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The View from These “Slanted” Eyes

By May 10, 2011One Comment
By Chris Ly
New Organizing Project blogger

Being born with “slanted” eyes in America ensures many a childhood filled with trials and tribulations. As an Asian American growing up in Atlanta, I was bullied throughout elementary school, where the majority of the student population was Caucasian and African American. The kids that went to the school were ignorant, and I was one of the only Asian Americans attending this school. Although I was able to make a couple of friends here and there, they would be pressured to join with “their own” or be bullied with me (If you’ve been there, didn’t you hate it when that happened?! I just needed a friend or two!). The latter was never accepted; I became somewhat lonely. Though there were other youth of color in the school, they had been raised to assimilate to the “American” way.

I wouldn’t say all Asian American kids have the same story, but probably the majority did. It’s difficult being “different” as a child going to a school with people you are not used to being around.

Today, with bullying on the rise, more and more children of different races and sizes are being bullied just because they are not the same as everyone else.

What can we do to stop this?

One way is to teach our kids that it’s okay to be different.

Growing up with “slanted,” “Asian” eyes, I was expected to either become a doctor, lawyer and/or someone successful. Stereotypes attacked my life from every direction. I’m PROUD to say that I’m NOT good at math, although I am an EXCELLENT driver. Not the typical overachieving Asian kid, huh.

How have stereotypes affected you? We can probably learn and understand each other a lot better if we communicate with each other more, stereotype less and not let images get in the way.

The blogging Asian American youth from Atlanta, L.A. and Chicago have made a pact to raise awareness with critical analysis from our eyes and our perspectives. Through NOP (New Organizing Project) Generation 2, we’ll be bringing our issues – the ones that always seem to be overlooked or brushed under the rug – to the forefront and online. And what better time than May, which is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month. So let’s hear your stories. Tell me, how have your eyes affected your life and your perspective?