The 3 B's of the Asian American Identity
NOTE: this article is purely satirical
As a proud member of “Subtle Asian Traits”, an international Facebook group with over a million second generation east asian members, I like to think that I am a seasoned veteran of the second generation life. Well ok, maybe I haven’t received my UC Berkeley admissions acceptance letter yet, or opened up my own boba startup, but that doesn’t make me less qualified, because I’ve live through virtually every other asian second gen experience: slaving away at chinese school, being too tan in asia, but too pale everywhere else, and most importantly, being threatened with no dinner after a particularly bad math test. Throughout all these experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that the lifestyle of the second generation asian is built upon three simple tenets- the Three B’s. Brains, boba, and baggage.
The first B is a common stereotype about asians constantly perpetuated by the mass media- brains. And before you even ask- no. Not every single asian is naturally crazy good at math and science- not even close. Even though it’s not the case, it doesn’t stop the vast majority of our parents from wanting us to become math or science majors. This over-glorified image of the “typical asian” having to be an amazing math scholar or neurologist, constantly reinforced by both the media and a lot of asian parents, is what drives a lot of second gens to want to assimilate to the stereotype of being uniquely intelligent, leaving them in constant pursuit of “brains”.
The second B is pretty self-explanatory, because who doesn’t love boba? As a kid who’s grown up compromising her “exotic” taste buds for the sake of fitting in, it was pretty exciting for me when boba milk tea, a delicacy from my homeland, started becoming mainstream. Finally, eating asian food was hip and trendy. That may explain why every second gen is inexplicably drawn to boba milk tea- other than the fact that it tastes amazing.
The third and final B is something that most second gens don’t exactly like to bring up- the baggage that comes with being the child of an immigrant. Although we all pride ourselves in being the product of two worlds colliding, often times, juggling two cultures can be both mentally and emotionally exhausting.
Whether it’s trying to convince your immigrant parents to let you hang out with friends on Lunar New Year’s Day, or having to explain for the fifth time why that "funny joke" is actually very racially insensitive, there is a lot of pressure that comes with upholding the cultures and values of two completely different cultures. There is a lot of pressure with living with a dual identity.