All women are too sensitive! All Mexicans are illegal immigrants! If you’re from the South, then you are ignorant! Most people have heard at least one of these stereotypes pertaining to a certain group. Some people believe them whilst others do not. American Born Chinese illustrates three stories depicting the custom of stereotypes surrounding society: “The Monkey King”, the story of Monkey King’s thirst for infinite power, and his quest for atonement; “Jin Wang”, the story an awkward boy who tries to “fit in” the community around from but constantly fails; and “Danny”, the story about a high schooler who feels uncomfortable by his stereotypically negative Chinese cousin Chin-Kee. In this day-and-age, stereotypes are what bring people together, and stereotypes are what set people apart. To be ignorant of stereotypes would be a disastrous event as one would consequentially be ignorant to the prejudices engulfing them daily. Even though this causes problems throughout different communities, the way some individuals choose to address stereotypes is through laughter. From start to finish the graphic novel, American Born Chinese, by Gene Luen Yang purposefully satirizes Asian stereotypes in hopes that the reader opens up to the fact that stereotypes are indeed existent in today’s society.
Chin-Kee in the ‘Danny” storyline is interpreted as Yang’s attempt to show overt examples of stereotypes. Chin-Kee’s vocabulary brings forth the stereotype that “Asian people talk funny”. In American Born Chinese, Chin-Kee exclaims, “Harro! Cousin Da-Nee finarry come” (Yang 204). The way Chin-Kee speaks as he addresses his cousin is stifled, so Chin-Kee’s language enforces the opinion of some that poke fun of Asian people speaking “that way”. By pointing this out in an obtuse comical manner, Gene Luen Yang forces people not only to admit their hidden feelings in regards towards stereotypes, but Yang makes readers see that stereotypes are not to be taken lightly. The stereotype “Chinese people are really smart” is also bought into light as the well-crafted character Chin-Kee answers all the questions correctly while people just stare vacantly in the background:
Female Teacher: The Nina, the Pinta, and the-
Chin-Kee: Santa Malia!
Male Teacher: The ulna is connected to the-
Chin-Kee: Humelus! (Yang 112).
To some people this is not be viewed as a stereotype due to the fact it is not instantly perceived as “negative”; for those readers who delve in deeper, this stereotype outlines the educational daily hidden pressure of people from Chinese descent whom do not fit this “positive” stereotype. Every day, especially in American society, classmates look to their Asian counterparts to provide the answers to questions they do not know in every subject they take. Nonetheless, this ridiculous assumption hurts the Asian students that do not feel comfortable with their intellectual abilities. Placing Asian students as the “model student” excludes the students who...