The Kubler-Ross Model Applied to Asian Americans

Everybody knows of the Kubler-Ross model on grief, but not everybody realizes that this is the name attributed to this theory. The Kubler-Ross model states that when one must deal with a tragedy or a loss, the person undergoes 5 stages:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

The funny thing is you can apply this model to Asian American psychology. In a sense, the Asian American experience (at least in the old days) involves loss: many Asian Americans feel culturally disinherited, whether it be a disconnect from the ancestral culture or marginalization in Western society.

The Asian American in Denial- This person strongly denies his/her Asian heritage and is extremely whitewashed. S/he feels a sense of superiority to other "unenlightened" Asians who aren't as assimilated as him/her. In his/her mind, the white way is the right way. Unfortunately, college education has made this person an arrogant, condescending asshole.

The Angry Asian Man, a.k.a. Bitter Asian Man- This guy (it's almost always a guy) feels the entire world is out to get him. He is an injustice collector and constantly gripes about how the world is doing the Asian man wrong. He is passive-aggressive and will bitch about a wrongdoing long after the incident has passed. Don't get this guy going about Asian women and white men, or he'll get crazy on your ass.

The Bargaining Asian American, a.k.a. The Yellow Uncle Tom- This guy/gal panders to white people all the time. He is the Chinese waiter who will greet white customers with the warmest smile and treat you like shit. The comedian Esther Ku is a prime example of the Asian who thinks, "If I trash my own kind enough, white people will like me... they'll really like me!"

Usually, this strategy backfires, because nobody likes a traitor.

The Depressed Asian American, a.k.a. the Internally Colonized- This guy is constantly whining about how his Asian heritage is a liability in some way: "I'm too short, because I'm Asian," "Girls won't date me, because I'm Asian," "The media stereotypes Asian people."

Blah-blah-blah. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. The depressed Asian American is depressing, because his mind has been colonized to think, "I'm a victim, because I'm Asian," and "White media/society/people are all-powerful," so "I can't do anything, so what's the point?"

This guy needs a kick in the ass and good shot of self-esteem.

The Asian American Who Accepts Him/Herself- This Asian American accepts himself for what he is, but is always to looking to enrich his life with experiences and develop as a person. He doesn't constantly refer to his Asian heritage, unless the situation requires it. He understands that he is an Asian American, but as an individual, he is much more than that. He will defend Asian Americans interests, because he believes in doing what is right for all people.


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