You are Asian – You are a nerd!

“You are Asian, you are a nerd
“Oh, he’s Asian. Must be a total over-achiever in school.”

I just wanted to write about something that really bothers me – Stereotyping of Asians, especially Asian men. The one thing I normally hear when I talk to someone about Chinese men or any Asian men in general is “oh they are so smart” or “they are such nerds”.  From my experiences these comments have been made when talking about Chinese, Japanese and Koreans rather than someone from Thailand, Malaysia or other Asian countries. Why? I honestly don’t know why it is like this..
Yes, they’ve got smaller eyes and many of them wear glasses, they are normally not very muscular and not always very tall. But that doesn’t make them nerds.

Screen shot 2014-01-18 at 7.28.42 PM

An Asian may be smart, but once you refer to them by saying that all people who look Asian are the same way, then you are pretty much saying that they are only like that because of genetics. I mean, we all know that ALL Asians are super smart right? It must be because of the big brains and IQ of a million that they are all born with.  They are not born smart, the way people talk about Asians make it seem like they are all super smart. But hey, let’s be realistic, that’s not the way it is. There is a reason why they get good grades in school. The effort they put into studying, can you imagine all the hours and determination they have put in to it.  Imagine all these hours they have spent in front of their schoolbooks, or computers studying. But then again, lets not stereotype, not everyone put this much effort and time into studying, we can not say that the whole race are nerds just because you have seen someone study hard and achieve a goal.

Then lets talk about Western Tv shows or movies. Every Asian who is in a western movie who is not a gangster or a material artist is most likely a stereotypical Asian, nerd or geeky. Lets mention 2 TV shows who got these characters in it:

“The big bang theory” – Rajesh Koothrappali

He is supposed to be a character that gives us an idea of what nerds are like, but instead it almost insults the “nerdy culture” Koothrappali may seem like a positive portrayal of an Asian: He’s a young, budding astrophysicist with a successful career. However, there are several negative aspects to his character that contribute to stereotyping: His inability to speak to women, his thick Asian accent, and then there is his parents trying to force him into an arranged marriage.

“2 broke girls” – Han “Bryce” Lee
He is an Asian diner owner who is the boss of the 2 main characters in the show, He is portrayed as short, asexual, and always failing to understand American culture. This is just another contribution to stereotyping of Asian males. How funny is it that, the actor who plays this character, Matthew Moy is actually Chinese American and speaks perfect English.


So why do we stereotype them like this? When the truth is, in many families, the kids are being raised and taught that they have to study hard to get a good job and earn lots of money to provide for their family. I know for a fact that not everyone want to study as hard as they do, but they are doing it for their family and their wife and kids.
My last year in Beijing I met a girl from Beijing, a really smart girl, but she was so fed up with studying, she had literally given up on studying FOR A WHOLE YEAR and her parents were furious.. It was like a shame to their family, and they didn’t want to talk about it to anyone.
Also I know many Asians who are super smart and get good grades, but they also have a life, they actually go out of the library, they even go to parties! Can you guys imagine that?! Wow!.. Haha, no, but really. Please, lets stop this stereotyping of Asians, it’s getting quite ridiculous.

Whats your opinion about the stereotyping?



23 thoughts on “You are Asian – You are a nerd!

  1. well, I prefer ‘you’re Asian, you’re smart’ stereotype because it’s not really offensive, but saying all of them are nerds/otaku is too much. I must say that my husband and his friends work hard for this stereotype (girly manga on our shelf is not mine …) but saying all of them it’s just BS.
    about people from SE Asia I think some people just assume poorer country = less care about studies, but that’s not true – our Philippine friend told me when she was young no matter typhoon or heavy rain she was walking through her village with mud up to her knees to school.
    people say that all stereotypes have a little bit true in them and I think saying ‘you’re smart’ is much better than ‘wow, you’re cheap’ :DDD

    1. I totally agree, and it really frustrates me.. You know, this is very personal, but Chenchen was threatened by some of his classmates because he was “smart” and got a good grade for a project he did.. They came up to him, and followed him as he walked outside of campus.. Can you imagine?..

