Nowadays, we are constantly exposed to ads and campaigns against racism, bullying, homophobia, gender-inequality or any other type of prejudice. We are reminded on a daily basis of what opinions are socially acceptable to express and what thoughts we should reprimand. My intention here is not to do so. I’m not going to tell you to stop believing what you believe in. I’m simply making an effort to show you a different perspective- prejudice, in my opinion, is rooted from a lack of understanding.
Throughout the years, we have successfully fought against African-American discrimination. Although there is still a portion of the population that has continued to believe in the superiority of a race, the majority of us have grown to learn that some one’s color or personal choices don’t mean they’re less or more than ourselves.
The same goes for Asian discrimination.
It doesn’t seem to be talked about much, but it’s something that has been happening far too frequently and usually goes unnoticed. I’m not an activist. Truth be told, I’m often either too lazy to protest against anything that I find unjust, or just simply avoid any sort of confrontation. But, somehow this form of discrimination doesn’t get any exposure, so I thought I’d share my personal experience.
I am half Brazilian and half Korean. I grew up attending an American school and moved around quite a bit within South America. It goes without saying that my beliefs, traditions, likes and dislikes vary from my occidental side of the family. In spite of all that, my appearance doesn’t deny my heritage. Because of my “Brazilian side”, however, people will often express their stereotypical impressions of Asians, confident that I will not be offended by it, because I am Brazilian. It is safe to say I get an average of two racist comments thrown at me in the form of jokes every day.
I’ve never voiced a complaint against them or tried to defend my culture in any way because quite honestly, even I had agreed with them to some extent. I’ve always felt embarrassed of my own origin. After all, being Asian means you can’t “open your eyes” and you can’t pronounce your “Rs”. Of course, those are all generalizations, but I couldn’t help cringing every time I met an Asian that would bear those characteristics. I would blame them for giving the world that impression of us. The several .gifs on the internet, the characters in movies, and how freely people can poke fun at us would only make me feel more insecure of what I looked like, of who I was, of things I couldn’t change about myself.
Now that I’m older, I understand where I come from and how beautiful my history is, but it is still beyond me how the media and our society can continue to allow this form of racism to happen and sometimes, even encourage it. In an era where we are fighting all sorts of bullying, how does this situation not get talked about when one third of the population are Asians?
So this is why I am writing this. I want to urge you to stop and consider how much influence Asia has had on your daily lives and how much you’ve benefited from it, or simply stop to appreciate it’s history. Educate yourself on it and maybe, one day respect and admire it enough to influence others to do so as well.