A stereotype is defined as attributes given to groups of people based on their gender, sexual orientation, appearance, nationality, race, etc.
It is usually seen as derogatory because it is an oversimplified generalization that does not look at a person as an individual.
Some examples of stereotypes: (Please excuse me if you find any offensive.)
1. All Italians must be guidos and in the Mafia. (This is the stereotype that ruffles my husband’s feathers!)
2. All Asians are great at math.
3. White men can’t dance. When they dance they do the white man overbite.
4. All Asian women are bad drivers.
5. Dumb blonde.
I typically hate stereotypes and generalizations, but I have to admit that I fit into one of the 5 examples I mentioned, and it is not that I am Asian and great at math.
I am willing to admit that I am a bad Asian woman driver. With this knowledge in mind, I am extra careful when I drive.
Let me give you a little history of my driving past…..
In the Philippines it is not unusual to have a driver as part of your household staff. We had a few loyal drivers through the years and it allowed me not to have to perfect my driving skills for a very long time.
I remember when I first got my driving permit at 16 years old. I had images of my independence of being able to drive myself. One summer my Mom and my sister were traveling to Europe. My parents were separated at that time so I had two households that I called my home.
One day when my Mom was away I told my Dad I was going to be staying over my Mom’s house. He knew that her driver was there to take me around so he did not worry about my safety. Well, I told the driver on my Mom’s 3rd day away that he could have a day off. He left happily and I was ecstatic too because I had images of driving and cruising around Manila in the car.
I left my Mom’s house and I was completely giddy! I had my shades on and Rick Astley music blasting loudly (It was the 1990s after all…). If cell phones were around at that time I could imagine myself calling all my friends.
Well my joy was short lived because 5 minutes after I left my Mom’s house I got into a car accident. I don’t really remember the details because it was so many years ago, but a car bumped me hard enough that the front passenger seat side of the car was totaled. The other driver would have been at fault, but I was driving with a learners permit.
I remember crying, being scared, the police coming and then seeing a friend from high school. My friend was like my guardian angel because he spoke to the policemen and I was allowed to leave.
My friend then contacted a mechanic friend and I hid the car at his garage for a day.
I didn’t know what to do because I did not want to get in trouble with my Mom who was in Europe. I was scared to tell my Dad, but I felt like I had no choice but confess to him.
Dad was a real champ. He was more concerned about me getting traumatized about driving. He said he would have the car fixed and we could keep the accident as a “secret”. I think he was a little scared that my Mom would get mad at him too.
In the end the car was fixed, I confessed to my Mom, we settled with the Police so I don’t have anything in my record, and I rarely drove myself around Manila.
Fast forward to living in the USA. I went to college in a campus where driving was not necessary. I then lived in New York City where you didn’t need a car to get around.
In 2000 I took a 6 month sabbatical from work and New York City. I moved to Los Angeles County to be with my sister. It was the best 6 months of my life but driving was a necessity. I started to drive again and I have not stopped since because Connecticut is a driving State too.
My sketchy past driving history has forced me to be extra careful when I drive. I still consider myself a bad Asian female driver, but I luckily have not had any accidents or speeding violations in the USA. (There was one time I was on a road trip with my sister and we were stopped for driving too slowly on the highway….That’s another story for another day!).
So, if you see an Asian lady and she is driving super slow and cautiously in Connecticut, honk twice and say hello to me!
I hope you have a wonderful day!