The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

The truth behind stereotypes

 The truth behind stereotypes
The truth behind stereotypes

The truth behind stereotypes

What dumb topic shall I write about this week? I write about so many dumb things, and it cracks me up to no end how someone can ever take me seriously. I kind of feel sorry for anyone who does. I think that if they took a moment to figure out what crawled into their breakfast cereal, they’d realize that writing about dumb things is my whole intent. Now, if I begin to discuss important political issues, for instance stem cell research, using entirely meaningless slang and with a straight face, then you have the right, if not the obligation as an intellectual, to find me and shoot me. But until hell becomes the Ice Capades, anyone dumb enough to take humping neighbors and alcohol capers seriously, is, well, dare I say, dumb?

Speaking of dumb, I started thinking about stereotypes. I love stereotypes. They give me plenty of material to write about. I guess making fun of stereotypes is my way of rejecting them and rejecting the tendency to assume things about people. But more often than not, I don’t need a reason to make fun of anything. I just do.

I never understood why they call it a bubble. Isn’t it more like a bio-dome? Some believe SMU is a bio-dome, which I beg to differ. You want to talk about a bio-dome? Where I attended high school, I didn’t even have Asian friends. Before I came to college, I was my own Asian friend. SMU is more diverse than people would believe. It just depends on how far and wide we’re willing to open our eyes and our minds.

Whether or not we came from a bio-dome originally, I’m sure we all came to college with a few presumptions, because somewhere, we heard about some of the stereotypes that are out there. In fact, we all probably knew about the southern millionaire stereotype about SMU. There are stereotypes about everything, from racial stereotypes to school stereotypes. If you can group it, then you’ve created a stereotype.

What’s even funnier than the stereotypes are the terms for those that don’t meet someone’s presumptions, such as “Twinkie” and “Oreo.” The lesson here? Be your stereotype or you’ll end up being some type of after school snack.

If I had a nickel for every time someone has called me “white-washed,” I’d have enough to pay off my student loans.

So what makes an Asian, well, Asian? Let’s take a moment to answer the stereotype questionnaire.

-Is your major engineering, math and/or any form of science?

Yes, engineering. And math.

-Do you speak an Asian language?


-Did your parents want you to go to medical school and become a doctor at any point?

Yes. I think they still do.

-Did you play the piano or violin as a kid?

Yes, both.

-Did you ever win a spelling bee?

As a matter of fact, yes.

-Do you own a rice rocket?

I drive an SUV. It’s Japanese. Does that mean anything?

-Are your parents either doctors or nail technicians?

I can only wish, because then maybe they could show me how to take care of my nails or my health, neither of which I do.

-Do you eat rice everyday?

No, but I do eat a lot of pasta, if you consider Ramen pasta.

-Finally, do you know any form of martial arts?

No. But why is it that it’s the Asian chick that always has the swords in movies? Those who have seen Sin City, Kill Bill or Rush Hour 2 know what I’m talking about. I could be wrong, but there seems to be an implication of typecasting, here.

Some of the Asian stereotypes work in my favor. For instance, I kind of like the assumption that every Asian is smart. It’s quite flattering, actually, to have someone automatically think you’re smart when they first meet you. I’m okay with that, because that means I don’t have to put forth any effort to be smart. Or at least appear to be smart. We all know I’m an idiot, though.

Any kid growing up most likely had to take piano lessons. I don’t see how playing the piano makes me Asian or what I drive for that matter. I guess when it starts to define character and set the basis for assumptions, that’s when it gets ridiculous. Anything that has to do with assumption is trouble, not because it makes an ASS out of U and ME. I’m not going to be cute here. Crudely put, it just makes you look like an ass when you assume the wrong thing.

To some effect, stereotypes are rooted in truth. Somewhere, someone made an observation about someone else and then decided to be an ass and make an assumption about everyone. So, it starts out with an observation. Observation then leads to assumption and/or generalizations. And that assumption leads to expectation, so that you come to expect everyone to be a certain way. It probably should have stopped at observation, because hey, there are white guys who can dance. There are black guys who don’t play basketball. And if you are a bad dancer, that doesn’t make you white. You’re just a bad dancer.

Or not drunk enough.

If you do play basketball, that doesn’t make you black. You just know how to play basketball. If you do eat rice everyday, well then, you’re probably in better shape than the rest of us who thrive on burgers and pizza everyday.

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