It Isn’t Easy Being an Asian-American

December 20, 2017

Here’s an opinion piece of mine from The New York Times in 2015 that I never posted so here it is:

new york times

The term “model minority” both dismisses an individual’s hard work, blood, sweat and tears, and keeps other races down. At first it sounds like a compliment, but it’s not.

If a bully is about to beat me up but thinks twice because Bruce Lee movies make him or her think all Asians know kung fu, then I benefit from that false assumption. While that might make me temporarily glad, in the long run, it’s just another step in the gantlet of Asian stereotypes: math nerd, geisha, dragon lady.

The expectation of success in itself is a problem. Princeton University has already produced a study that shows in college admissions, Asians need higher SAT scores. Moreover, if you have great grades, but not supersonic, epic, straight A-pluses in all AP classes, you are just considered a loser. By your own family. Asian kids of America, you are more than your grade point average and your accomplishments on paper. Asian parents, some of you are driving your kids to suicide. So lay off!

At the same time, discrimination against Asian-Americans is alive and well. The idea that we are advantaged comes from a place of fear. Fear that we are “taking over.” It’s a new Yellow Peril, repackaged. No matter what designer clothes, Ph.D.s, or other signifiers of success adorn us now, we are still seen as “other.”

We who have suffered all share the sentiment Morticia Addams uttered with sang froid, “We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.” But hey, here’s an obstacle many Asian-Americans don’t realize until too late in the game: It’s lonely at the top. If we are going to be truly successful we need to consider not just diplomas and salaries, but our ability to express compassion and affection. Don’t forget to have a life. And friends.

Let’s redefine success to include our emotional reality. The advantage of experiencing real human connection blows all that other stuff out of the water.

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San Francisco Chronicle: “Tiger baby strikes back over parenting”

July 1, 2013


Here’s the link to the article in the San Francisco Chronicle.

China Daily: Author takes on Tiger Mother

July 1, 2013


An article from China Daily USA

An interview with Deborah Kalb

July 1, 2013


An interview with Deborah Kalb where I suggest a short story idea: Altercation at the Meat Counter

Sacramento Bee: “‘Tiger Babies’ answers the Tiger Mother”

July 1, 2013


Read the article in the Sacramento Bee.

Parenting Roundtable Discussion from NPR

May 24, 2013

npr interview

Here you can read the transcript or listen to the parenting roundtable discussion from NPR with Michel Martin, Jeff Yang and Anupy Singla:

Wall Street Journal

May 24, 2013

wall street journal

From the Wall Street Journal:

Interview with Conversations on the Coast

May 24, 2013

conversations on the coast

Here’s an interview with Conversations on the Coast, including a short reading:

Listen to Interview

Interview on Fox and Friends

May 22, 2013


Click here if you’d like to watch my appearance on Fox & Friends:

Article on Business Insider

May 22, 2013


A fun interview with Lynne Guey from Business Insider: