Mathletes stereotype? Again?


Interesting. So the NFL cancels the Vikings-Eagles game due to the snowstorm that hit the east coast. And Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) went on to express his tough guy stance about how Americans have become "wusses" and then throws in a comparison with the Chinese. Ohhh-kay.

"I think it's a joke," Rendell told the local Fox affiliate. "We cancel the game and there's less than 3 inches of snow … I think the fans can make their own decisions about their own safety."

"This is football! Good lord, Vince Lombardi would be spinning in his grave that we canceled the football game for the snow."

Fox 29’s weatherman John Bolaris offered a correction to Rendell's snow totals but the governor wasn't having it.

"There's really already seven inches of snow on the ground," Bolaris said.

Speaking to 97.5 FM Monday afternoon, Rendell noted that the Chinese wouldn't have canceled the game:

"If this was in China, do you think the Chinese would have called off the game?" Rendell asked host Mike Missanelli. "The people would have been marching down to the stadium. They would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on their way down."

"What do you think Lombardi would say?" the governor continued. "He would say we have become a nation of wusses."

Governor Rendell Expresses Outrage About The Eagles Postponed Game

I kind of get what he was trying to say but I'm not sure what to think. Kind of a backhanded compliment infused with racial stereotyping? That Asians constantly do advanced mathematics all the time? Or was it really a comment on how the US education system has fallen behind other nations in math and sciences?

China's rise as an economic super power, I suppose, invites comparisons--especially with a US empire that is crumbling from within (ie, infrastructure literally falling apart, economic manufacturing decline, behind in alternative energy solutions, etc). Still, what do the Chinese have to do with the NFL? Or am I being a little too sensitive? What do you think?

Either way, it kind of irked me to hear that crack about them "doing calculus" on their way to the game. That shows how strong this stereotype is about Asians. The only thing Asians and Asian Americans can do to counter it is to somehow affect western culture to change perceptions. I think of how African Americans have affected the culture with rap and hip hop to the point where you see mainstream TV commercials using rap and hip hop, white kids make up a big purchasing segment of the rap music market.

But somehow, Asian pop culture seems to get appropriated by western culture and mutated where it benefits others and does not elevate ourselves. But we should keep trying and keep fighting to control our ideas and become the drivers of our cultural engines. Although, I suspect no matter what is done, it'll get reduced to a stereotype regardless.
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