I once dated a Filipina who insisted on dragging me to Karaoke one night with all her friends. Needless to say, the night ended with a heated argument, a few four letter words, and now somewhere in the world is a 2nd class VHS video of me doing a rendition of "Kiss" by Prince. Needless to say, that relationship is long gone. But at least I was a little better than this guy:
Unfortunately, (but fortunately for the sake of a good laugh) this video got me thinking on all sorts of stereotypes. And as much as we hate to admit it, MOST OF THEM ARE TRUE!!! How else does the public come to believe that the majority of people from a certain race or region are all the same? Now don't get me wrong, there's a huge difference between a stereotype and a slur. Saying something like "You big lipped porch monkey" is one thing - and could probably get your face all River Danced up. But something like, "Minh outscored his class again on his math test. Go Figure." is certainly something to take at pi face value.
So let's start there - with the Asian community and work our way up, shall we? Please keep in mind that most of my closest friends are Asian... well... one.
Asians know Karate and Acrobatics. True. Nothing proved this more than the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. If they didn't remind you of your favorite kung fu flick, set to music, then I have 4 balls. (I only have 3). How else do they get all those extras with swords and flying kicks in those epic battle scenes? Thanks John Woo.
Old People Are Angry. Kinda True. The thing about old people is the one thing they've learned in all these years is patience. Life has gone on way longer than they expected so they're pretty chill. They've beaten the war, the disease, sent their kids away, and love oatmeal. But have you ever seen an old person get pushed to the edge? Oh boy, watch out! And it's usually over nothing. There is nothing better than a good, old fashioned, old-man cuss out. "You gotdamn eggheads! I told you three times to stay off my grass." It's basically Gran Torino without the racism.
Black People Love Fried Chicken. True and YUMMMM-MY! Shout out to Ralph's grocery store. Now Dave Chappelle once said that "If you don't like fried chicken, then there's something wrong with YOU!" I agree. But for some reason, we're pretty much the last ones left.
Black People Are Lazy. Hmmmm... True. (case in point, I've been wanting to write this blog for weeks) I laugh as I type this because I'm always the first person to leave work. Which if you ever give anyone Black extra time off work, they're the first ones gone! Watch Barack on President's day. He will be nowhere in sight. As funny as that is, I honestly leave early because I pick up my kid everyday from school. And since I'm not married, nor do I have a wife, or live with her mom, I guess that makes me a "baby daddy"... apparently I'm digging a deeper hole here than planned. Wait, I wouldn't dig a hole, I'm lazy.
Mexicans Love Kids. TRUE! Or perhaps I should've said that Mexicans Love TO HAVE kids... and since my daughter is half-one, then I'll go ahead and sign off on that. Trust me, she's invited to a new cousin's birthday party twice a week. And also since I have a half-one, I am determined to break the cycle!
White People Can't Dance. True. The white man of old, with exception of John Travolta, was not blessed with rhythmic ability. White people dancing is sort of like epilepsy set to "Journey." However, now thanks to Darren's Dance Grooves and Red Stripe beer, white people all across the world are gettin' their boogie on. Hooraaaay, White People!
Asians Are Bad Drivers. True and False. The young, Americanized Asian population can handle their own on the streets. Just ask Vin Diesel about Fast and Furious. But if you ever drive through Korea Town during rush hour (not the movie), you'll be wanting to do a little karate of your own. Each car is full of traffic indecision and the each street is filled with the mayhem of the Orient.
English People Have Bad Teeth. ABSO-FRIKKIN-LUTELY True! Luckily, this is an opportunity for American white people to point the finger at other white people. I know this one is a bit of a stretch since it's a little more biological than stereotypical. Nonetheless, it needs to be said. English teeth look like the WWF Battle Royale cage match of teeth. One pushing here, another flipped over there, one chocking another, a fat one, a skinny one... all with no referee.
I think there's something to be said about embracing our differences, and not taking ourselves so serious all the time. In fact, I think recognizing our faults or idioms or how other people may see us, forces us to step back and see ourselves as individuals within a bigger picture. You start to answer questions like "who am i to people?" Not in a depressed, suicidal way, but more along the lines of understanding how we can affect one another better. How to be of service. How to be a better person each day. How to let go of your negative interpretations on things -- even the ones we don't easily recognize. So give your non dancing, chicken eatin', karate kickin', angry ass, crooked tooth having self a once-over, accept your individuality, and take your place in the world.
and for now, peace and booty grease... (don't ask, just accept it)