asian baffled me. My parents had instilled in me that hard work led to success, and I was pretty familiar to a couple C's and many B's on tests and quizzes when I slacked off. My close friend from my old school, who was Caucasian, almost always got better grades than me as well, so I knew that being Asian didn't mean anything.

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fwei15 1 / 2  
Oct 21, 2014   #2
I really liked reading your essay. There was a good sense of voice which kept me engaged the whole time. Being a fellow asian, I totally understand the stereotypes and the whole asians with asians thing. I really wouldn't change anything in your essay. I thought it was good. :D
OP estherh 2 / 5  
Oct 21, 2014   #3
thank you!
hmay 1 / 7 1  
Oct 22, 2014   #4
This essay has a lot of potential! But as it stands right now, it needs more description - you use a lot of passive voice. For example:

"I was taken by surprise and a little upset, especially because the speaker of those comments was my new, and almost only, friend of the time" - using active voice here can really demonstrate a strong image of your feelings rather than just "I was..."

Also, expand more in your conclusion. You stated that the experience changed you - so provide a concrete example of how it did rather than an abstract statement.
OP estherh 2 / 5  
Oct 22, 2014   #5
Thank you so much! I definitely need to add more to the conclusion and change the passive voice...it's a bad habit :P
OP estherh 2 / 5  
Oct 25, 2014   #6
Newest edit Hey! So I edited my essay one more time...if anyone could take a look at it that would be great! Thank youu

"Oh, you got that grade cause you're Asian. Hey, do you know so-and-so? He's Asian. Don't you have some kind of Asian connection? You should date him. You guys would be the ultimate Asian couple." As an eighth grader moving to a new school, I wasn't used to being stereotyped because of my race. My old school was generally accepting and did not emphasize differences in race, so it never crossed my mind that some schools were not like this. The assumptions that my peers frequently blurted at me because of my race baffled me. My parents had instilled in me that hard work led to success, so the idea that I had gotten an A on my test because I was Asian perplexed me. I was pretty familiar to a couple B's and C's on tests and quizzes when I slacked off. My close friend from my old school, who was Caucasian, almost always got better grades than me as well, so I knew that being Asian did not mean anything in regards to intelligence.

I let the comments slide for a while because I wanted to be liked, and I didn't want to seem like the crazy Asian girl who can't take a "joke." Truth be told, on the inside I felt like I was worth as much as people of other races. If they did well on an assignment, they were considered smart, and if I got the same grade, it was because I was Asian.

After a couple months, I was done. I was done with having my hard work discredited due to my race, and I was done with the little stereotypical side comments. Even more confusing was the other Asians who had been going to school with these people for years, and laughed along with their jokes.

The day I finally snapped was when the same friend who first introduced me to Asian racial stereotypes started going on about how a new Asian guy was at our school and how I should "totally date him." I looked at her and retorted, "Do you know every single white guy that comes to school? Do you think that you're only allowed to find guys of the same race attractive?" My voice quivered with a mixture of anger, fear of starting conflict, and a budding, new-found confidence. She said nothing back, and we silently went our separate ways to class.

That day, I saw a slight change in both my friend and myself. From then on, my friend no longer commented on Asian stereotypes to me or anyone else,, for which I was grateful. I felt empowered by knowing that I didn't have to stay silent or laugh along with the jokes when I didn't feel they were right, and that I had helped at least one person see that stereotyping can be hurtful. Additionally, my perspective on racial stereotypes changed as well. Before I challenged my friend, the comments my peers flung towards me hit me very personally . However, I realized through my friend that many people are nearsighted to the effects of what they are saying can have. I now have no problem confronting people who make remarks about racial stereotypes, but I keep in mind that they simply might not know how much their racial categorization can sting. Through the whole experience, I came out as an independent, but also more understanding person who is no longer afraid to speak for herself.
vangiespen - / 4131 1449  
Oct 25, 2014   #7
Esther, this is a very good revision. You have made it very informative and your position on challenging racial stereotypes is something that needs to be heard more about in these kinds of essays because the readers themselves sometimes have a prejudiced idea of certain racial types. The way you challenged your friend's belief and ideas is the kind that any any person, pushed to the limits would have done. I have a request though, can you cut back on the stereotype information so that you can go directly to the challenge that you posed to your friend? I would suggest that you bring it to the introduction of the essay so that you can answer the prompt directly and cut back on the side stories and comments about race. In this type of essay, it is important to answer the prompt as soon as you can to make sure that the hook is clearly established. The introduction need not be too wordy nor retell too many stereotype stories. In fact, your experience with your friend was more than enough to establish that.


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