Why Are Asians So Racist?

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I get asked that question and various riffs on it like “why do Asians hate black people?” and “why do Asians only stick with other Asians?” all the time.  While these questions may seem rude, I take them seriously, not least because they contain seeds of truth, even if they’re ultimately based on misinformation.

Before I get into what I meant by that, let’s get real about racism. Racism is distinct from ordinary bias because it was created as the justification for and original blueprint of a society in which race and class were pretty much the same thing. Class is how wealth and therefore power is organized. So, race and power are inextricable. And while parts of the original blueprint have changed over time, we built real structures, like our electoral college, ghettos, and suburbs, just to name a few examples, that continue to dictate the way we live today based on that blue print. We can change our minds about it, but unless we dismantle and rebuild those structures, we’re stuck with the inequities they create.

So, the long history of white supremacy, manifest as it is in the institutions and design of this society, creates a situation in which white racists are no more morally more bankrupt than any other brand of bigot, but they are more effective. After all, white as a racial category was created as the basis of a white supremacist political and economic system, just as “Asian,” and “Black,” etc., were created in order to dehumanize and subjugate non-whites within that same system. Even if you perceive Asians to be “so” racist, we’re certainly not more racist if you measure racism in terms of broad impact.

But there’s more. Asian immigrants almost never arrive here with an understanding of “Asian” as a race nor of the racial attitudes that prevail in the U.S. They have to be taught. New arrivals are inundated with racist messages as they grapple with what it means to be “American,” often without the benefit of actually knowing members of the racial groups that are being defamed, and without access to contrary sources of information in languages we speak. Imagine what it would be like to be a Vietnamese immigrant landing in Brownsville, New York’s blackest neighborhood, where 93% of residents have been stopped and frisked by police.

Newly arrived immigrants assimilate a culture in which it is business as usual for American authority figures to arbitrarily pick out black people and treat them like criminals. It’s not that hard to see why many reach the conclusion that black people are prone to criminality, a racist impression that will be reinforced by TV, conservative politicians, movies, and popular music. But we all consume these same messages. So are Asians more racist? I doubt it. Instead, I argue we are less subtle when we express our racism because we often don’t understand the accepted racial etiquette that we use to avoid provoking racial confrontations. And keep in mind, that etiquette tends to make racism more rather than less difficult to combat by forcing it underground.

The process of assimilation tends to twist many American national characteristics into caricature as immigrants for whom these characteristics are exotic attempt to distill and adopt them. This makes these characteristics, like racist beliefs, especially apparent.

But while Asians are certainly guilty of racism, we are also among its victims. That might be why 76% of Asian Americans polled by the National Asian American Survey support affirmative action against 14% who are opposed. Asian Americans also tend to favor humane immigration reform and Obamacare. These are all racially charged issues, especially in how they are treated by national political campaigns. Yet, Asian American opinion on these same issues seems unaffected by negative racial stereotyping.

And this thing about Asians only liking other Asians? Well, that’s sort of true, though I’m not sure “like” is the right word. Identify might be a better one. The peculiar way that Asians are treated results in a shared experience that most folks can’t relate to unless they’re Asian. So, many Asians do tend to identify very strongly with other Asians, especially those that belong to their particular ethnic heritage groups.

But, Asians aren’t more cliquish than other groups. In fact, whites are the most racially exclusive. 40% of whites, according to a recent Reuters commissioned study, don’t have friends of other races. Given the incredibly large number of whites relative to other groups, that’s a tough claim. It means that more whites don’t have friends of other races than the total number of people of color in the U.S. excluding Latinos. And this isn’t just indicative of how whites live, it’s also indicative of how whites think. If you don’t believe that, I present all six seasons of Sex and the City, ten more of Friends, and a whole pile of episodes of Girls as evidence.

 

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67 Responses to Why Are Asians So Racist?

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  1. Tricia August 19, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Well, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think Asians overall are racist, I truly don’t. But, I do think that from my personal experience and a lot of other blacks in the Los Angeles area, Koreans are probably the most racist and intolerant of black people. I’ve witnessed it at work and away from work.

    I have friends that work in China, Japan and South Korea. South Korea is the worst. The friends in South Korea say the ignorance is appalling of how much they don’t know about black people in general, and Africa in particular. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about a third world country here. They idolize and worship whites and generally tend to treat any black or brown person like crap, even darker Southeast Asians. Plastic surgery is CRAZY there in the pursuit of the aquiline Caucasian nose (which is very evident when comparing the singers/actors/models to everyday people walking down the street who can’t afford plastic surgery). My friends tell me that in Korea they believe to be American is to be “white”. WTF? The most diverse country in the world and you think you can’t be American unless you’re white? This is not normal nor intelligent thinking. lol

    For an excuse of their racism and intolerance, Koreans here want to yell about the Watts riots. They conveniently omit the incident that many believe led up to the riots (how a Korean shopkeeper shot a 14 year old black girl in the back of the head because she THOUGHT she was stealing a bottle of orange juice and, ONLY got probation and community service!), but love to use it as an excuse. How rude and indignant they are to blacks who come into their stores in predominantly black areas, following them around and speaking harshly to them. I don’t get why blacks patronize these stores, OR why the Koreans move into areas and open a business around people they obviously have contempt for. Ask any black woman in a mostly black area who goes into a beauty supply store for black hair products, who’s behind the counter and is the proprietor …a Korean. If they have so much disgust towards us, why are they still in our communities?

    I listen to things my friends tell me and I am speechless at times and, that doesn’t happen very often! Compared to a country like Japan, South Korea is light years behind as far as understanding and getting along with people of color and when they come here, they bring that same BS attitude. The pathetic part is how they imitate our style and dance in hip hop and R&B and yet are racist – what sense does that make? Well, racism itself doesn’t make sense so that was a stupid question. One friend told me that when she gets fed up with Korea, she takes the ferry to Fukuoka, Japan and feels like a human being again. But, as soon as she gets back on the ferry to return to Busan, the points, stares and rude comments begin.

    The really funny thing is, I have heard just as many rude, racist, insensitive things said by whites about Asians as are said about us. I don’t play that bull about whites commenting to me about other people of color because if they talk about them, they’ll talk about ME! I don’t understand, I really don’t.

    • GQAzndood August 26, 2013 at 2:19 am #

      I just had family from the Philippines visit and my younger cousins had the most interesting “idea” of what America was. Let me list the hilarity.

      1. They thought they could just go to Justin Bieber’s house and say hello.
      2. They think women here as “liberated” meaning that they are allowed to do whatever they want and sleep around with whoever they can.
      3. They only like “designer” merchandise. ex iPhones, Ralph Lauren, etc etc.
      4. They tend to be more “comfortable” around white people.

      Yes, that is who they are. Good thing I moved here when I was little and have been educating myself about the ways of the world and America. I’m glad I have an opportunity to live in a country where diversity is prevalent. I believe this way of thinking to be more ignorant than racist. I believe that the media plays a big role in this. My little nephews and nieces only quote and cite things they see in movies, magazines, and television shows that they have seen in the Philippines.

      They clearly live in a differently lifestyle over there and have no idea what to do if they ever migrated here and tried to integrate themselves with modern day America. Keep in mind these are teenagers that are rather quite intelligent in school. Though, their street smarts seem to lacking I can see why most people would say that Asian’s are racist.

    • DK (@deekee420) August 26, 2013 at 2:38 am #

      How about all those times blacks have killed and robbed Korean storeowners that don’t make the news? What about the black kids in Philly and New York that specifically target Asians because they see Asians as weaker? I grew up during the ’92 riots and getting into fights with black and Mexican kids just because I was Korean wasn’t fun .. I don’t condone racism but if you think that way and generalize, you’ll see exactly what you wanna see .. it’s ironic because I have blasian friends and they are really proud of their Korean heritage ..

      • ricardo January 25, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        Asian have been afforded bank loans and government subsided perks blacks and brown skin Hispanics can’t obtain.

        • jeff January 28, 2014 at 5:36 am #

          Too bad that isn’t true, rather they pool their money together to start a business.

    • DK (@deekee420) August 27, 2013 at 1:22 am #

      The reason why Asians are so racist is .. they are mostly homogeneous closed off societies, Korea and Japan being 98% and 99% .. there was no Civil Rights movement either.. and you saying there’s less racism in Japan is bullshit, look up Tokyo breakfast and how black men are drawn in anime.. there are anti-foreigner policies because there are no laws against discrimination .. there’s hate groups in Japan that rally in the streets against Zainichi Koreans and foreigners. Politicians are all right wing nationalists in East Asia that pretty much promote blatant racism against each other, they still haven’t gotten over grievances from WW2 that’s how bad it is. There’s not too many black folks in Asia so of course there’s going to be ignorance too. Koreans are assholes, they stare at what’s different and are blunt .. whereas Japanese are polite and inscrutable .. tell your friends to move to Japan if they think it’s so much better, trust me it isn’t .. they consider all foreigners temporary.

      Back to Amurica and how it’s so post racial here .. how dafuq am I suppose to to be responsible for all Koreans? Are you responsible for all blacks and their social problems? Wigs, liquor stores, Korean owned shops can all be boycotted, let’s see who would open up shops in their place. Times are changing too, blacks aren’t the majority in SCLA anymore.. Latinos are, and they have their own businesses. Obviously YOU hate Koreans so maybe it’s a reflection of your racism ..

      • W Leung August 28, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

        I’m sad your response is so angry. It makes it difficult to discuss this with you at this time.

      • Tricia August 29, 2013 at 11:35 pm #

        Oh no, the “Korea is a homogeneous society” excuse again. Sigh… Who said you were responsible for ALL Koreans? Surely you don’t think this one black woman’s opinion is important!! But, hey, decent law abiding blacks are stereotyped for the behavior of blacks who are criminals, drug addicts, etc. Seems LOTS of people believe the white media. lol

        I agree that blacks should boycott Korean businesses that treat them like shit – 100% agree! Why they don’t is due to their own ignorance and unwillingness to go a few hundred yards to another business. Blacks are not blameless in this to allow someone to dog them and still give them their money.

        Blacks aren’t the majority in SCLA and whites aren’t the majority in LA County anymore, so your point? No, I don’t care for Koreans just as they don’t care for me. I’ll still take Japan any day and I know there are racists there that don’t care for foreigners/blacks. They are just more civilized in how they treat you and that’s all I care about.

        • DK (@deekee420) September 2, 2013 at 8:55 am #

          yeah so just admit you’re just as racist and ignorant .. two wrongs make it right ..

    • Bang November 5, 2013 at 7:25 am #

      that’s because of the 1992 LA riots

    • So January 29, 2014 at 12:03 am #

      I’m Korean and I don’t think what you are saying is correct at all. Judging people just from experience is a very wrong fact.

    • nosta June 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

      http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/elections/how_groups_voted/voted_12.html

      73% of Asian people elect Obama only 39% of white .Asian hate black people is just bullshit from racist white.Other racist myth is Obama election result is come from white guilt.Which is also not true .The white is the only race that hate Obama .Just 39% of the white pick him.

      Is the white people who compare black and Asian like rat cockroach or monkey .Is the white people who enslave black genocite red Indian in America genocite Brown people in Australia.Asian insult black is come from racist white .In Asia there are no any kind of racist organization that kill black people like KKK or Neo Nazi.All thing about Asia hate black is just self claiming white bullshit.Statistic prove other way.

  2. With Love Glenn August 20, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    All people are prejudice – even if they don’t want to be.

    U.S. media bombards us with negative stereotypes about most groups.

    To not fall into racist thinking one needs a daily anti-racist hygiene routine.

    Now let’s see if someone already wrote the article – “Why Are Whites So Racist?”

    • pinkpodster August 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      You use a key word. Prejudice. There is confusion between prejudice and racism. Racism comes from a position of power. Few Asian Americans are at that level of systematic power in this country.

      • educated September 6, 2013 at 11:04 am #

        No, please don’t say stupid comments like this so you can say only white people can be racist. I don’t see hillbillies in power, so they can’t be racist then.

        • Scot Nakagawa
          Scot Nakagawa September 6, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

          I lived in Appalachia and there are four things you ought to know about the white people of the region: 1) they are no more or less racially prejudiced than white people generally, 2) they don’t like outsiders using slurs to describe them like “hillbillies,” 3) they have participated in or idly stood by while some of the most racist acts in history have been committed in their region – acts like Indian removal (there are few Indians in them hills for a reason), white race riots, slavery, Jim Crow, et., and 4) they are the overwhelming majority through most of the region and therefore dominate it, so yes, while they may not be individually any more powerful than any other ordinary people, they collectively can drive a lot of extremely racist public policy and are doing so because white identity turns on the idea of supremacy. This one fact of life in the U.S. drives all of these dynamics – whiteness was invented in order for ordinary people to commit extraordinary acts of injustice against those deemed not white and feel okay about it at the end of the day. The more strongly people identify as “white,” the more likely they are to exercise white power.

