Asian Americans have been labeled many things. But American culture tends to regard them as inhuman and almost robotic. They’re considered to have virtually no mental health problems, substance abuse disorders, or deficiencies.
Asians are regarded in American culture as almost an exception to the rules of what it means to be human. They “work hard” and are considered to be very intelligent and driven. Many people would consider these stereotypes to be compliments but would miss the problem. When people are looked at as “perfect,” they don’t get much help. And Asian Americans are simultaneously placed on a pedestal and looked down upon as different. The stereotype designates them as separate from the rest of us and easily ignored.
The truth is, Asian-Americans are human and struggle like the rest of us. Right now, they’re struggling terribly. Asian Americans have been the target of hate and blame for the coronavirus pandemic, and many have suffered. When this suffering is coupled with the attitude that they can take care of themselves, we have a problem.
Rather than looking at Asian-Americans as a part of our country, they’re ostracized and have nowhere to turn for help. Substance abuse rates have skyrocketed during the pandemic, and we’re only now beginning to appreciate the severity of the situation. We know that the pandemic’s added stress and the circumstances surrounding it are the main catalysts for this spike.
People are losing their businesses and suffering from loss, illness, and anxiety. But we have no idea how minority groups who are suffering from discrimination are faring. It can’t be good.
The prejudice that exists towards Asian Americans is difficult to eliminate because of its inherent deniability.
No one who is promoting these stereotypes thinks they’re even racist. But it’s the thinking that shapes action, and any framework that suggests people are different is flawed. Human is human.
About the author
Michael Leach has spent most of his career as a health care professional specializing in Substance Use Disorder and addiction recovery. He is a regular contributor to the healthcare website Addicted.org and a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant