17 October 2005
Stereotypes play a significant role in the lives of many individuals. Stereotypes can be hurtful and they can be helpful. Eric Liu combats Asian stereotypes and his own thoughts of inferiority with a conscious strategy of assimilation that leads to further the spread of Asian American stereotypes and the loss of his own individuality.
When someone finds him or herself in an unfamiliar place, they tries to adapt to the surroundings by blending in. Liu believes that the way to "make it" in America is to "achieve whiteness" (148). Liu believes to be successful one must "[bleach] out the marks of a darker, dirtier past" and assimilate (148). When Eric Liu assimilated he was considered by whites to be an "honorary white." He was called an honorary white because by all standards besides his skin; he was considered white and with that consideration came privileges that may not have been extended to him otherwise. Liu was called a banana (yellow on the outside white on the inside) by other Asians, and was portrayed as a traitor by his own culture and family for embracing the power that comes from white people and their tendencies. Liu was looked down upon and was not completely by either race.
Many people hate being considered part of a stereotype and sometimes act irrationally just to be set apart from the stereotype. The strategy that Liu used to get away from the Asian American stereotype was by acting completely being to total opposite of what Asians are known for. Asians are stereotypically know for being very good at math and science, so Liu decided that he would study history. He lifted weights and went to the Marine officer candidate school to prove that he was not lacking any physical or metal strength. However, Liu states that by "working so to defy stereotypes, I became a slave to it. For to act self-consciously against Asian tendencies' is not to break loose from the cage of myth and...