Stereotypes Shone to Light
A new country, a new language, and stereotypical racism; a challenge for all immigrants, but for Hasan Minhaj and Alex Dang, they are born in America, and have the right to be treated like an American citizen but they must deal with the stereotypes that they face every day dismissing the fact that they are proud citizens. Minhaj, the author and performer of Homecoming King, a Netflix comedy show, was born in America but always felt discriminated against because of the colour of his skin although he is an American citizen. Alex Dang author of “What Type of Asian Are You?” a spoken word, expresses his feelings about the American pressure to assimilate into American’s culture through his spoken word. Both Minhaj and Dang face various stereotype actions and describe what they feel and how they perceive. Where Homecoming King and “What Type of Asian Are You?” differ is Minhaj feels he is a strong American and questions why he must constantly prove his nationality and patriotism to America, while Dang feels shame of being an immigrant and the pressure to assimilate into American culture. Regardless of the difference between them Minhaj an Indian American and Dang a Chinese American, are proud of who they are and where they come from. They have resiliency against the racism and stereotypes that they face throughout their lives.
Minhaj’s father, who raised Minhaj in America, believes that if you immigrate, there must be a “American dream tax”. That tax is racism. On the other hand, Minhaj was born in America, he is a born citizen. He does not believe that he must pay any racism tax. After 9/11, his family’s car windows were smashed, and items were stolen. Minhaj told the audience about a time of physical and verbal violence against his family: “’Hey you sand nigger, where’s Osama?’ … I hear ‘thud, thud, thud’ Outside. Me and Dad run outside and all the windows on the Camry are smashed in,” (Storer, 2017). While Minhaj was furious and wanted to find who did this, his father, just cleaned up the street and acted like it was not a problem, only coming to say, “These things happen, and these things will continue to happen”. Which in turn Minhaj realized what difference and generational gap they have. Minhaj has the audacity not to be bigoted against because of the stereotype that he has a Muslim and Indian heritage. But this stereotype followed him. Bethany Reed and her family was not racist against him until the opportunity came to show other people who is going to prom with Bethany. “We have a lot of family back home in Nebraska and we’re going to be taking photos, so we don’t think you’d be a good fit.” ( Storer,2017). This was a devastating moment in Minhaj’s life. Turned away from people who have been friendly to him for as long as he has known them. All because they were afraid of Minhaj because the colour of his skin. That’s when he realizes that people can still be racist even if they were smiling and kind towards him.
Through Alex Dang’s spoken word “What Type of Asian Are You?” he explains the societal pressure from America to assimilate into their culture and the struggle his and his family went through, historically and modern day. In “What Type” he says that by collectively putting him in a stereotypical Asian box. In Dang’s spoken word, he says “Making us assimilate into America we thought was better than our war torn home” (Dang,66,67) This quote explains that there may not be any wars in America, but there is a racial war. People are afraid of other ethnic groups and create stereotypes and are bigoted against immigrants and different ethnic groups. Furthermore, Dang disagreed with the idea of Asian being one nationality. By doing this he says, “Every time you confuse me with some other nationality that I might share similar features to is stripping away my individuality” (Dang,67,68,69). He explains that by putting him in a stereotypical Asian box, then you take away his individuality, his personality and what’s unique about him. Also, Dang feels that American culture and society puts pressure on him to assimilate into their culture. In doing so, making Dang feel ashamed of his heritage. “The envy of blonde hair/and blue eyes”. (Dang,73,74). Dang tells the reader the struggles what his family went through, not being able to speak the language, and the difficulty to adapt to the new country. The stereotypes of his culture hold a weight on Dang. As he mentioned earlier in his poem, he says different types of stereotypes that people assume he is like. This is not the case for Dang. It strips away his identity as a Vietnamese American.
Minhaj and Alex face many challenges when it comes to stereotypes and racism. In their lives, they have been bombarded with stereotypes but still have been able to overcome the obstacle. The stereotypes that Hasan has experienced made him question the reasoning of his American citizenship. This realization led Hasan to feel proud of who is and where he came from. Hasan came to the realization and told the audience: “I care about what she represents. Growing up, we wanted that co-sign. To tell them you’re good enough.” (Storer,2017). This quote illustrates that growing up in America coming from a different ethnic background, other than Caucasians background, has a looming pressure to be accepted by the majority. Although the hard times, Hasan’s life he came to realize he doesn’t need to be accepted because of his skin colour. Alex Dang spoken word consists mainly of an angry and frustrated tone towards the stereotypes he is faced with, but he also explains he is proud of who he is. When he says, “And I still feel the ironwork of my bones/grow stronger with every train of thought that/passes by”. (Dang,86,87,89). A description of his feelings and attitude about how he is above the stereotypes and racism.
In conclusion, Hasan Minhaj’s life story showed the many times he had faced up against stereotypes and racism, and Alex Dang’s spoken word was a relentless poem of no matter how much stereotypes affect him, it can truly never bring him down. Minhaj and Dang had many hardships when it comes to dealing with stereotypes but where able to overcome them and recognize their pride and strength of their own culture while also being proud to be American. Both performers show that the racism that they face has a hefty toll on them, but they show the audience, they will never be broken down to the point of total loss of identity. Minhaj and Dang wonder how long they must continue to fight and as Minhaj said, “But isn’t it our job to push the needle forward little by little?”. (Storer, 2017).
Two thing that I am proud of are:
That I clearly state what my question is and my thesis.
I have lots of evidence to support my arguement
Two thing i could improve on:
To make my writing less choppy, make it flow better
To integrate my quotes better with a better delivery for the quote