Journal Article — “Asian”: Just A Simple Word — by Kuong C. Ly

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Throughout my life, I’m face with several questions of “What does it mean to be Asian?” and “How do you define being Asian?” “It’s only a word” is what I tell myself. But, I know that it is so much more than that.

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Abstract

Throughout my life, I’m face with several questions of “What does it mean to be Asian?” and “How do you define being Asian?” “It’s only a word” is what I tell myself. But, I know that it is so much more than that. The racial side of my mind tells me I should break the Asian American mold of model minority myth and challenge the general public’s opinion of Asian Americans by becoming a blue-collar college dropout, or by carrying out the struggle for social justice by voicing the need to bring down the false stereotypes of “model minority” that society has built. But by doing so, I’m only validating the stereotypes that the Asian American community has placed on my Cambodian American ethnic identity. So, the ethnic part of my mind tells me that I should break the mold placed on Cambodian Americans by getting a college education and pursuing the model minority myth. Does that mean that by doing so the racial side of my mind has won, or does that mean that the ethnic side of my mind has triumphed? The battle between which of the two molds I should be breaking remains, and I’m still torn as to what it means to be “Asian”—after all it’s just a simple word. Or is it?

Recommended Citation

Ly، Kuong C. 2003/2004. ““Asian”: Just A Simple Word.” Pp. 116-121 in Students’ Critical Theories in Applied Settings (Human Architecture: Journal of the Sociology of Self-Knowledge: Volume II, Issue 2,  2003/2004). Belmont, MA: Okcir Press (an imprint of Ahead Publishing House).

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