Not An Asian Stereotype: Asa’s Story
Pseudonym note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Asa” is a pseudonym.
I am Taiwanese-American (ethnically Han Chinese). I was homeschooled for most of my life until I went to college. (I attended Patrick Henry College for several semesters before transferring to another Christian college.)
This should go without saying, but I can only speak for myself and from my own experience and observations. I cannot speak for others and my experience does not negate theirs or vice versa.
My experience with homeschooling has been mostly positive, and race has been no exception. Almost every homeschooled person I’ve known has been very welcoming of my race or ethnicity. This was true even in overwhelmingly white Caucasian communities of people.
The American homeschooling community is very white Caucasian, and since there are fewer homeschoolers of minority races, I think such minority people attracted more curiosity or attention. It was a good conversational ice-breaker, though. Since homeschoolers tend to be a largely Christian crowd, a lot of their interactions and conversations with me had to do with missions and what God was doing in foreign countries. Quite a few conversations revolved around China and the Chinese government.
There is a tendency for Asians to be seen as foreigners in America, though, I think, more so than people of other races. (I’m referring here to the views held by Americans as a whole, not just homeschoolers.) I think it’s because Asia is halfway across the globe – about as far away from the USA as you can get – and also because Asians comprise a relatively small percentage of the US (as compared to, say, African-Americans and Hispanics.) Time also plays a factor. African-Americans, for instance, have been part of the American societal fabric for a lot longer than Asians, and hence may be perceived by Americans as being more ‘American’ than Asians. To be fair, some Asian-Americans view each other the same way. It may be a situation that only time can improve. For reasons of this sort, I also don’t think that we’ll ever see an Asian-American President of the United States. But I digress.
Society always clings to certain stereotypes. In my experience, though, some homeschoolers held some positive stereotypes about certain races – for instance, that Asians were good at math and science, that African-American men excelled at basketball, etc. In a way, it’s a compliment, I suppose. This may have been due to, as mentioned earlier, there being relatively few minority people in the homeschooling community, which sometimes allows stereotypes to persist longer. But positive stereotypes are much better than negative stereotypes, of course.
I tend to be quite different than most American stereotypes of Asians. I’m terrible at a lot of math, for instance; I struggle with algebra and trigonometry, although I’m good at simple, quick arithmetic.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of racism in America is not by white people against minorities, but rather, by minorities against each other. Racism by minorities against each other doesn’t get addressed as much in American society as it ought to.
In summary, my experience in the American homeschooling community has been, for the most part, a friendly, welcoming and positive one.
I realize that by sharing a positive experience about homeschooling and race, my story may not fit in with your Homeschooling and Race article. But I hope you will not disqualify it from being published for that reason.