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Old 05-15-2019, 07:09 AM
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Manda JO I appreciate your post but I'd have the same discomfort with "toxic Asian-ness" as a popularized shorthand for what you were describing. It would similarly fail to as a shorthand to communicate the concept. Try just using the phrase by itself to the families of these students, to non-Asian students, and ask what they would think the phrase means and implies. Go to them and begin a conversation by saying "I'd like to have a conversation about toxic Asian-ness with you." and report back if you think that set the table well for a productive conversation about the issues.

And the failure is precisely because these labels "are rooted in people's core sense of themselves", are fundamental aspects of their identities.

The broad concept is not mumbo jumbo; it's the same concept as applies across the board with all stereotyped groupings in our society. And I admit that the ideas of stereotyped expectations, of implicit stereotype being held, of within-group reactions to stereotypes (how they are adopted or rejected by group members), institutional factors, are not easy to communicate broadly, whatever the identity in the blank X of the discussion.

Perhaps "harmful X stereotypes" is not a completely adequate shorthand for the broad subjects, but IMHO, "Toxic Xness" is a complete fail for any X. And the former is less, well, toxic, to productive conversation and broader communication.

Do another little experiment maybe: informally poll a few dozen people today and ask them if they've heard the phrase "toxic masculinity" and what it means.

I will be shocked if the near universal response of what it means is essentially just men who are being "bros". Not sure how many have heard the phrase "toxic femininity" already ... might be more confused responses ... but I'd suspect the response would be dunno but it sounds sexist.

Yes, BPC, I think the crying discussion is analyzing not just one tree but one little bit of bark on one tree and missing the forest. OF COURSE there are stereotypes widely held over what are "manly" traits which in general include aspects of toughness and grit and the ability to endure and to persevere. Whether or not the stereotype is men don't cry or men cry only for real good reasons or a belief that crying is not a sign of not being tough after all is, to me, dumb. But do carry on.

How we discuss stereotypes without affirming them is - carefully. We discuss the stereotypes as objects that are used but we don't use them while we discuss them.