Author: Tracey Liu, Deerfield High School ‘23
Throughout my childhood, I had been made fun of and ridiculed because of my heritage. The very heritage that I was once so proud of, and yet laughed at because of how different I was. I had been made fun of for my eyes, my vision, and stereotyped for being a “typical Asian.” And yet, after years and years of enduring such things, I learned to accept it.
But now, looking back on those taunts and laughter, I am disgusted. Utterly grossed out with how I let them mistreat me, how I let those children bully me, how I finally gave in, and began to believe that they were right for acting in such a way, how I became ashamed of my own culture. I am disgusted with how they have influenced and determined my self-worth, and how the likes of them have decided how I should feel about my body, my culture, and my facial features. During my childhood, my self-esteem plummeted, and I became extremely insecure, constantly wishing that I was white and like the other blonde-haired, blue-eyed girls society had normalized. I no longer recognized myself; I was someone who needed others to define who I was and what I was worth.
Slowly though, I have learned that I should love my culture and be proud of who I am, even if I may not look like “other girls.”
And yet, years later, trends that have become publicized are, in a way, mimicking Asian culture. The self-hatred that I had faced almost eons ago is now replaced by a growing anger towards the trends that are now deemed “cool” or “trendy”- trends that are deemed hypocritical by the Asian community.
An example of this is the so-called fox-eye trend: a natural, resting eye look for me that many of my classmates used to mock me for during my childhood years. On Tiktok, my For You Page is covered with people still doing the fox-eye trend, with no intention of stopping. On Instagram, thousands of Instagram models have, in a sense, influenced their audience into thinking this is okay.
Underlying racist comments disguised as jokes are often thrown at Asians. Young children typically receive the brunt of these attacks and become ashamed of their heritage. We were once ridiculed and taunted for looking a different way, others are now making themselves look like us, and getting applauded for it.
They do not get to be worshipped for this hypocrisy, this very attitude which places those outside the Asian community on a pedestal for faking facial features which were gifted to my community. It normalizes the underlying racism surrounding the Asian community and is a sophisticated form of xenophobia. They cannot do that. The Asian community cannot allow them to do that.
It is not okay. It is not funny, it is not cool, and it is not trendy. It is disrespectful to us, it is pious behavior, and it is downright disgusting to see this happening.
Do not let 2020 get even more out of hand than it already is. Do not let 2020 be the year where trends target minorities and neglect the underlying issues of racism. Do not cover up barbed insults and pretend they are jokes, because, in truth, we all know that they aren’t.
Do not let 2020 be the year where such hypocrisy is allowed and normalized.
Courtesy of Tracey Liu