When we devalue Asian children and their intelligence, we tell them that it is impossible to be Asian and creative, Asian and a writer, Asian and comedic.
Many times throughout my childhood, from schoolmates to strangers, my intelligence and musical talent was put down to one thing: my race. The only reason I was good at the piano or did well at school boiled down to a single reason: “Well, it’s because you’re Asian.”
Interestingly, while white intelligence and aptitude is often seen as innate, creative and uncultivated, Asian intelligence has largely been associated with rote-learning and excessive studying. The assumption is that (white) children who are ‘naturally bright’ don’t need to study, which — ironically — turns studying into a form of cheating that gives Asian kids an unfair advantage. The op-eds and comments that emerge over the ‘Asian Invasion in selective schools’ tout it as a problem of racial division, and out of line with Australia’s egalitarian “national character” when it comes to education.
You can read the full version of this story in English on SBS Life here.