I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

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I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Kivutar » Thu Feb 18, 2016 12:14 am

Is there anyone else this article rubbed the wrong way?

I find it rather odd, the way he thinks that a white person even mentioning or discussing the fact that he is Asian is racist. He does admit that individual remarks are not a big deal, but still.

I go to a very diverse university. White people are a minority (the largest minority, maybe 1/3, but still.) Many, many students, and the vast majority of grad students (at least in STEM faculties - can't speak for the rest) are either international students or immigrants, or the children of immigrants. "Where are you from?" is definitely one of the first questions everyone asks when they meet someone. That goes for white students too. It's small talk, and nothing more. I am white, just give my province and city, and often get asked for my ancestry too. (All of Europe, people. Literally like 10 countries in the last few generations. Do you actually want me to run through it?) It isn't making people outsiders - it's getting to know them. It is NORMAL.

White people can't just *tell* if an Asian person is Chinese, or Japanese, or Korean, or Mongolian, or, hell, Tajik. That's not being racist, either. Could Bob Chang, average Chinese American, infallibly tell a random German from a Welshman from a Pole from a Norwegian from a Brit from a Frenchman? What about a hybrid of all the above, like me? Intentionally treating them as interchangeable, when you know already, is racist. Asking? What if you just want to know whether to wish them a happy Chinese New Year?

I completely understand that this guy has experienced racism. That sucks, truly it does. But hey, let's take his party punching dude anecdote and make it not about race. "What school did you go to? X University? Well, this is Y College town! It's MY territory! *sucker punch*)
That's ridiculous, and prejudice and douchebaggery are unacceptable. However, if that happened to a person, and they went around thereafter responding to every innocent "So, where did you go to school?" with "Bigotry! Prejudice!", that would be stupid. By that logic, any characteristic of a person that someone, somewhere is prejudiced against is verboten.

It's also weird to act like talking about race, specifically, is racist. (I know what this sounds like, but) my best friend is Chinese. We've been like sisters since the first day of high school. Of course we mention it. Sometimes I make jokes about her being Asian. Sometimes she mocks my white-ass ineptitude at rice cooking. Sometimes I ask her legitimately expert advice about old Chinese literature (anthropology being a hobby of mine). Sometimes I read Dream of the Red Chamber and tell her that it is irredemably fucked up. She then points and laughs at the existence of Sigmund Freud. Making fun of friends' idiosyncrasies is what friendship is about. If a person oversteps the bounds of friendship, that's seriously problematic. If a person says that joking about race inherently oversteps the bounds of friendship, that's pretty dumb.

One last thing about this guy - he isn't an honest SJW, he's only one with issues that affect him personally. Looking at his blog post that he mentioned - where he said women's hair should be smooth and shiny - hoo boy. He did admit that it was a trainwreck, but only with regards to the one line with racial undertones. That was probably the least of that post's problems.

I don't say that Mr. Hong has no legitimate points whatsoever, or that his experience of racism doesn't matter or doesn't exist. I do think, though, that this article has some serious drawbacks and makes some mistaken conclusions.

Thoughts?
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Ladki96 » Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:10 am

Sorry if I am rude, but you have not seemed to provide the link. I have not read it yet, I will do so now :)

EDIT: Woah. Uh, okay. So yeah, this great guy has also written this. Okay.

I mean, I don't think "where are you from" is a rude question? I like how he indirectly implies (could be I am paranoid and reading way into this, of course) that white people can't be victims of racism or something. Also, of course this is the top comment :D

Moxxy wrote:"In case my last name doesn't give it away, I'm Asian. "

Considering this site is run by a white guy going by the name "Wong". It doesn't 100% give it away.

And this :P

Gaswipe wrote:Dear Cracked Management, Writers, and Other Interested Parties:
We get it. We are all racists. Every single person on Earth is a racist. It's worse if you are white, of course. That being said, now and forever, throughout history and going forward in time... you, me and everyone who has ever existed is racist.
Are you happy now? Can you stop publishing unfunny articles about it? Please?
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Dr. Ambiguous » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:22 pm

Kivutar wrote:White people can't just *tell* if an Asian person is Chinese, or Japanese, or Korean, or Mongolian, or, hell, Tajik. That's not being racist, either. Could Bob Chang, average Chinese American, infallibly tell a random German from a Welshman from a Pole from a Norwegian from a Brit from a Frenchman? What about a hybrid of all the above, like me? Intentionally treating them as interchangeable, when you know already, is racist. Asking? What if you just want to know whether to wish them a happy Chinese New Year?