        • Kevion Woody November 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm #

          stfu

      • Powerlurker (@Powerlurker) September 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

        Maybe not in this country, but Asians in Asia certainly are.

  3. Lilian August 21, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    I agree with the general points made here; however, I want to also emphasize the truth of what Tricia has written. Asian immigrants are not “taught” to be racist when they arrive in this country–they instead bring their racism and ignorance with them.

    Tricia uses South Korea as an example, but in China there is a word for black people which translates as “black monster.” Is there a “white monster” equivalent? Of course not. And in Japan, “B-style” is a form of dress and behavior that proves a caricature of certain Black Americans and their lifestyle. Because of course, a Japanese person would know the one way to be Black!

    To me, these examples imply that Asians are very much a part of the negative cultural forces felt by Blacks in this country and those abroad. Blacks are seen as the “Other,” but there is something beyond that, something almost sinister about how they are treated in Asia. In this day and age, I find it very discomforting that a Black family in Beijing should have their pictures taken, their hair pulled, and generally treated like monkeys in a zoo:(http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/18/being-black-in-china/). Of course this makes sense when I remember that a Chinese friend told me he wanted to go to Africa, “to see lions.” I guess Africans would just blend in with the background, naked and climbing trees.

    Of course, the link above is not an example of racism per se, but it does provide a lens through which we can observe Asian conceptualizations about race, and specifically their characterization of Blacks as beyond “Other.” White people can be ” laowai ” but Blacks are simply “black people” or better yet, “black monsters.” What worries me is that Asian countries, especially China, are becoming a more dominant force in our global economy and because they do not respect those who are not White, what will this mean for the people they come in contact with? Can Chinese businesses respect the “black monsters” when they build business in Nairobi or trade goods with those in Eritrea? If not, how will Africans suffer because of this–how might they prevent this second phase of imperialism?

    I respect the aim of this blog, but in creating a “strategy…for racial justice”, I believe it behooves the author to honestly address the extent to which racism exists within his community–and how that racism affects other individuals and groups. The last paragraph of the author’s post seems to imply “Well, Whites are worst! Look at this and this and THAT!” But the first question of this post implies that this isn’t about White people.

    Most people (especially those who would read this blog) are aware of White cultural imperialism; however, why *are* Asians so racist toward black people?

    • Scot Nakagawa
      Scot Nakagawa August 22, 2013 at 8:03 am #

      Thanks, Lilian. I appreciate the comment though I disagree somewhat, obviously. I think there’s a combination of things going on here. Yes, I think there is racism toward many kinds of people among Asians in Asia, not least of all inter-ethnic conflict between Asian nations and peoples. And Asians in Asia often harbor a demeaning brand of curiosity about people of other races. For instance, the first white Americans in Asia were regarded as freaks. My own grandmother, an immigrant from Japan, referred to blue eyes as “dead fish eyes.” I, meanwhile, found blond hair so fascinating (in a town where there were practically no white people) that I made friends with her so I could touch her hair.

      That kind of fascination can play itself out in some horrible ways. When one of the earliest Asian women was brought to the U.S., she was such a novelty to people here that they caged her like a circus animal and took her from town to town in what amounted to a freak show. The novelty people find in those they deem “other” is objectifying and certainly something we should struggle to rise above. But it’s a pretty common thing worldwide. Culture seems to function in ways that make this kind of ethnocentrism common across the human experience, don’t you think?

      It seems to me that culture is the ultimate confirmation bias creating bubble. It cloaks us and comforts us. When things that are exotic within the context of our culture are introduced, the tendency is to look with awe, fear, or fascination. Fear can quickly turn to anger, fascination to objectification, and awe to phenomena like cargo cults and whatnot. But, when that reaction to difference is politicized, that’s when it goes from rude to dangerous and even deadly. And that, as you know as well or better than me, is what we’ve done with race in the U.S., and in a very particular way that has made racism extraordinarily durable and effective as a way of organizing our economy, domestic politics, and foreign policy.

      When imagery that reflects that politicized brand of racism is introduced to other people through American popular media, now accessible the world over and even dominant in some markets, what might more rightly be described as ethnocentrism or even xenophobia (fear of what is foreign) can take on a more sinister character. And then, when, as Soya pointed out, the U.S. military, missionaries, corporate operatives and others are added to the mix, each with their own agendas to “Americanize,” proselytize, or simply to colonize, things only get worse. And, it often appears to exaggerate because, importantly, folks are being taught about people they have often have no direct contact with.

      My own family experience is telling here, I think. My family lives in Hawaii. That’s where they were born and where their parents were born or immigrated and where some have always been. I have frequently encountered racism, especially towards black people, among my family members. Over time, that racism has been defused and softened by friendships with black people, usually through work, and by now I’m guessing they’re pretty embarrassed about the negative ideas they once harbored and shared about black people. In fact, through that experience of change over time, I think they adjusted their attitudes about race in general, and have become much more sensitive about issues of race all around.

      But, the attitude was there to begin with because of a combination of at least two things. First, in the process of assimilation, they internalized a lot of negative stuff about black people from school, their white racist bosses, and media. As Toni Morrison once argued, the immigrant to the U.S. is not fully American until she has learned and exercised racism against black people, and certainly, for my parents generation, anti-black racism probably looked like part of what it meant to be an American as they were coming of age in the 40s and 50s, especially in Hawai’i where, at that time, there were few if any black people to force people to look beyond stereotypes. Additionally, there was World War II which made them targets. Many among my relatives had to change their names during this period from Junichi to Junior, or Osamu to Sam. Playing the role of cooperative super-Americans was a means of staying out of internment camps.

      The second thing that fostered racism in them was the U.S. military. Through the military, they made their first contacts with black people in Korean War era through Vietnam. Black young men, usually single, barracked in cramped dorms, forced to endure basic training, working in the most stressful conditions imaginable while earning just above poverty pay, and almost completely without the company of anyone but other young men in a racist military that simultaneously treated them with disrespect because of their race while training them to see Asians as “the other.” And the context in which they made contact was military pay day, an occasion on which young enlisted men were released into freedom with money in their pockets in a town full of Korean hostess bars, adult bookstores, prostitution, drug trafficking, and bars, lots of bars with lots of drinking going on in them. Among soldiers, drunk often meant rude toward people who looked to a lot of those soldiers like the “enemy.”

      So, along with distrusting whites who were also among those soldiers and who had dominated and mistreated people of color in the colony they controlled, they learned to be suspicious of black people.

