Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype

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31 December 2021

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“If you’re given a chance to be a job model, I suppose you must always take it because you’ll be able to influence a person’s life in a optimistic light, and that’s what I wish to do. That’s what it’s all about” – Tiger Woods. The affect of globally recognized, iconic, Asian and Asian American sports activities stars corresponding to Tiger Woods, Yao Ming, Ichiro Suzuki, Manny Pacquiao, Dat Nguyen and Jeremy Lin have on the lives and tradition of Asian Americans is the subject I chose for my research paper.

I chose this topic due to the sports activities aspect concerned and I am going to look particularly at whether or not these athletes help to interrupt a few of the unfavorable stereotypes and self-image issues experienced by Asian American males. I am additionally going to debate the effect that the success of these athletes has on the model minority myth and whether or not it helps some Asian American males to break free.

I grew up idolizing athletes like Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Kobe Bryant, and Joe Montana and decided to see how elite athletes like these of Asian and Asian American decent impression Asian Americans and if it was similar to the way in which I was impacted. It is my belief watching the titans of sport whose ancestry can be traced back to Asia, sparks Asian Americans to believe they will break stereotypes, feel proud, and permit themselves to dream anything is possible.


A stereotype is a widely held however fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a specific kind of individual or thing.

Asian American males may very well deal with essentially the most stereotypes of any other group of Americans, however I am going to concentrate on the two stereotypes; being non-masculine and the model minority. Possibly essentially the most pervasive and influential stereotype Asian American men face is the mannequin minority stereotype. This stereotype comes with blanket statements such as Asian Americans are intelligent, academically and professionally successful, specifically in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields, hardworking, achievement-oriented, and comparatively free from personal issues (Wong, Owen, Tran, Collins, & Higgins, 2012). With this stereotype many Asian Americans really feel immense strain to live up to these expectations. This undue stress is because of racial and political pressure through the chilly war and as Lee (1999) talked about in his e-book it had more to do with the perceived failures of African Americans and Latinos somewhat than precise successes of Asian Americans. There are Asian and Asian American athletes who assist to interrupt the mildew of this stereotype for young Asian Americans. Eric Liu, American author and founder of Citizen University who served as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy on the White House between 1999 and 2000 mentioned, “Jeremy Lin is the only Asian American in the NBA at present and one of the few in any professional U.S. sport. His arrival is surely leading different talented Asian American athletes this week to ponder a pro career.” I feel this is a powerful instance of how the success of these athletes can result in the dreams of the individuals who observe. When an Asian American boy, who feels the societal and family pressures for fulfillment via lecturers, watches Jeremy Lin succeed the way he has within the NBA it can open an entire different set of prospects in this boy’s thoughts. One of the biggest drawbacks to the model minority stereotype is the perception that Asian Americans have all of it together, on an everyday basis. This misconception can cause these Asian Americans to become isolated and feel invisible. For these Asian Americans struggling to search out their place and identification beyond what has been positioned on them, the athletic success of someone who they will relate to could be inspiring. For instance, “Pacquiao’s success in the ring enables Filipino American nationalism and a sense of esteem and standing not granted in different arenas of their on an everyday basis lives. For some, Pacquiao’s larger-than life persona serves as a critique of Filipino American invisibility” (Thangaraj, Arnaldo, & Chin, 2016, pg. 111). As you’ll have the ability to see Manny’s success has let a complete subsection of Asian Americans really feel like they are no longer invisible.

