Asian American Quotes

Quotes tagged as "asian-american" Showing 1-30 of 89
“One characteristic of racism is that children are treated like adults and adults are treated like children. Watching a parent being debased like a child is the deepest shame. I cannot count the number of times I have seen my parents condescended to or mocked by white adults. This was so customary that when my mother had any encounter with a white adult, I was always hypervigilant, ready to mediate or pull her away. To grow up Asian in America is to witness the humiliation of authority figures like your parents and to learn not to depend on them: they cannot protect you.”
Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

“When I hear the phrase “Asians are next in line to be white,” I replace the word “white” with “disappear.” Asians are next in line to disappear. We are reputed to be so accomplished, and so law-abiding, we will disappear into this country’s amnesiac fog. We will not be the power but become absorbed by power, not share the power of whites but be stooges to a white ideology that exploited our ancestors. This country insists that our racial identity is beside the point, that it has nothing to do with being bullied, or passed over for promotion, or cut off every time we talk. Our race has nothing to do with this country, even, which is why we’re often listed as “Other” in polls and why we’re hard to find in racial breakdowns on reported rape or workplace discrimination or domestic abuse. It’s like being ghosted, I suppose, where, deprived of all social cues, I have no relational gauge for my own behavior. I ransack my mind for what I could have done, could have said. I stop trusting what I see, what I hear. My ego is in free fall while my superego is boundless, railing that my existence is not enough, never enough, so I become compulsive in my efforts to do better, be better, blindly following this country’s gospel of self-interest, proving my individual worth by expanding my net worth, until I vanish.”
Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

Charles Yu
“You’re here, supposedly, in a new land full of opportunity, but somehow have gotten trapped in a pretend version of the old country.”
Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu
“Mr. Wu, is it true that you have an internalized sense of inferiority?

That because on the one hand you, for obvious reasons, have not been and can never be fully assimilated into mainstream, i.e., White America—

And on the other hand neither do you feel fully justified in claiming solidarity with other historically and currently oppressed groups. That while your community’s experience in the United States has included racism on the personal and the institutional levels, including but not limited to: immigration quotas, actual federal legislation expressly excluding people who look like you from entering the country. Legislation that was in effect for almost a century. Antimiscegenation laws. Discriminatory housing policies. Alien land laws and restrictive covenants. Violation of civil liberties including internment. That despite all of that, you somehow feel that your oppression, because it does not include the original American sin—of slavery—that it will never add up to something equivalent. That the wrongs committed against your ancestors are incommensurate in magnitude with those committed against Black people in America. And whether or not that quantification, whether accurate or not, because of all of this you feel on some level that you maybe can’t even quite verbalize, out of shame or embarrassment, that the validity and volume of your complaints must be calibrated appropriately, must be in proportion to the aggregate suffering of your people.

Your oppression is second-class.”
Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown

Celeste Ng
“Asian men could be socially inept and incompetent and ridiculous, like a Long Duk Dong, or at best unthreatening and slightly buffoonish, like a Jackie Chan. They were not allowed to be angry and articulate and powerful. And possibly right, Mr. Richardson thought uneasily.”
Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

Monique Truong
“I was certain t find the familiar sting of salt, but what I needed to know was what kind: kitchen, sweat, tears or the sea.”
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

Monique Truong
“Alcohol, I had learned, was an eloquent if somewhat inaccurate interpreter. I had placed my trust that December night in glass after glass of it, eager not for drink but for a bit of talk. ”
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

Monique Truong
“All my favorite establishments were either overly crowded or pathetically empty. People either sipped fine vintages in celebration or gulped intoxicants of who cares what kind, drowning themselves in a lack of moderation, raising a glass to lower inhibitions, imbibing spirits to raise their own. ”
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

Monique Truong
“I am forced to admit that I am, to them, nothing but a series of destinations with no meaningful expanses in between. ”
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

“When we say ‘Asian American’ we are talking about so much more than can be fit in a single stereotype.”
Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

