FAKE NEWS | Asian Smashes Stereotypes by Being Bad at Everything

By Shaun Tan

By Shaun Tan

Founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Staff Writer


SAN FRANCISCO – For decades, Asian Americans have been stereotyped as overachievers, with tropes like the Asian math genius, or computer whiz, or piano prodigy ubiquitous in American life.


But one extraordinary young woman, Peggy Yang, 21, is fearlessly shattering these stereotypes, by being completely useless at everything. Not only is Peggy, a native of San Francisco, bad at academics, computers, and music, she became the only student in her school’s history forced to repeat two grades. After finally graduating high school at the age of 20, she then went on to flunk out of the only community college that accepted her within a year.


“To be an Asian American today is to be subject to a constant barrage of microaggressions,” said Peggy. “People make insulting assumptions about you based on racist stereotypes – that you’re hardworking, that you’re good at things. Screw that Amy Chua bullshit. I reject these designations by white society meant to keep people of color in their place. Once, at the start of the year, one of my math teachers had the nerve to assume I was good at math.” She smirked. “Well, I failed that class. I sure showed him.”


“It’s true,” said Ashley Alcott, 21, a former classmate. “Peggy is awful at math. In middle school, I once sat next to her in math class and copied her work because she’s Asian and I assumed she knew what she was doing. I ended up getting an F in that assignment.”


Peggy’s parents, Harold and Melody Yang, said they always knew their daughter was special. “Peggy’s cousins are all overachievers,” Melody said. “Two of them are at Berkeley, another’s at Stanford medical school, one of them performed at Carnegie Hall.” She sighed. “But from a young age, it was clear Peggy was going to chart her own path.”


After flunking out of community college, Peggy has continued to defy stereotypes by forming a mumble-rap band with other delinquent friends, which occupies most of her time.


“We hoped that if she finally did something she liked, she might be good at it,” said Melody. “But no, her rapping is also terrible.”


Because Asian Americans typically outperform other ethnic groups in school and the workplace, even when initially economically disadvantaged, they’re often held up as a “Model Minority” in the United States. But some denounce what they call this “Model Minority Myth” as harmful, and have praised Peggy for subverting it.


“There’s so much more to the Asian American experience than this stereotypical image of perfection,” said Judy Chu, US Representative for California. “How dare people keep assuming Asians are smart, diligent, and thin? Some, like Peggy, are dumb, lazy, and out of shape. Inspiring young women like her are breaking boundaries and showing us the way by redefining what it means to be Asian American. Let the white establishment hear us loud and clear: WE ARE NOT YOUR MODEL MINORITY!”


Ibram X. Kendi, author of the bestselling How to Be an Antiracist, also applauded Peggy. “This young woman is a true antiracist,” he said. “She is conscious of just how much Asian American overachievement harms underachieving black and brown communities by making them look bad by comparison.”


He added that Peggy’s example would remind everyone that minorities are never allowed to succeed in America.


Peggy agreed that her underachievement was her way of “standing in solidarity with other people of color.” She hopes her example will empower other young Asian Americans. “I want Asian American kids to know that they don’t need to conform to society’s expectations,” she said. “I want them to look at me and see that anything is possible.”