      This distorted view of only one slice of the complex lives of people belonging to what is, regardless of race, a problematic demographic by gender and age, confirmed many of the racist things they had already learned by watching TV news, being exposed to U.S. military propaganda, working for bosses in their childhoods who were the top tier of a racial caste system that once included black people…all of that mixed to make for some pretty messed up ideas about race. And that experience of layers of racist propaganda, exposure to the military, and simple ignorance of people like my parents is something like what some people probably experience near military bases in places like South Korea.

      So, I think people are taught racism. But, you’re right, they aren’t always taught racism in the U.S. Of course, in the U.S., when we’re taught racism, we’re also taught the rules of racial civility – the code of p.c. So, in the U.S., educated people are taught that if you went on a trip to Dakar, you didn’t visit all of “Africa.” But the fact that they know the difference doesn’t, I don’t think, make them less likely to be racist. They’re just more sophisticated when it comes to working within rules of civility that, incidentally or be design, tend to keep racial inequity and injustice in place. In most cases, I would go so far as to say that they take comfort in knowing things like that Africa isn’t a town or a country because reducing racism to acts of ignorance like that has the effect of trivializing the deadly system of privilege and oppression involving cops, guns, prisons, poverty, and people like George Zimmerman that supports that kind of ignorance.

      But the example of people in Beijing you described? There’s no filter of civility in place there. The context and politics of China doesn’t require it. They’re just filter-free when it comes to playing out a curiosity or fear I’m going to guess a lot of non-black people have about black people in America, too.

    • Joshua Xanadu August 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

      Yes there is a word for white “monster.” It’s better translated as “ghost.” They say Yang Gui. Just like Hei Gui. In Cantonese it’s Gweilo (Google is your friend) You’re welcome for the education.

      BTW, in general they refer to all foreigners as “Gui Zi,” including the ABCs who can’t understand Chinese who roam around China sulking at having to visit the “motherland.” I am often referred as Gui Zi both endearingly and with some light condescension.

      And, oh, slightly chubby people are “Pang Zi.” A person slightly older is “Lao (Insert Surname).” I’m not saying Chinese people can’t be racist towards black people (they can), but I tend to agree it’s the accumulation of negative Western stereotypes, rather than some type of power-oppression dynamic. Unfortunately it seems that as China modernizes and Westernizes the level of casual bigotry towards black folks have risen.

  4. Soya Jung
    Soya Jung August 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I really appreciate the honestly of these comments. And I think it’s critical to address anti-black racism in all of our communities. Also, I think it’s important to be specific, because each culture has a specific history, and race is a historical force that has shaped current-day power relations. In citing Korea, Japan, and China, we should remember first that they are very different nations with complicated and often brutal political histories among themselves. And then that the history of race is a history of empire, meaning that one would have to trace back to the origins of western ideas of blackness in various parts of Asia. How and when were they introduced? In many cases it was earlier than the arrival of Asian immigrants in America, particularly post-’65 waves of immigrants. For example, there were Black GIs who served in the Korea War and who have been stationed in Korea, in what is today the largest permanent deployment of U.S. troops in the world. Certainly Koreans would have absorbed ideas of blackness from witnessing the differential treatment of those Black GIs within the U.S. military. And then there is the history of coolies, who came from various parts but came later to be most commonly known as Chinese indentured laborers, many who labored alongside African slaves in the 18th Century U.S. South, Latin America, and Caribbean. There were examples of solidarity as well as not, but given that these were not the elites of their countries of origin, their associations with slave labor could have facilitated perjorative, classed ideas of blackness in their home countries. Certainly if you look at many of the Asian countries where the U.S. has chosen to invest economically and to intervene politically, like South Korea, for example, the idea that closer to white means good, and closer to black means bad has taken hold, and I would say that’s the result of white supremacy in the form of American global capital expansion and influence. There are scholars who could speak more authoritatively on this, but I wanted to offer my two cents that it’s difficult to pull apart today’s ideas of blackness in these cultures from the long histories of western colonization. And then, regardless of where they come from, they are only part of the story. There has always also been resistance. We just need more of it. Much, much more.

  5. Ben Efsaneyim August 21, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

    It seems to me that people are trying to understand Asian racism by forcing it through the “black/white” racial frame and that just doesn’t make any sense. It could easily be argued that under NE Asian racism – let’s be specific, that is what people are talking about – it is other Asian groups (SE, South, Asians) who experience the worst of it. The fact that the focus is always drawn to the black experience shows how limited is the scope or desire to understand the issue – and may hint at the degree to which people in the west seem conditioned to see little commonality with Asian people.

    Asian racism – just like any other discussion of Asian subjects – is often mired in layers of stereotypes (about Asians), over-simplification (Asia? India? Afghanistan?), geo-political considerations (Asians are untrustworthy friends, and fiendish enemies), and economic competition (we hate their economic success). American culture seems geared towards defamation of Asian cultures and people – most images of Asians are derogatory, and casually racist and demeaning behaviours towards Asian people are normalized by the media, the film and television industry, and many of the celebs who work within it.

    The question is; since American culture is so geared towards defaming, mocking, and misrepresenting Asians, why would I not expect the discussion of Asian racism to bear the characteristics of this culture of one-sided misrepresentation and defamation?

    It seems to be popular to discuss racism in countries like China and Japan, and to turn our noses up at how “backward” these people are in their racial attitudes. But there is almost always an implicit acquiescence to the culture of over-simplified, one-sided, misrepresentation that is one of the hallmarks of anti-Asian racism in this approach.

    Someone linked to a NatGeo report that outlined the experience of black tourists to China – they were the object of much interest about their racial characteristics, and that commenter framed the article (for inflammatory effect, perhaps) as though the black tourists were being treated like “monkeys”. I’m not so sure. To me it sounds like they were being treated like celebrities. Annoying? Sure – even the most famous celebs grow tired of all the public attention. Racist? Well, let’s see.

    First of all, I would doubt that NatGeo would (or could) present a similar report on “Being Black In America” – routine police harassment, incomprehensibly high rates of incarceration, disturbingly high illiteracy rates, discrimination in jobs and housing, and perennially lower income levels, not to mention police brutality and the deaths of dozens of blacks in police custody annually, would make such a report too damning. This is not a “whites do it too!” argument, it is simply an attempt to put accusations of “Asian” racism into perspective. As far as I know, Africans and african-Americans in Asia are not routinely harassed by police, or unequally incarcerated, or die in police custody – at least not to the degree that we know occurs in the US, and even in western Europe. At the very most, all we could say is that there is ignorance and (almost comical) racial insensitivity in the kind of experiences of the tourists in the Natgeo report.

