Glossary

ABC: American Born Chinese. This usually refers to Asian-Americans in general. The term become popular to use because more and more of the Asian immigrants had kids in the United States. This created a whole new group of people that were no longer Asian but Asian-American. This term sparked the author Gene Luen Yang to title his graphic novel, American Born Chinese. The book explores the racial struggles experienced by the Chinese and the common stereotypes. In addition, the new term created a lot of identity confusion for these kids and the book tries to grapple with the new identity of ABCs.

Bamboo Ceiling: Refers to the processes and barriers that exclude Asian-Americans from executive positions based on the combination of individual, cultural, and organizational factors. This something that impedes the advancement of Asian-Americans’ career progress within an organization. Many Fortune 500 firms have a negative perception of Asians and citing them as nerds or geeks without the looks and social skills to become an executive. In many cases there are second or third-generation Asian-Americans that have developed a certain set of behaviors at home that do not translate to success in corporate America. It is a big issue affecting a lot of Asian-Americans in the workforce and there are multiple factors that continue to uphold this bamboo ceiling.

Banana or Twinkie: An Asian-American who has lost their heritage.

Chink: A derogatory term for Asians. It is usually associated with Chinese people.

Model Minority: This stereotype is typically associated with Asian Americans. Asian Americans are seen as one of the most successful minority groups in America. Many are professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, dentists, and more. Asian Americans also have a strong work ethic and many label them as wealthy. Many Americans don’t understand why the other minorities can’t be more like Asians who are successful. Immigration laws also favored professionals in Asia and allowed those that had the knowledge to come. There are a few key issues with this stereotype. First, the myth assumes that success is uniform among Asian Americans. Second, the model minority ideas is implicitly critical of other minorities for rejecting ideas from the success of Asian Americans.

Gook: A derogatory term used to describe Koreans. The origin of the word was the result of the Korean War. American soldiers heard the Koreans repeatedly saying “Me Gook” which is the Korean word for Americans. Soldiers thought Koreans were referring to themselves as “Gooks”.

Jap: A shortened version of “Japanese” but considered offensive.

Linsanity: This describes the whole fanfare associated with the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA, Jeremy Lin. His outstanding performance in 2012 launched him into stardom globally. Jeremy Lin being the first American of Taiwanese or Chinese descent created a lot of media hype for Asian Americans. It a rare instance where Asian Americans found success in a non-traditional field. Sports is a form of entertainment and Asian Americans are still underrepresented in that area. Jeremy Lin changes that with his success story. Jeremy reflects on the experience here.

Yellow Peril: This term refers to the danger that whites felt during the 19th century due to an influx of Asian immigrants into the Western world. The whites feared that the expansion of Asian influence will change the power dynamics. The Asians will be competing with the whites for jobs and potentially be stealing jobs from them. There was the belief that Asians will invade and attack Western societies which will eventually lead to the demise of Western civilization. Many of these fears were unwarranted and it lead to the passage of acts such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

Yellow Fever: A term used to describe Caucasian men who have a sexual preference or fetish for Asian women. This term can also be applied to Caucasian women who have a sexual preference or fetish for Asian men. It is often applied in the context of a Caucasian man and Asian woman relationship. It is a concept that is thrown around in the dating scene. The media plays on this concept by portraying Asian women as submissive therefore the white men find that highly attractive. More can be learned about this phenomenon through a series of video here.

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