I'm white as fuck, and if you give me a bunch of random white people of different nationalities, I sure as shit can't tell you which is which just by looking at them. (Perhaps oddly, I can sometimes tell Asians apart. Sometimes). A few of my Asian friends say they can't tell the difference between different Asian ethnicities. It's not racist to be unable to tell someone's exact ethnicity based on very subtle physical differences.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Arkyle » Thu Feb 18, 2016 2:31 pm

Dr. Ambiguous wrote: It's not racist to be unable to tell someone's exact ethnicity based on very subtle physical differences.


And quite frankly it's insulting to make assumptions about someone's birthplace based off their appearance. Is it not one of the cornerstones of "bad racism" that you make a whole bunch of presumptions about someone based on their race?

How is this any different?
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Knicholas » Thu Feb 18, 2016 3:51 pm

Speaking personally, it is a bit unsettling to have someone assume you are "foreign" based upon appearances. I think that is the point. I tend to be pretty chilly with people who make that assumption about me.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby reallifegirl » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:01 pm

Ladki96 wrote:EDIT: Woah. Uh, okay. So yeah, this great guy has also written this. Okay.


I kind of liked the Cracked article, but now I'm reading this and my kidneys are throbbing with rage.

Just put some effort into your appearance. Make us notice you and then blow us away with your personality. Don’t just expect us to dig through a layer of muck when we have no reason to believe there’s anything worthwhile under there.


Gooooo fuuuuuuck yooooooourseeeeeeeeeelf.

And I actually LIKE makeup, but still, Jesus Christ, buddy.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Tuli » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:11 pm

Ugh yeah. Just not wearing makeup means I am covered in a layer of muck? How does that even make sense.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby reallifegirl » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:15 pm

Apparently he did offer a mea culpa after people expressed their problems with the piece.

The “buried under a mound of dirt” comment was an unfortunate metaphor for a diamond in the rough. It was meant to be a subtle compliment to all the “Jodies” of the world.


Please understand that my rant was directed at a very specific group of women — women who: 1) want to attract more men; 2) aren’t experiencing much success, yet; 3) refuse to put effort into their physical appearance. I stand by my point that if someone isn’t attracting whom they hope to attract, then one solution is to improve her physical appearance


Still think the whole thing was super stupid of him, but at least he 'fessed up to some points of contention.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Twistappel » Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:31 pm

Knicholas wrote:Speaking personally, it is a bit unsettling to have someone assume you are "foreign" based upon appearances. I think that is the point. I tend to be pretty chilly with people who make that assumption about me.

Yur, the guy does have some valid complaints buried in there. Without even getting into race politics, making a big deal out of the fact that somebody is different seems appallingly rude to me.

Although I've got to admit that his stunning lack of self-awareness makes it hard to feel particularly sorry for him. He chews white people out for their unwitting bigotry, admits that he is guilty of the same kinds of bigotry, but acts as though white people are the only ones capable of making sweeping generalisations about other people's cultures.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Lindvaettr » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:10 pm

I actually made a comment on this article about the same thing, but I'll make it here too, because the article came out yesterday so my comment is getting ignored over there, and I'm nothing if not a man whose self-worth is built entirely on the thumbing approval of people on the internet. Also because you guys are cooler, or something.

My ancestors, on both sides of my family, came to the US from various Scandinavian countries in the latter part of the early 19th century (around the 1820's-1840's). But most of them settled in the Upper Northwest, in rural Illinois, Minnesota, and South Dakota, where most of the Scandinavian immigrants were settling. This resulted in me, born 150 years later, being somewhere between 95% and 99% Scandinavian. There's a strong chance the remaining 1%-5% is Norman, so that would really make me 100% Scandinavian.

Growing up in the Midwest, where this wasn't necessarily common, but was definitely not a rarity in any way, most people didn't take much notice. But since I've been out in the Pacific Northwest, and since meeting many non-American people through various places (such as here!), I've experienced a total turnaround with that. It's very common, when I meet someone new, for them (at least once they feel comfortable with me), to ask me where I'm from "originally". If I say "South Dakota", they're either surprised I'm not European, or temporarily bemused by my answer because they actually meant, "You don't look American, so I clearly meant 'What is your ancestry?'".