    In fact, as a new player in Africa, and one that is under constant scrutiny – often xenophobic in nature – it is in China’s interest to present or fashion positive racial attitudes towards Africans. If we look past the tired narratives about Asian racism, China has become a land of opportunity for many Africans, and a significant destination for higher education for African students. This might be one of the reasons that some in the west are so “protective” of blacks in China but less so of blacks living in their own couıntries – opportunities for education and economic development offered by Chinese and other Asian involvement means that Africa now has an opportunity to break free of Western meddling and assume more autonomy.

    What better way to derail this process than to exaggerate Asian racism – if we are honest can we really say that pointing a camera at someone and staring are in the same league as police brutality, inter-generational poverty caused by discrimination, and discriminatory sentencing leading to higher incarceration rates? The paradox is that these kinds pf exaggerated reports of Asian racism, speak more about western racism towards Asians than it does about Asiatic racism towards blacks. If this wasn’t the case, then why are there never any reports on the descended-from-slaves black minority in India whose lives are a testament to profound racist discrimination and political marginalization? My guess is that there is little xenophobia about being overrun by powerful South Asian economies, or historical demonizing of Indians as enemies, hence no requirement for defamation.

    Of course, none of this speaks to the state of black/Asian relations in the US. This is another area where the subject is mired in racist stereotypes about Asians. All I will say about this is that the narrative on Asian/black tension almost always focuses on the Asian side of the equation – that is, I am told that all of the racial antagonism that exists between the two groups in the US derive from the racist attitudes of Asians. But in order for this to be true one would have to believe that African-Americans are a “blank slate” in terms of racial attitudes and that they are immune to America’s pervasive culture of demeaning and defaming Asian people and their cultures. I find this hard to believe, and I think that if we truly wanted to have an honest discussion on Asian/black relations we wouldn’t ignore this hugely significant part of the equation.

    • SJC August 28, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      im not so sure about the lack of attention to india’s racism. there are many indian scholars who have brought this to attention. and in recent months you cant move for articles about the backwardness or rape-readiness of indian men (i would say the last ten years have been, even in spite of indias rise as a financial power, quite poor in terms of PR for south asian men in general). but yes, i think there is more fear around china at the moment as it is the biggest ‘threat’ to the west’s economies which is why there is more negative attention on racism in china, but honestly, as a british born indian man, the representations of east and south asian people in tv, films, and the media in general are not the same, but pretty similar. its no coincidence that a film like harold and kumar had main characters from both groups. the similarities between the two, and how they are viewed by the wider populations have massive overlap.

      • Ben Efsaneyim August 29, 2013 at 7:52 am #

        That’s exactly right – but I will say that racism in both S.Korea and Japan (our allies apparently) is also highlighted, often exaggerated, and framed as definitive of the “Asian” character.

        Racism in India definitely is acknowledged (albeit quietly), but it doesn’t seem get used as a way to justify racism against Indians by the mainstream media, in the same way that exaggerated reports of East Asian racism seems to be.

        Besides, I would suggest that it is SE and South Asians who experience racism in NE Asia perhaps equal to, or more than, blacks – but this narrative doesn’t fly in America, possibly because Asians are so demonized in the culture. Who can empathize or sympathize with a people whom your culture casually mocks and demeans?

        But even this narrative leaves out the fact that Chinese migrants all over Asia, are themselves often the targets of racism.

    • Powerlurker (@Powerlurker) September 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

      The things I’ve heard some of my Chinese friends and associates say about Uyghurs are surprisingly similar to the stereotypes you hear Europeans using to describe Roma people.

  6. Ben Efsaneyim August 23, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    This article provides some insight into the “Asians are racist against blacks” narrative popular amongst western xenophobes.

    http://africasacountry.com/how-the-africa-china-romance-is-killing-europe/

  7. Nadia August 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Thank you Ben you definitely added a new perspective.

  8. Alexander August 28, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    To say that 40% of whites have no friends of any other race and conclude they are more racist than any other group does not make any sense. There are considerably more whites than any other ethnic group and so they are more likely to have white friends by pure chance. There are entire states where the population is almost completely white- meaning they couldn’t find a person of another race even if they tried. White Americans are the least racist people on earth- they have been taught from a young age that to be racist is to be evil. Which is true I guess. To make myself more clear- imagine the same study being done in Japan (99% of the population is Japanese) and seeing that almost all Japanese have only Japanese friends. Does that mean that they’re racist? No, it means that there are just way more Japanese than any other kind of people. I suggest you delete this post for the sake of your credibility.

    • Scot Nakagawa
      Scot Nakagawa August 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

      You misread the article, Alexander. I didn’t say that 40% of whites are racist because they don’t have friends of color. I said that people often talk about Asians hanging together in clusters as though it is odd and racist, as though this is an indication that Asians prefer their own company to that of others because of a disdain for diversity. I was simply pointing out that to single out Asians in this way is racist in the context of a country where 40% of the majority racial group has no friends of different races. Why don’t we notice that given how this “whites only” reality gets projected onto the culture via the television shows I mentioned, all of which have been criticized for representing an idealized world and New York in particular, in which there appear to be few, often zero, people of color.

      Having said that, however, I do think it’s important to note that the “entire states where the population is almost completely white” phenomena exists for a reason. For instance, I lived in Portland, Oregon for nearly 25 years. Portland’s population is overwhelmingly white and many white people, even in the city and along the I-5 corridor of development through the Willamette Valley have no friends of color and few to choose from if they wished to exercise that option. But, Oregon had a whites-only law on the books until the beginning of the last century. People of color were specifically excluded from migrating into the state over the same historical period in which more Indian tribes were terminated in Oregon than the rest of the country combined. This attracted waves of post-abolition white migrants into Oregon from states that were receiving the first waves of Southern blacks leaving the South. Throughout the Great Migration, Oregon continued to a white flight state. This continued even into the 1980s and 90s, as many fled “crime” and “urban decay” in Southern California by moving to Oregon which they viewed as “safe.” It led to some in the state putting bumper stickers on their cars reading “don’t californicate oregon.”

      Where we end up concentrating as populations by race is often an indication of historical dynamics that are far from benign. For instance, I lived and worked in rural Eastern Tennessee for a while, in an area that is full of small manufacturing towns and former coal camps. The area is almost all white (though immigration is changing that quickly). But, it used to be a richly diverse area by race, with Native American nations present throughout the Appalachians. Those Native Americans were forcibly removed, with many being pushed onto the Trail of Tear. This historical events drive dynamics that continue to shape how we see and live in the world by race long after Native Americans were driven out of Appalachia and Oregon (and Colorado) excluded people of color. These dynamics tend to perpetuate racism, especially in all or mostly white environments where racism is largely unchallenged and therefore gets pretty seamlessly normalized.