      1. really? assholes! if they are stupid and cannot do a project well they should look at themselves, not bully someone who gave 100% from himself! I hope it won’t happen again. Chenchen is not responsible for their grades, he won’t go their future boss and say ‘they suck cause I got a better grade’ :/ is there any institution he can get help in case he gets bullied again? those people should not be in the university, uni is not a place for children and they behave like one :/ my mind is showing them middle finger now. argh, really upsetting 😦 really, really hope he won’t need to deal with that thing. my husband got into a fight in high school in australia for that too and his school ignored that! :/ I think it’s not that bad saying ‘oh you must be smart’ but threaten people for being better… that’s just unbelievable. I just got mad!

      2. Yeah i know and its so annoying! I really cant believe it happened to Sing as well! You know, Chenchen didn’t even want to tell his classmates, he told his flatmate, but he didn’t tell his Chinese classmates because he thought it would cause too much drama. But seriously, I have never been this angry before. come on! They are adults, studying, when did it become a competition about being the smartest ?! We all want to be smart, but threaten and actually fight with someone because they are smarter? NO. Actually, hes classmate brought 2 other “big black guys”, and there he was just in the library preparing for his exam, and on hes way home they shouted his name.. makes me really angry.

      3. I just talked about it with Sing and he told me that kind of behavior is actually quite common when it goes to Asian international students – they are hardworking and that’s why they get hard results, in Asia they compete but they know threatening other person won’t change your grade. honestly I prefer Chenchen makes a drama and stay safe rather than let those guys show there’s no punishment for their behavior. next time something like that happens he should tell someone higher than them about it, I’m pretty sure he won’t be the only one in the same situation, all of Sing’s friends from high school got through the same thing, good that he was the only one who got into a fight but mental violence is also a violence. and beside for them it was high school… those guys should behave like adults, seriously :/

      4. Yeah, I agree with what Sing said aswell, I have seen it happen before, and its a shame! I will go to Glasgow soon (Chinese new year) and I REALLY HOPE I DONT SEE THESE GUYS!.. i just really wish i got the chance to talk to them. ask them why. just why. i want to know why they let something like this make them that angry. GROW UP! :/

      5. I think there’s no point, if they behave like children they will probably either laugh at you and won’t say a thing or even might hurt you just to humiliate both of you in their eyes :/ that kind of idiots are unpredictable and just keep an eye if there’s any more situation like that for now. btw. have fun with Chenchen at CNY 🙂 don’t let the thought about those assholes ruin this magic time 🙂

      6. I think, they would feel pretty ashamed also, when they find out Chenchen’s fiancee is a foreigner as well, because of course they know that he told me about what happened and between two western people that would be a pretty humiliating situation for the person who did it. But i dont want to give them any attention. just have a good time in Glasgow 😀 one day these men will learn.. 😀

      7. Where was this?

        And him keeping quiet – not only on campus but also to his Chinese mates (where they can group together for a bit of solidarity) is just making the problem worse, because to the outside world it doesn’t exist. It’s his job to kick up a fuss.

        And of course it’s about jealousy, just like when I talk to a white girl in a nightclub a white guy (or a bunch of them) HAS to do something stupid like insult me, the girl, or in some extreme cases forcibly try to dance with the girl (by grabbing her!). Yeah, real smooth. So obvious

      8. In Scotland.
        From what he told me he didn’t tell any of his Chinese class mates, but for what I know, he might have told them. Of course it’s all jealousy, nightclub or in school, its both provoked by jealousy.

  2. I think stereotypes can be really interesting. They tell you a lot about both sites: the people using the stereotypes and the people being stereotyped. And, let’s face it, there is always a truth to it to some extent. Though I just support the good stereotypes 🙂 Chinese are hard working people. And many are very smart because they work hard. But of course, that does not implicate that other countries don’t have smart hardworking people. They say, Germans are always punctual and love details, and this stereotype makes it actually easier to get a job abroad haha
    What I find extremely funny is the stereotype you talked about. The portrayal of Chinese in TV shows or movies. Whether they are nerds or they do martial arts. Sometimes people ask me jokingly if my hubby knows moves like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan as he is Chinese and all. My hubby is a Kungfu teacher lol That cracks them up. So, he falls into the “every Chinese knows Martial Arts” stereotype. He never went to university. Don’t even know if you can count that Kungfu school as a real High school, so nope, would never call him a nerd.

    1. Haha, I agree with you! some stereotypes are good! Although, there is 1 stereotype that can … Kiss my %#$.. “Blondes are stupid” haha.. I dont know how many times people have said something like that to me… grr.. haha so funny about your hubby! i talked a lot about it with my bf and i was like “I’m writing about how people always say that Asians are nerds” and he went “I’m not a nerd.. Im studying and working hard, because I want to be able to provide for my family in the future, but you know that I’m not a nerd.. right? I still go out and have fun and do other things and not only study”.. haha poor guy! But its true.. I feel frustrated when someone ask me if my bf is a nerd..Its like the one thing they know about Asians .. – Nerds, Kungfu & and about their personal parts.. haha

      1. Luckily I have never spent too much time in the west since I know my other half. So very few times people ask me stupid questions. Usually they would ask about china in general. The worst question is “did you eat dog?” EVERY F…. TIME! Many people have more bad stereotypes about china as a country.
        But it’s not just westerners. Chinese have awful stereotypes if it comes to us westerners -.- every can driver will ask my hubby all kind of extremely rude questions about me! They all think I don’t speak and understand a word Chinese! So actually I am more annoyed be the stereotypes Chinese have towards western girls because I have been confronted with that more often…

      2. I totally understand you, the cab drivers ALWAYS ask these stupid questions.. and there’s always one question they ask my bf “Is she Russian?” Haha, they think that ALL blondes are from Russia.. at least in Beijing. And he’s like.. “Shes from Norway” .. “Whats that? a city in Russia?” haha. He eventually got so sick of the conversations with the cab drivers that we just decided to say that I’m Russian. I haven’t gotten that many weird questions since I moved back, but the dog one is always a funny one..

  3. And no offence girls, but being stereotyped for a different nationality doesn’t compare to the (very) damaging stereotypes that asian men get…If all people did was stereotype that I was Chinese/Japanese/Korean etc, I really wouldn’t care.

  4. I was once asked why the stereotype that Asians were smart could be damaging. I answered that basically, it discounted all of the hard work that I put into my grades. I have a friend who actually couldn’t get into medical school. Some of the people he tutored actually got in because they weren’t Asian and were held to a different standard. If you ask me, I consider that racist. I would say to people, “So, you’re saying these people deserve to get into higher education because they’re just naturally more dumb than us and NEED HELP? Is that the kind of racist mentality going on in your head?”

    1. I have heard about similar stories and I definitely feel that some universities and people in general treat / have higher standards towards Asians when it comes to school , work etc. I think it’s completely wrong and I think that this is the one thing that bothers me the most when it comes to stereotyping. Because it is actually quite damaging to some people.

  5. why people consider east Asian are nerd?! well, because they are….. Confucianism is the dominated religion in this region for thousands years, the way they practice it is study… Confucius said, everything is degrade except reading books(study)万般皆下品,唯有读书高。it’s already in their blood, and I don’t think it is a bad thing.

    1. It’s definitely not a bad thing ! I am super impressed and proud of them all ! But when they are treated differently, and being threatened just because they are “nerds” it’s something completely different. And to me that’s not acceptable, good at studying or not, you should not be threatened 🙂

  6. hello there I am a Taiwanese guy, sorry to hear that your man being threatened by some assholes……here are some advices for him….workout, learn martial arts, carry weapons, and stop staying quiet when someone is trying to put shit on you, all my Asian friends IN US are friendly but once you make them angry they will actually bite back and that is the only way to deal with the insecure losers, and no one ever start shit in front of me when I was in US because I am not a typical nice dude, stay tough, stay strong, all the best!!

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