Stereotypes addressed in discussion

Role of Asian women, American behaviors covered by panel.

All Asian women submit to their husbands without question, and all Americans are wasteful, loud and rude, some may think

But these were just two of the stereotypes that were analyzed and turned upside down Monday night during a panel discussion titled "The Silk Road to Rice and French Fries - Breaking the Model."

The discussion, part of Asian-American Awareness Week activities, featured a panel of students who were from Asia or delved frequently into Asian culture.

Sam Phomsavahn, president of the Asian-American Student Association, moderated the event.

Some Americans may falsely believe, Phomsavahn said, that Asian women do not speak up for themselves.

"I believe in submission to a husband (to some extent), but if I want a job, I'll get it," said Elizabeth Douglas, a panel member whose heritage is Vietnamese.

Douglas said her ideas about feminine rights have grown more liberal since coming to Ball State.

Apapan Kulapongse, originally from Thailand, said she believed that Thai views towards male dominance and a woman's role have changed.

"Thai society has been changed by American influence, and gender discrimination has faded," Kulapongse said.

Japan-native Michi Takahashi's family challenges the stereotype of the Japanese housewife and the bread-winning husband, he said.

"My mom works, and my dad does the dishes and cleaning," he said. "And if he doesn't, she kicks him!" he said jokingly.

Meagan Faiser, a Japanese major who spent a year studying in Japan,made a friend who was skeptical of her while staying there.

"She thought I'd never understand her culture because I'mAmerican," Faiser said. "But eventually we realized that we had much more incommon than we had differences."

After exploring this and other stereotypes, the panelproposed possible solutions to break these cultural barriers.

"You have to be willing to make a friendly approach (toothers)," said (Michael) Nu Zhang, originally from China."We have to get to know each other and know the details (of a person)."

Understanding that people's differences are few will makethe process easier, Takahashi said.

"Even though we have different skin colors, we are allthe same on the inside," Takahashi said. "People themselves are different, butour cultures are similar. We are all human beings."


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