Wesley Yang
“My interest has always been in the place where sex and race are both obscenely conspicuous and yet consciously suppressed, largely because of the liminal place that the Asian man occupies in the midst of it: an “honorary white” person who will always be denied the full perquisites of whiteness; an entitled man who will never quite be regarded or treated as a man; a nominal minority whose claim to be a “person of color” deserving of the special regard reserved for victims is taken seriously by no one. In an age characterised by the politics of resentment, the Asian man knows something of the resentment of the embattled white man besieged on all sides by grievances and demands for reparation, and something of the resentments of the rising social justice warrior, who feels with every fibre of their being that all that stands in the way of the attainment of their thwarted ambitions is nothing so much as a white man. Tasting of the frustrations of both, he is denied the entitlements of either.”
Wesley Yang, The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays

“In the popular imagination, Asian Americans inhabit a vague purgatorial status: not white enough nor black enough; distrusted by African Americans, ignored by whites, unless we’re being used by whites to keep the black man down.

We are the carpenter ants of the service industry, the apparatchiks of the corporate world, we are math-crunching middle managers who keep the corporate wheels greased but who never get promoted since we don’t have the right ‘face’ for leadership.

We have a content problem. They think we have no inner resources. But while I may look impassive, I'm frantically paddling my feet underwater, always overcompensating to hide my devouring feelings of inadequacy.

There's a ton of literature on the self-hating Jew and the self-hating African American, but not enough has been said about the self-hating Asian.

Racial self hatred is seeing yourself whites see you, which turns you into your own worst enemy. Your only defence is to be hard on yourself, which becomes compulsive, and therefore a comfort: to peck yourself to death.”
Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

Wesley Yang
“[…] as the bearer of an Asian face in America, you paid some incremental penalty, never absolute, but always omnipresent, that meant that you were by default unlovable and unloved; that you were presumptively a nobody, a mute and servile figure, distinguishable above all by your total incapacity to threaten anyone; that you were many laudable things that the world might respect and reward, but that you were fundamentally powerless to affect anyone in a way that would make you either loved or feared.

What was the epistemological status of such an extravagant assertion? Could it possibly be true? Could it survive empirical scrutiny? It was a dogmatic statement at once unprovable and unfalsifiable. It was a paranoid statement about the way others regarded you that couldn’t possibly be true in any literal sense. It had no real truth value, except that under certain conditions, one felt it with every fibre of one’s being to be true.”
Wesley Yang, The Souls of Yellow Folk: Essays

Monique Truong
“The irony of acquiring a foreign tongue is that I have amassed just enough cheap, serviceable words to fuel my desires and never, never enough lavish, imprudent ones to feed them. It is true, though, that there are some French words that I have picked up quickly, in fact, words that I cannot remember not knowing. As if I had been born with them in my mouth, as if they were seeds of a sour fruit that someone else ate and then ungraciously stuffed its remains into my mouth. ”
Monique Truong, The Book of Salt

“In terms of intergroup relations, the myth of the model minority has served to pit Asian Americans against other groups targeted by racism. the accusing message of the dominant society to Blacks, Latinxs, and Native Americans is, 'They overcame discrimination—why can't you?' Of course...any group comparisons that don't take into account differential starting points are inherently flawed.”
Beverly Daniel Tatum, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

C Pam Zhang
“Burial is just another recipe”
C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills Is Gold

“In western societies, Asian men are considered the least attractive race of men, uniformly passed off as inadequate, unattractive sexual partners by women of all races. Scientific studies have been conducted in which women of every race identify Asian men as the least desirable, and not only that, on average Asian men need to make more than 75% than men of other races to attract white women which are the pickiest women of all races. Not only that, whereas all women of all races prefer men of their own race, that is, the vast majority of black women prefer black men, white women prefer white men, Mexican women prefer Mexican men, etc, this trend is only reversed in the case of Asian men. The vast majority of Asian women prefer non-Asian men as sexual partners; about 50% of Asian women marry non-Asian men and a whopping 80% of Asian women have had sexual intercourse or are currently cohabiting with non-Asian men, the vast majority of which are white men. Not only that, in many cases, Asian women tend to make more money than their non-Asian sexual partners, which is unheard of for women of other races, since in all other races women prefer to date men who make more money than themselves. Asian men are so inferior not only are non-Asian women rejecting them, even Asian women reject Asian men.”
Ling Anderson, My Miserable Life as an Asian Boy Growing up in America: Humiliation, forced feminization, forced homosexuality, castration, brainwashing, slavery, solitary confinement, despair