America is a melting pot of culture and ethnicity. Very few people, except for recent immigrants, are purely one ethnicity or another, and by and large it shows. In both Europe and Africa, for example, there are very distinct ethnic groups that are easily distinguished. southern Africa alone has Khoisan, Nguni, Bantu, and more, and they're all considered separately. The same is true of much of Europe. You're not just "black" in Africa, or "white" in much of Europe. You're Khoisan (or an even more specific subdivision), or you're Yugoslav, or whatever.

We can say "white" and "black", etc., in America because most people aren't more divided than that. A white guy might be part German, part Spanish, part Greek, part Yugoslav, and part Russian. A black guy might be part Bantu, part Khoisan, and part Zulu (and in his case especially, might not have any way to know for sure). So if you don't fit with the "melting pot" aesthetic, people are going to wonder if you're either foreign yourself, or if your family arrived recently and hasn't had time to diversify.

The point of this overly long mess of a post is that it's not necessarily people being racist when they ask something like that. It's genuine curiosity and interest. If someone asks where you're from "originally", it's not them saying, "Because you're not a real American", it's them saying, "It's unusual to see someone of your ethnic background, and I'm interested in learning about that unusual thing."

Honestly, it's almost a compliment. When people ask, it's because you're unique enough to stand out, and that's kind of a nice feeling.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Tesseracts » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:18 pm

I read the article and I don't think it's wrong. He's been treated disrespectfully and is speaking out against that. He didn't say it's racist to merely ask him where he's from, he said it's racist to ask that and ignore his feedback and insist he must be exotic. That's an important nuance.

He makes the point that the phenomenon of extremism in anti-racism doesn't mean it's bad to be anti-racist, and I agree with that. From this article he doesn't appear to be an extremist himself.

Spoiler: show
Say I'm out at a bar one night, and some random guy starts a conversation with something like this:

"So, where are you from?"

"No, where are you originally from?"

"I mean, where were your parents born?"

This seems really othering. As a whitey I will never have to deal with this and I feel bad for those who do.

In response, he looked me straight in my (apparently not almond-shaped enough for his liking) eyes, and he asked where I was from. I told him that I lived there, and that this was my house. To this, he replied, "No, where are you originally from? Cuz this is my turf."

And before I could say anything else, he sucker-punched me in the face. A guy walked in on my party, in my house, and punched me because I was supposedly on his turf.

Racists really suck as people. I imagine if I went through this assault I would find it difficult not to view white guys with some suspicion.
So, here's my advice to you, hypothetical subtly racist person: If you are just dying to know more about a stranger's ethnic background, bring it up later in the conversation. Just get to know them first. Make it clear that you see them as a human being, not just a stereotype.

Seems like reasonable advice to me.
A couple years ago, me and a white friend of mine were at a club and the DJ started playing "Gangnam Style." My buddy turned to me and said this:

"You should be singing along!"

My reply: "Yeah, man, I'm not Korean."

His response: "Come on, dude, I know you know every word to the song!"

The first comment -- OK, maybe he never realized I'm not Korean. Fine. But when I called him out and he wouldn't back down? Yeah, that's not cool. With the second comment, his underlying racism was clearly poking through.

This man seems to encounter a lot of morons.
That's why some of the onus has to be on you. To be clear, I'm not looking to silence or shame you. I just want you to have some clue as to how your comments can be interpreted. Because ...

Not wanting to silence or shame me is good.
A future vice president describes his future president as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"

Did Biden really say this?! Weird.
I'm guilty of this myself. Last year, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blog post about how women can make themselves hotter. One of the things I encouraged women to do was make their hair "shiny and silky." I was just attempting to poke fun at shampoo commercials, but I didn't realize I had played into the Hollywood stereotype that female hair needs to be long, straight, and smooth to be attractive. Understandably, many women who don't have hair like that (i.e., anyone not stereotypically Aryan) were offended.

Okay this is the first part of the article I don't like. I suppose he things the only problem with his other article is it might be racist, not that it might be sexist and stupid. Personally I read his article about how women should wear makeup and now I want to be a lesbian.
Aside from that, accept that you'll probably offend someone at some point, and be ready to reflect on that with an open mind when it happens. Seriously, it's not about self-censorship. It's not about coddling minorities. It's not about glorifying the victims. It's just about showing empathy for your fellow human beings.

