Racism – n. 1 a doctrine or teaching, without scientific support, that claims to find racial differences in character, intelligence, etc., that asserts the superiority of one race over another or others, and that seeks to maintain the supposed purity of a race or the races.
2 any program or practice of racial discrimination, segregation, etc. based on such beliefs.
— Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third Edition
In this day and age we are supposedly accustomed to different races and cultures, but can we really say that we are color-blind? The answer is a resounding no. I cannot say that I am color-blind; that is why I am creating this page. Some people say they’re not racist, that they don’t discriminate, that they don’t act with prejudice. Well, let me tell you something. Everyone is racist to some extent, whether or not they admit it. When we see a name, can we honestly say that we do not associate that name with an ethnicity? Chan, Wong, Chinese. Park, Kim, Korean. Yamaguchi, Yamamoto, Japanese. Rothenstein, Jewish. Young, white. You get the picture. This is just one of many examples that I want to talk about on this page. Please note that obviously this page is not and cannot be comprehensive, and that I’ve comprised examples through personal direct and indirect experiences. These are, afterall, my own opinions. Feel free to use the guestbook to provide feedback, or to add your own feedback. Also note that I am constantly adding to and updating this page — I add examples as I see/experience them. Thank you for visiting.
We all have our stereotypes. Some are funny, others offensive. But why do stereotypes exist? Is it only a racial thing? I don’t want to try and answer why they exist — just know that they do. If you ask me if stereotypes are exclusively racial, then the answer is obviously no. But lets talk about the racial ones. Below are a few of the stereotypes that I’ve encountered for different ethnicities:
- Chinese – Cheap and loud.
- Korean – Smoke and drink all day.
- Black – Big and lazy.
- Latino – Stupid and dirty.
These are only a small selection of stereotypes to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Although sometimes we may laugh at stereotypes (those about and not about our own race), we can’t deny that we use them. Sometimes, the act of using one is blatant, other times it is subtle. The bottom line is, they exist and we use them. Stereotypes are a form of discrimination, and as long as they exist, so will racism. I want to refer now to a personal experience that I’ve had regarding stereotypes.
Quite often I encounter stereotypes on the basketball court. Not all are racial, but many are. It is especially disconcerting when blacks, whites, or latinos think I can’t play just because I’m asian. I get the impression that they think no matter what, even if the asian schools their ass, the asian still can’t play. The asian got lucky. One time, I overheard a black man telling his black teammate after he fouled me that I “wouldn’t have made the bucket anyway.” That really pissed me off. From the beginning of the game I could tell that the black guy saw me as a joke or something worse. I made a pretty good move and scored in his eye and he said that the only reason I burned him was because I double dribbled, even though nobody agreed with him, not even his own teammates. It’s just really frustrating and flustering to know that you were dissed not because of what you did or how you acted, but because of the color of your skin and what you look like. On the same occasion, I learned that if you’re not black and everyone else on your team is, you’re never going to touch the ball because they’re simply never going to pass you the ball. Obviously this does not apply to all black/white/latino or so-called “American” people, but it does apply to some. And it applies often. After that experience I thought to myself about black people. Being the target of countless occasions of racism, prejudice, and discrimination, how could they do the same thing to someone else, knowing how frustrating it is? I just couldn’t understand it. But anyways, I’m gonna go on to another story.
Alright, in the summer of 1996 I was enjoying my vacation in good ol’ Hong Kong and one day my cousin and my sister and I were at the supermarket waiting to use a phone (in Hong Kong the supermarkets hook up people with phone calls) and finally it was our turn to use the phone. I had barely dialed the number when some white woman behind me started saying garbage like “Would you stop playing with the phone” and “Come on, I’m in a hurry” and all this other dumb stuff. So I turned around, looked at her, and then I totally chewed her out and showed her her place. haha yep, I was all “Damn if you were on the phone and I was waiting for you I’d be waiting for you. Sheeit, I had to wait to use this phone, so why don’t you wait?” And her dumbass was all threatening to get the manager so I was like “Go ahead and get the manager, I don’t give a hooty-nanny, and besides that, the manager will say I’m right!” So then I finally finished my call and the stupid bitch was like “thank you” in a hella sarcastic-ass tone. By then I was just like whatever and I just walked away. But this just goes to show how the woman thought that we were chinese and didn’t know how to speak english or even if we did, to resist. I’m pretty sure that she’s used to barely raising her voice and receiving all kinds of ass-kissing and so-called respect from chinese people. I mean, her face was in shock when I busted out with my U.S. fluent english. That felt hella good, but the stereotype still exists in Hong Kong that whites are superior to chinese. It makes my stomach turn when I see chinese folks totally act like they have no pride and kiss white-ass all day long. Ugh. And that, my friends, is another example of a stereotype.
When we talk about racism, one of the first things that comes to mind is violence. Racism unfortunately comes with violence a lot of the time, and it is unlikely that this will end anytime soon. This past week (week of June 8, 1998) a black man in Texas was dragged two miles on a rope behind a pickup truck by three white men and the authorities have the nerve to say that this incident was not racially motivated. Yeah right. Call me prejudiced, but the county is white, the sheriff is white, and the tattoos on the murderers speak white-supremacy. It is amazing that someone could actually say that this brutal crime was not racially motivated. I concede that I wasn’t there, and I don’t know all the details, but the entire situation just yells out “this was a hate crime!”. Speaking of violent hate crimes, I want to talk about someone named Vincent Chin. I read about his story in my Asian American Studies class, and what happened was that these white men had been laid off by their factory in Detroit (I think) and they blamed their layoff on Chinese people. Very upset and out of control, they beat Vincent Chin to death with a baseball bat. The proof was there, the eyewitnesses were there, and yet the murderers received little punishment. If the situation were reversed, that is, an Asian man killed a white man, what do you think would happen? The Asian man would probably be shot and killed by a cop at the spot. Speaking of which, there was this other Chinese man (I’ve temporarily forgotten his name) who had been laidoff, upset, and drunk. On that night, he went home and some neighbors called the cops because he was causing such a racket. When the cops came, he was swinging a broom around – nothing for the cops to be afraid of, right? Well, you know what the cops did? They pulled out a gun and shot him in the chest. As he lay dying on his own driveway, the cops restrained his wife (a registered nurse) who was begging to the cops to let her administer first aid. The cops continued to restrain her, and Wu (that was his name I think) died from excessive bleeding. The cops’ answer for pulling the trigger? They said that Wu appeared to know martial arts and was threatening them with it. Now what kind of shit is that? This was blatantly a case of excessive violence by the cops, but the part that pissed me off the most was the cops’ excuse. Just because an Asian man confronts you with a broom does not mean he knows “kung-fu”. Bastard. Maybe that should go in the stereotypes section, but it was violent so I put it here. That’s just my two cents for now. Maybe I’ll add more later. Byeeeeeeee!