      • Lily October 15, 2013 at 12:12 am #

        But Asian countries and especially Japan does not let non-native people immigrate. So how is that different from the United States not letting nonwhite people immigrate in the past?

        • Dear Lily October 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

          that is false and you know it. Asian countries including Japan allow non-native people to immigrate. The reason why immigration to these countries is low is because people prefer to immigrate to the States than to Asian countries.

  9. Rich August 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Affirmative action is a joke. It increases representation of underrepresented (i.e. non-Asian) minorities while maintaining the White majority. Guess who gets squeezed out?

    • Scot Nakagawa
      Scot Nakagawa September 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      While this is often true, I think we’re throwing the baby out with the bath water if we decide that, for this reason, we should take down affirmative action rather than simply reform it to avoid the outcome you’re describing.

  10. Simply Someone August 30, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    Wow, this article was very insightful & all of your comments are quite thoughtful & intelligently-worded. I also appreciate the open & mature discussion going on here; this conversation is so civilized & polite, so so rare on the internet!!
    To add my two cents, while I don’t agree with everything Ben Efsaneyim says, I believe he has a very relevant point in how Asians’ racism is oversimplified in this discussion. As he notes, even within Asian communities & countries, there is a bias towards some groups over others. This difference is greatly amplified once we begin to look at minorities in Western countries, like America. Usually, there is a significant erasure effect when people use the term “Asian”. To them, the word refers directly to Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. However many other ethnic groups like Indians, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Pakistani, Afghani, Cambodian, Thai, Malaysian, etc. aren’t ever weighed in or considered esp. when it comes to Asian Americans championing causes for their minority group. In fact, some go as far as to say they shouldn’t be included in the label “Asian” at all.
    I guess, that leads into my question for all of you. What should be done about that situation? Before we talk about Asian racism, I think it’s pertinent to define the word Asian itself. Is an Indian American expected to identify himself as an Asian & work on Asian-American issues despite the lack of acknowledgement for his existence he receives from more accepted Asians? Should there be a separation? Are both groups that distinct?
    This question has always puzzled me when people discuss Asian American issues and I think it’s one that it’s about time we answered…

  11. GeorgeLanceRockwell September 2, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    Asians worship whites. Asia is a white man’s paradise, and Black people (men especially) just shouldn’t travel there. Blacks should boycott Asian businesses. In fact, it’s Blacks against the world. We’ll never make friends with these other races, so it’s just not worth it. What little advancement we made is shrinking on a global level.

    Globally, the only thing Blacks are renowned for is entertainment, and since other races can “twerk” and “hip-hop” now (check out K-pop), they don’t need us, so we are becoming totally irrelevant. Time to separate since we’re not wanted anyway, and do for self.

    • cheeky November 1, 2013 at 3:27 am #

      @Rockwel

      Speak for yourself, please, and not the rest of us.

  12. Another Halocene Human September 24, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Scot,

    Your attempt to damn white Appalachia with faint praise by calling them “no more or less racist” than other white Americans falls flat when you compare voting patterns from the last two elections interregionally.

    A majority of white males over the age of 35 in the state of Massachusetts voted for Barack Obama. That is a fact. If we’re going to talk about prejudice, I would say being a registered Democrat who voted for the D Presidential ticket in multiple prior elections who is however unable to pull the lever for Barack Obama, does, on aggregate, speak to PREJUDICE, unthinking, blind, ignorant prejudice, which, given the rural nature of Appalachia, the long dependence on government largesse explicitly or implicitly given in the furtherance of white supremacy, from “removing” the Cherokee to the TVA, and the long history of avoiding or simply burying any sort of ethnic diversity* makes the long, uncomfortable journey from anti-slavery refuseniks to racist holdouts almost inevitable.

    *-there are tales yet to be told about tri-racial isolate communities in Appalachia and people of Middle Eastern heritage in Appalachia. Unfortunately, the history of both have been heavily obscured.

    That region is Cherokee country and should have stayed Cherokee country. It also has a rich, multi-ethnic history and a present very much in jeopardy due to the impact of the resource-energy-extraction business.

    By painting all whites as equally racist/prejudiced, you give cover to white supremacists and enable a sort of might-makes-right moral relativism that implies that any person in a position of power would take advantage, so there are no grounds to condemn those who do. One side of my family is stocked with unabashed racists and anti-Semites and the other side with anti-racist activists who have put their own welfare on the line for what they believed in. There IS a difference.

    • Scot Nakagawa
      Scot Nakagawa September 25, 2013 at 8:07 am #

      I get what you’re saying. I lived in Appalachia and worked at the Highlander Center, the civil rights training school that produced, among other things, the Citizenship Schools back in the days of the Civil Rights Movement. I know it’s Cherokee country and agree it should have stayed Cherokee Country. I also know that a Highlander sponsored research project into the coal camps of Appalachia discovered that the total amount of property taxes paid in an entire mostly company-owned county amounted to less money than is required to pay for a school bus tire. And between mountaintop removal and toxic dumping, much of the ground water in hill communities is too polluted with heavy metals to be safe for fishing, much less for drinking, and flooding, including floods taking out big chunks of whole communities, is a regular occurrence. The situation is complicated.

      This issue also comes up with Asian immigrants who vote Republican. Certain groups, like the Vietnamese, vary from the general pattern among Asian Americans in that they tend to register Republican. But, the reason they do so is important to understanding why they don’t always vote that way in general elections. If you understand the reason, it’s a lot easier to move them from that position. White working class Appalachians have their reasons for voting as they do, and your rationale is among them. But there are other reasons for the racism of Appalachia. When you get down to those reasons, it starts to look quite possible to move them. But, in order to do that, there needs to be grassroots work done between elections and through organizations indigenous to the people of the region. That isn’t happening much, in part because liberal donors and foundations often buy into the idea that the region is intractably racist, much to the chagrin of people of color who live in the region who’d like to catch a break, if you know what I mean.

      Anyway, just wanted to say, I know what you mean, but there’s more to that story that statistics don’t speak to. And, you know, I lived in Portland, Oregon for 25 years and was very active in politics there. Oregon is full of white supremacists. It used to be my job to document their presence and build opposition to them. Oregon had a whites only law until the early part of last century. That’s why it’s so white. That also made it into a white flight state starting just after the Civil War. The Posse Comitatus was founded in Oregon. In the 1920s, one of our three Oregon white residents belonged to the Klan. Oregon contains more terminated tribes than the rest of the country combined. Portland used to be home to multiple tribes, but now has only a tiny urban Indian community. I used to think that made Oregon especially racist. But then I found out that Colorado has a similar history. Meanwhile, Washington State has a history of terror and violence directed against Asian immigrants, and Seattle used to be Duwamish. The Duwamish are now fighting to create a presence in that city through building a longhouse that has been strongly opposed by some. Idaho was home to the Aryan Nations.

