By Eliza Cana


Asian-Americans suffer from a “they all look the same,” “one size fits all” mentality.
Physical attributes of a “typical” Asian describe us as short, brown skinned, dark hair and brown slanted eyes. Most people in our community would probably describe a Filipino when asked to characterize someone who is of Asian ancestry, because of the large number of Filipinos that represent our school’s Asian population.
Ignorance of the many ethnicities within the diverse Asian races gives some folks permission to generalize and discriminate.
There are 13 main Asian ethnic groups in America. People of Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Korean, and Vietnamese cultures have very different traditions and physical appearances from each other. As do people of Japanese, Cambodian, Pakistani, Laotian and Hmong cultures. Then there are also Thai, Taiwanese, Indonesian and Bangladeshi cultures that differ immensely from each other. Ethnicities within Asian origins should not be generalized.
As a Filipino-American, I am a victim of generalization. In my workplace, I am “one of the Asians.” Even after months of working in the same place, I am still mistaken for my co-worker, who is also Filipino, by some of my other co-workers. Although my co-workers’ mistake is not intended to offend me, by mistaking me for someone who is also Filipino, my identity is diminished into “another Asian girl” instead of as a unique individual.
Stereotypes for Filipinos are not often seen as negative attributes, since those stereotypes typically involve Filipinos being good students, nursing and engineering majors, hard workers, and polite, quiet, and obedient people, but being generalized as these clichés create a sense of monotony and sameness. The biggest flaw to these generalizations is that these are stereotypes that are not true for all Filipinos.


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