Yes, some minorities may overreact. And some white people won't want to acknowledge racism at all. That's exactly why we need to be talking about it. And once we learn to be just a bit more considerate of each other, maybe then we can all dream of one day joining hands and singing "Kumbaya" together in a worldwide circle-jerk.

Still seems reasonable to me, although after his failure to show empathy towards women I take it less seriously.


I see it this way: if someone was just meeting me, I wouldn't want them to start out saying "so, how did you get so fat?" That's rude because I don't want to be identified by the thing which makes me different, and in the eyes of most people, worse.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Askias » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:51 pm

Tesseracts wrote:
A future vice president describes his future president as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy"
Did Biden really say this?! Weird.

He did, actually. It was 2007, right after Biden has entered the race for the 2008 Democratic nomination. Barack Obama was a Senator, but a relatively unknown candidate who had entered the race shortly before. Biden, in an interview with the New York Observer, gave another ample demonstration just how badly Biden's mouth runs off:
"I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

He probably meant to refer to Obama's status as less of an well-known establishment candidate compared to the competition (notably himself and Hillary Clinton), but his actual words were... Well that (and it's not very accurate). He called Obama later to apologize. Obama didn't make a big deal out of it, which considering how primaries work and his status at the time, is admirable. CNN's article from 2007:
Spoiler: show
Barack Obama is probably the most exciting candidate that the Democratic or Republican Party has produced at least since I've been around," Biden said on the call. "And he's fresh. He's new. He's smart. He's insightful. And I really regret that some have taken totally out of context my use of the world 'clean.'"

Biden said he was referring to a phrase used by his mother.

"My mother has an expression: clean as a whistle, sharp as a tack," Biden said.

Obama, in a brief off-camera interview in a Senate hallway, said he thinks Biden "didn't intend to offend" anyone.

"He called me," Obama said. "I told him it wasn't necessary. We have got more important things to worry about. We have got Iraq. We have got health care. We have got energy. This is low on the list."

"He was very gracious and I have no problem with Joe Biden," Obama added.

Later on Wednesday, Obama, in a written statement, said "I didn't take Sen. Biden's comments personally, but obviously they were historically inaccurate. African-American presidential candidates like Jesse Jackson, Shirley Chisholm, Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton gave a voice to many important issues through their campaigns, and no one would call them inarticulate."

TIME listed it among the top ten times Biden talked before he thought. The guy has a habit of not taking one second to consider what he is about to say. He at one point refered to his own state of Delaware as a 'slave state' to make a point of how well he could appeal to conservative voters.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby gisambards » Thu Feb 18, 2016 8:59 pm

This article seemed fine to me (excluding the whole women's hair thing). The guy's experienced actual racism, and it wasn't that he was thin-skinned - I don't think he meant that simply asking where someone's from is othering, but that repeatedly asking when you're not satisfied with the answer could be. In the past, Cracked has put out articles from people talking about first-hand discrimination that were from someone very thin-skinned (I remember they did an article purportedly about what it's like to be MTF transgender which was extremely mis-representative for that reason, where the writer came to the conclusion that any man who didn't want to sleep with her because she had a penis was homophobic). This is definitely not one of those times.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby NathanLoiselle » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:13 pm

And not one of them included Mr. Magoo. I'm disappointed.
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Re: I'm Asian: 6 Forms Of Racism I Deal With Every Day

Postby Piter Lauchy » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:29 am

I thought this was a pretty good article.
The only thing I found a bit weird (apart from that awful essay about women) was the point about his friend making comments about his "Asian-ness". I mean, he doesn't go into detail and that Oppa Gangnam Style thing makes that friend look like an idiot, so maybe that dude really was an asshole.
But me and my friends make fun of each other all the freaking time. If one of them shaves or gets a short haircut, for example, I'll point at them and yell "Bald!" If someone says something dumb, they'll hear about it for months.
I once insisted that the word "rhythm" ("Rhythmus" in German) was spelled without the h after the r. I'm usually really good at spelling and grammar (in German), so that stood out. It was last summer. I still get mocked for it, and that's totally fine.
Now, granted, Germany is white as fuck and I don't have any friends from other ethnicities*, but I can't imagine it being much different if I did. If you wanna be friends with me, you gotta be okay with being made fun of for every single thing I can come up with. That's just part of the contract. In turn, I'll provide you with many opportunities for making fun of me.

*Edit: Wait, yes I do! Vlad who's from Romania (Transylvania even)! And I totally make fun of him and Eastern European stereotypes, and he laughs about every single one! So there!
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