Charles Yu
“And there’s just something about Asians — their faces, their skin color — it just automatically takes you out of this reality. Forces you to step back and say, Whoa, whoa, whoa, what is this? What kind of world are we in? And what are these Asians doing in our cop show?”
Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown

“One participant described her frustration when she joined the Asian American Association in high school: 'I totally did not fit in...It kind of made me mad because I looked like them, so I felt like I identified with them, but once I got in, I learned I really don't at all.' Caught between the expectations of two groups, [transracial adoptees] often felt rejected by White people due to physical differences and by people of their birth ethnicity due to lack of language and cultural knowledge.”
Beverly Daniel Tatum, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

“Being indebted is to be cautious, inhibited, and to never speak out of turn. It is to lead a life constrained by choices that are never your own. The man or woman who feels comfortable holding court at a dinner party will speak in long sentences, with heightened dramatic pauses, assured that no one will interject while they’re mid-thought, whereas I, who am grateful to be invited, speak quickly in clipped compressed bursts, so that I can get a word in before I’m interrupted.

If the indebted Asian immigrant thinks they owe their life to America, the child thinks they owe their livelihood to their parents for their suffering. The indebted Asian American is therefore the ideal neoliberal subject. I accept that the burden of history is solely on my shoulders; that it’s up to me to earn back reparations for the losses my parents incurred, and to do so, I must, without complaint, prove myself in the workforce.”
Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

Vivien Chien
“Things to know about me: I'm half English, half Taiwanese, and no, I don't know karate. I'm definitely not good at math and I don't know how to spell your name in Chinese.”
Vivien Chien, Death by Dumpling

“Sometimes, though no one ever asks, I say that it was moving to the East Coast that led me to understand that I was raced—to understand that the gaze upon my body bore the effects of a system far larger than me. I could no longer think of myself as a neutral subject; no one was, and in that realization there was a kind of relief. Emboldened by my reading, I began to consider my own Asian-Americanness, and within it to draw a distinction between East and Southeast Asian, finally acknowledging the effects of being a repeatedly colonized subject—the ways women who looked like me had been degraded and degraded. Because I was emphatically a brown girl fucking, I related to the term ABJECT so much that I made endless puns about it: ABJECT PERMENANCE, ABJECT STORY, ABJECT OF YOUR AFFECTION. For that was how I felt, melodramatic as it was: cast-off, objectified. Kristeva was the spotlight that illuminated my condition.”
Larissa Pham, Pop Song: Adventures in Art & Intimacy

Loan Le
“It’s an unfortunate reminder that as much as my community represents the true American Dream—building a foundation out of uncertain hopes and dreams—people like you would rather be ignorant or spread hate than accept this reality.”
Loan Le, A Pho Love Story

“No one can take away my heritage or history. At the same time, it is up to me to discover and embrace that knowledge.”
The Thoughtful Beast

“I am the perfect shade of brown. I wish not to lighten my skin, but lighten the burden of those who came before me that conformed to another hue.”
The Thoughtful Beast

“I only preserve traditions that bring joy, not traditions that keep people from it.”
The Thoughtful Beast

“My nose does not look like Barbie's nose and that's perfectly fine.”
The Thoughtful Beast

“I am an Asian goddess! I love myself and show others they can love themselves as well.”
The Thoughtful Beast

“It's the 21st century. I am not submissive. I can own property. You cannot call me exotic.”
The Thoughtful Beast

Julia Flynn Siler
“Some people have a great fashion of calling things they do not like yellow. You exclude the yellow man. You fear the yellow peril. I edit a white paper turned out by yellow men, and many white men turn out yellow papers.”
Julia Flynn Siler, The White Devil's Daughters: The Fight Against Slavery in San Francisco's Chinatown

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