Kim’s Convenience more like Asians’ inconvenience
Asians for a long time have been dominating the academic scene in every competition from nationwide test scores to national spelling bees. Now because of that they have been stereotyped by others to only care about bettering themselves. This norm is reinforced on Kim’s Convenience, which follows the life of Kim’s who own a small store in Canada. It is your typical immigrant parents that came to a different country to better their children’s lives. In the episode, “Janet’s Photo”, the overuse of the Asian parents only caring about their children’s success reinforces the norms and further distants the asians from the other ethnic groups.
As soon as the episode starts, we see two of Janet’s friends, Gerald, nerdy white boy, and Semira, independant black girl, enter the story and they are immediately stopped by Mr. Kim and he asks, “You guys have homework?” This shows the viewers that when having a conversation with an Asian father, they won’t greet you but ask about school related things. The next day we see Janet, the daughter, show her mother the pictures she took for her photography class. The mom asks, “You get best mark in class?” and Janet responds, “Pretty good”. After hearing that the mom calls over dad to show him and she tells him, “Janet get best mark in class”. This early interactions can lead the viewers to believe that is how most days are started in an asian household. After hearing this the father calls for a celebration but not the typical celebration that comes with sunshine and rainbows but the one that comes with taking out the garbage. This makes the viewers believe that asian kids should not celebrate getting good grades because that’s what they are supposed to do in the first place, which makes the parents look cold-hearted.
The episode switches from the daughter, Janet, to the son, Jung, but their parents’ beliefs do not. Their son was kicked out when he was a teenager and now he works at a car rental agency. This exposes the audience to a cultural transmission where we have a trouble maker that is asian and who is not a doctor or an engineer. But it also reinforces the norms because the reason Jung was kicked out was that he always got in trouble, which makes the viewers believe that if you aren’t a child getting good grades in an asian family then you will be kicked out. The asian stereotype is reinforced yet again when Jung tells his mother that he applied for the Assistant Manager position at his agency because it pays more and has more responsibility and his mom responds by telling him so does a judge, doctor, or engineer. This further beats the deadhorse of a stereotype that asians parents want their children to be a doctor or an engineer. This makes the viewers think that asians are only restricted to becoming doctor, judge, or an engineer and if they don’t then they are failures.
To wrap things up, Kim’s Convenience contributes negatively when it comes to the asian demographics. The show mainly focuses on the stereotypes of asians that further separates the asians from the other ethnic groups and makes it hard for everyone to connect. This show also makes it seem like again parents are heartless human beings that only want their children to do well in school so they can become successful and their view on success seems to be measured by if they become doctors or not when none of that is true in the real world. This media further distances ethnic groups when instead it should be trying to break stereotypes and bring everyone closer together.