      I funded hundreds of group in the Northwest region earlier this century when I worked for a Washington-based regional progressive foundation. I traveled all through Montana, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming. I found them each to articulate their own brands of racism. Montana’s state legislature includes overt white supremacists and is home to many white supremacist and neo-Nazi organizations, including Christian Identity groups who believe that people of color are mistakes God made before getting it right and making a white Adam. Idaho sent Helen Chenoweth to Congress – she of the famous black helicopters.

      The West Coast tolerated the mass incarceration of nearly every Japanese American resident during WWII. Whites in Hawai’i used the occasion of over 300,000 Native Hawaiians suddenly dying of diseases they brought to Hawai’i to consolidate a power base there that they maintained through the establishment of a white, Republican oligarchy that rule the islands for about 80 years. My own grandmother was whipped to work by a white resident of Hawaii back in the day, causing a miscarriage in the sugar fields. She still had to finish her day, cutting cane. The descendents of those people may have been pushed out of power by their own hubris, including importing too many Asian immigrant laborers that becoming a state meant losing control of Hawaii politics, but they are still there in the margins, and some of them are still white supremacists.

      We fool ourselves into thinking that some groups of whites are more racist than others. Their racism is expressed differently. I would argue that the reason Oregon voters tend to be less race sensitive and more Democratic is because communities of color there are so small. They’re not a threat. But scratch that surface as Portland did during the early years of the war on crack, and that liberal veneer gives way to deep seated racism. When the stakes go up, people show their true colors.

  13. samschlauch September 25, 2013 at 2:56 am #

    I think the numbers and stats stand for them selves: Japan, South Korea, an Taiwan are strong economies (despite Japan’s lost decade) BUT yet their are strong hiring preferences to ONLY hire locals… Germany is as old a culture as it’s Asian counter parts–yet many more foreigners work, live ( yes and suffer) in it’s cities than in Tokyo or Seoul….Why can’t South Korea, Japan, and even Taiwan enact laws that prohibit discrimination based on race such as in the West and accept more foreign workers?

    For a region that can not even have laws and policies that make racial discrimination illegal, is an indictment of its native citizens’ attitude to “live side by side” other races.

    And for the record, learning to write, read, and speak Japanese to study medicine for 7 years in Japan (for a white-man) is a perfect example that hard study works…but that Asian laws and Asian racial attitudes do work effectively to keep foreigners out. A little reciprocity in laws would go a long way in Asia…

    • Scot Nakagawa
      Scot Nakagawa September 25, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Are you really going to say that Japan and South Korea are better to foreign workers than the U.S.? Remember that fence on our Southern border? Just what are we debating in Congress now if not a horribly oppression guest worker program leading to a very uncertain path to citizenship that includes what amounts to an English-Only provision? The U.S. has never been good to non-white foreign workers unless they need them for a particular reason, like South Asians who are brought to the U.S. with fast-track visas last century because medicaid and medicare caused a labor shortage in the medical services field. Even then, as with agricultural workers, good treatment is by no means the norm. Slavery would be one good example. Our unwillingness to address the legacy of slavery would be another.

      If Japan and Korea were short highly skilled workers foreigners with those skills would certainly be more welcome. That’s what welcome immigration has always been about all over the world. But, what they are short on is low wage workers, and they do welcome that class of workers, mainly from other Asian countries. Americans would never put up with that kind of work as demonstrated by what happens in our apple orchards when undocumented workers are chased out of the fields. No one replaces them and the fruit just rots.

      • samschlauch September 25, 2013 at 10:33 am #

        Your response is so typical American believing that every migrant strives to work in the U.S. I avoided America at all cost, and migrated to Canada, from Japan via Germany. You seem to view people are rather two-dimensional, people are pulled to advanced economies for many reasons.My point is simple: It should be a level playing field for everyone in all advanced economies at this point in time

        My background is as an anesthesiologist and yes sectors of many Asian economies do have a skilled workers shortage. Case in point are nurses, OB doctors,support workers, etc in Japan…Many Filipino nurses are recruited every year as “nurses” in Japan, but the government makes the Japanese nursing licencing exam so difficult for them, that over 96 % fail and are required to leave.

        Again, I resent the American attitude that every person on this earth strives to live and work in the USA and talk about what happens in Congress.– Even to this day, I would rather live in Japan (safe, clean, polite society) than in a dysfunctional, violent “democracy” like the States.

        • Scot Nakagawa
          Scot Nakagawa September 25, 2013 at 11:05 am #

          I don’t think I said that every one wants to live and work in America. I actually used to live and work in Mexico by choice and have considered living and working in Canada and Asia when opportunities were offered to me. I see the lure. My point was not that everyone shouldn’t be held to the same standard. In fact, holding certain Asian countries to a higher standard when welcoming immigrants than we hold America to is where I thought we disagreed, but maybe I’m wrong about that.

          But, you’re right. Asian countries like Japan do have highly skilled labor shortages. I appreciate the correction. And, yes, they do turn to countries like the Philippines to fill those shortages. Those workers generally tend to be cheaper, btw. And, yes, you should get to work where you like and maybe Japan would be a better place to work. I grew up in Hawai’i. I never thought of it as the U.S. proper because we are so different and many long for the U.S. to leave Hawai’i, me included.

          So, yeah, point well taken, but the double standard works both ways.

      • Lily October 15, 2013 at 1:16 am #

        But there are up to 20 million undocumented people in the US. Many of them are allowed driver’s licenses, allowed to be treated in our ER rooms, and the children that they have here become American citizens. Undocumented people/immigrants in the U.S. and many Western countries have a lot more rights than in Asian countries. Your argument seems to revolve around anecdotes and emotion instead of actual facts. When you look at the numbers and the laws, it really does paint a picture that the West is more welcoming to foreigners and immigrants than Asia. I’m Asian myself, btw.