Attacking the manhood or masculinity of Asian/Asian American males may be traced back to the beginning of Asian immigration to the Americas. Basically, this stereotype began like a highschool rumor the place an insecure scholar (White America) tells a malicious lie concerning the new scholar (Asian Immigrants) in order to belittle them and sink their credibility. There were many elements leading to this harmful stereotype including discriminatory laws, and policies within the 19th and early 20th centuries relegating Asian American men to occupations considered historically female occupations similar to cooking, housekeeping, and child-care. Other laws prohibited Asian immigrants from bringing their wives alongside to the Americas and anti-miscegenation legal guidelines prevented them from marrying white ladies as quickly as they were there. This separation led to bachelor-societies which led to the opinion that Asian American males are emasculated, asexual, effeminate, or homosexual and these stereotypes produce pictures of those males as deviating from heterosexual European American masculine norms (Wong, et. al., 2012). It could be argued that a stereotype of intelligence, strong work ethic, and skilled success aren’t all bad. I would hear the argument for this view sort no less than. The stereotype about Asian/Asian American men being non-masculine is just easy nonsense. I had an excellent grandfather and grandfather of Filipino descent both serve within the navy and these are two of the more masculine men I even have ever met. The area of sports has all the time been certainly one of proving masculinity in a means. The unique Olympics were simply that. Today in professional sports activities the athletes at the high of the trade are thought of excellent specimens of masculinity. “Asian men in popular sport presuppose and certainly attempt to supply Asian masculinity by inverting the bodily emasculation of Asian American men” (Chon-Smith, 2014, pg. 292). If athletic success results in the notion of masculinity then the World’s all-time hit leader Ichiro Suzuki would paved the way in the class of masculinity, as would biracial athlete Tiger Woods, who has acquired the ESPY award for greatest male athlete a record 5 instances. Asian American males can look to those athletes for inspiration and proof that this stereotype is just that and never a truth. American football may be the ultimate enviornment for display of masculinity on the planet and ex-Cowboys linebacker Dat Nguyen excelled at the highest levels. “In the world of extremely promoted, televised pastimes like football and basketball, Nguyen has blitzed his way to the highest of a contact sport nonetheless dominated by African Americans and Whites. He debunks the stereotype of Asians solely as super college students and otherwise athletic duds” (Lum, 1999, para. 6). Another titan in Asian/Asian American sports is Yao Ming. At 7’6” Yao Ming shatters all the non-masculine stereotypes placed on Asians and Asian Americans. “Hailed as ‘the great yellow hope,’ Yao was quickly adopted by the Asian American community, due to a way of racial proximity and affinity, and was taken critically as an Asian Pacific American male icon. His ‘bigness’ will increase Asian Pacific American male self-esteem” (Wang, 2004, pg. 265).

I am hopeful that any Asian American man who seems like there is some validity to this detrimental stereotype will look to those dominant athletes and understand it is totally poppycock.


The model minority and non-masculine stereotypes positioned on Asian American males all through historical past are alive and nicely. However, the success of their people in athletics ought to function reminder of the dearth of truthfulness in these accusations and supply a glimmer of delight and hope. My research has shown that these stereotypes are detrimental to the psychological health of Asian American men but the success of Tiger Woods, Yao Ming, Ichiro Suzuki, Manny Pacquiao, Dat Nguyen and Jeremy Lin is a pillar for which Asian American males can stand upon a rebuke these stereotypes. A day the place stereotypes aren’t any extra and all males no matter race are seen as equal could be a welcome day, but until then Asian American males can look to the celebs of athletics for hope and solitude.


  1. Chon-Smith, C. (2014). Yellow bodies, black sweat: Yao Ming, Ichiro Suzuki, and global sport. Journal for Cultural Research, 18(4), 1-24.
  2. Lee, R. G. (1999). Orientals: Asian Americans in Popular Culture. The American Historical Review, 105(3), 946.
  3. Lum, L. (1999). Breaking Football’s Color Barrier: Texas A&M scholar/athlete Dat Nguyen faces his next massive test this month, getting drafted into the professionals. Black Issues in Higher Education, 16(4), 50.
  4. Thangaraj, S. I., Arnaldo, C., & Chin, C. B. (Eds.). (2016). Asian american sporting cultures. Retrieved from
  5. Wang, C. (2004). Capitalizing the massive man: Yao Ming, Asian America, and the China Global 1. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 5(2), 263-278.
  6. Wong, Y. J., Owen, J., Tran, K. K., Collins, D. L., & Higgins, C. E. (2012). Asian American male school students’ perceptions of people’s stereotypes about Asian American males. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 13(1), 75–88.
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"Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype" StudyScroll, 31 December 2021,

StudyScroll. (2021). Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 9 August, 2022]

"Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype" StudyScroll, Dec 31, 2021. Accessed Aug 9, 2022.

"Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype" StudyScroll, Dec 31, 2021.

"Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype" StudyScroll, 31-Dec-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 9-Aug-2022]

StudyScroll. (2021). Asian and Asian American Sports Stars: Reversing the Stereotype. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 9-Aug-2022]

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