Kim S. Hwang, PsyD
“I am tired of being seen as a model minority in my high school. If I get good grades it is because I’m Chinese. If I don’t get good grades, then there is something wrong with me. My White friends never have to care about this.”
Dear High school student,
“It is unfortunate, but there are some people who use stereotypes to box people. I’m sorry that this is happening at your school. Given the lack of Asian role models, especially in the Twin Cities, Minnesota and the media, people are not exposed to a wide range of Asians, both doing well academically and on a continuum.
If you feel strongly about this dynamic, maybe you can talk with your school counselor or trusted teacher about how you are feeling. You could also talk with your parents or others whom you trust. It is always difficult when someone chooses to only see you in one way. However, remind yourself that people will put onto you their stereotypes at times and that doesn’t mean that this is who you are.
Lack of knowledge, manifests itself into ignorance, both intentional and unintentional. There are going to be opportunities in your life, which will allow you to deconstruct these generalizing stereotypes.
When/if you have the energy, it can be a very powerful experience. As someone who continues to experience exactly what you are talking about in the work place, in society and even with my White friends, I realize that I get to choose when I want to say something or not. I also get to choose what to believe and internalize as well. Get support too. It is hard to feel isolated with racism.
Submit questions to dr. hwang:
The purpose of this column is to invite you, the readers, to ask questions related to psychological and emotional healthcare issues that you are seeking an opinion to.
This column is not intended to diagnose or offer absolute answers. Instead, it is a very informal platform to begin a dialogue with you the reader, about psychological and emotional healthcare issues that you would like to discuss. Your identity will be protected.
Thank you, Kim Hwang, PsyD
Kim S. Hwang, PsyD has a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. She is an adjunct professor at the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology. Email questions to drkimhwang@ aapress.com.