  14. Brandi October 15, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    I posted on your Portland article about growing up there etc. I was surprised to see you stand up the way you did because of more recent experiences. Although my experiences in Portland with Asians I think mostly Vietnamese was awesome. I must say I was shocked after I married my hubby who is half white half Korean. My mom is black and Native and my dad is white. In all fairness my hubby is the only Asian man I’ve ever been with. I have never seen such racism in my life. I have dated white guys and never seen, heard and been subjected to as much racism as with this family. They hid it real good until some of their Korean relatives flew in from California for our wedding. They said nasty things in Korean not thinking my Korean friend and bridesmaid would tell me. One lady actually approached a phillipino friend of mine and asked if he “was a black”. I thought it was just their influence but nope. It’s mainly against blacks but anti white as well and his dad is white.
    When our daughter who is now three was born is when it really went to another level. My hubby’s sisters all are married to white guys. When my daughter was born my mother in law started saying that she was more beautiful than the others that looked white because she looked Korean. Her granddaughter also started saying it and feeling bad about herself which makes her mom act a certain way towards my daughter. Then came more black comments I have even heard the N word used not toward my daughter who they consider just Korean but nasty comments towards blacks in general. They treat my black relatives one way and the whites completely different. I honestly think my hubby treats my white friends and relatives different too. My mother in law had a business in a black community and has done well. I really don’t get it. The excuse is well that’s other blacks they don’t feel that way about you. I know my daughter doesn’t look black but my mom is and she loves her very much. I don’t want them around her really to infest her with that crap and this causes many arguments with the hubby. My friend that is Korean says that this is common.

  15. Matti Hill October 27, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    This debate is very USA centric. In Sydney Australia 18% of the city is Asian. I myself am a Jewish Australian who had dated, Chinese, Korean, Filipino and Indonesians. All my friends are Asian and I have lived in South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore. In my experience, there is a certain level of skin colour discrimination against anyone of a darker skin colour, ask a Tamil in Singapore or a Filipina in HK….this is very common in my experience. When I was in SK there was a substantially negative view of African Americans. But overall filipino’s are NOT racist, but overall I’d say the most openly and unashamed racist views I’ve ever heard were from Hong Kongers, Singaporean Chinese, Chinese and Koreans. Oh yeah I’ve lived in Osaka too, didn’t experience any racism.

    • cheeky November 1, 2013 at 3:06 am #

      Just wondering—-why is there such a hate for African-Americans in South Korea Considering that black people have never even done anything to them, and is very few of us over there anyway, Where’s the hate coming from? I used to go to a site called Black Tokyo which detailed the experiences of black Americans living,working or studying in Tokyo and how the racism there operated. It was a very interesting and fun site to go for a view of Japan you rarely heard about in the mainstream news. The site may still be around, but the owner did a complete overhaul of it, so it’s no longer the site I wen to a decade ago.

  16. Braulic88 November 23, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I’m African American, I live in NYC and have been dating a Chinese woman for 5 years. My experiences are only limited to the US. The amount of stares and double-takes from Asians(specifically Koreans, Chinese and Japanese) is far greater than any other race. Usually when they walk by us, they don’t really look at me. Instead, they look at my gf as if she may be in trouble and in need of some assistance(as if I have a hidden gun in her back ready to shoot if she tries to run). I’m an avg height guy with an athletic build and I definitely don’t dress like I’m from the hood…because I’m not. Another classic scenario occurs when we walk into a Japanese, Korean or Chinese establishment. All of the patrons stare and whisper as if the devil has just walked in. Now, I’m thinking, “We’re in NYC where you get all kinds of combinations…why is it such a shock for you to see me and my gf together?” To me this is not only ignorant, it is a slap in the face to the very country in which we live. I’ve dated a caucasian woman in the past and have never had these problems. Based off of my personal(again my personal) experiences, Japanese, Korean and Chinese cultures are the most racist Asian cultures that I’ve encountered.

  17. Lew December 3, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    Every Asian and Asian American kid I knew growing up in SF Bay Area was victimized by gangs of black kids. Black kids constantly steal from Asian owned businesses. Black kids constantly use racial slurs against Asians. This continues into adulthood – see the recent movie Linsanity. Asian immigrants do not care about what kind of history black Americans have gone through. They do not understand why they are being targeted. They just know they are being targeted because of how they look and especially by a certain other group of people. Why wouldn’t any normal person in that situation become prejudiced against black people? Only an idiot would continue to trust people who looked a certain way and acted and spoke a certain way, long after being victimized by them. The fault lies not with the Asians. There, I said it.

  18. Figgie January 22, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    Misinformation my “you-know-what” lol East Asians are racist and are not oppressed like African Americans or even South Asians. And even whites actually. And while I’m not saying there is not some prejudice towards them (just like anyone), from a socioeconomic standpoint, theyre NOT a true OPPRESSED minority. They get treated better and are accepted more in society than a black person and even someone of native american/latin american heritage (even though many latin americans are “caucasian”). I actually learned about this from a college course I took and the course was about the social construction of race and ethnicity in the US. YES, often, EAST Asians are extremely racist. And ignorant too because they don’t aknowledge South Asian culture from countries like India, when Buddhism comes from India. So from a socioeconimic standpoint, they are NOT a true minority. I’m Italian American and was often look down apon from wasps and east asians alike. I actually consider japanese the wasps of asia. It sounds messed up, but it’s a great analogy in terms of ethnicity. Please understand that I think Asians deny their racism. Yes they do. And Ive done research to come to this conclusion, so I’m not just talking out of my you know what. Learn that RACISM=prejudice plus power…Asians and whites both have power over blacks, however, whites are socioeconomic equals with whites and therefore whites do not have power over Asians. But both groups have power over others. Many Asians are more racist towards blacks. This is the absolute truth.

  19. david January 26, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    Being an Asian male, while realizing this is a gross generalization, I think that our females are much, much more racist than most Asian males. There’s something in our culture that makes us feel superior to blacks for some ridiculous reason. To my female Asian friends, there is nothing lower than blacks. Then middle easterners/arabs. Then, the rest of us asians — the pecking order is clearly, the lighter the skin the better. Koreans and especially Japanese are thought to be a cut above. Then, of course, Caucasians. Just about all Asian women seem to absolutely love white men far above us Asians. I can’t really tell what they think of white women, but I think they are very much swayed by their views of fashion, etc.

    Frustrating, and of course it makes no sense at all.

  20. tryst January 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    I’m a little late to this conversation but it was so interesting that I just have to comment. I am only speaking from my experience as a black, woman in America. I don’t think people from Asia are any more racist than anyone else in this country. I do not buy the attitude that Asians are racist (towards blacks) because this is what they see once they arrive in America. To an extent this may be true but it is also true that just because one witnesses certain actions doesn’t mean that person has to mimic those actions. I have never been to any Asian countries but I’ve heard many things from my father (Vietnam Vet) and friends who have traveled abroad. From what I’ve been told, Americans (during the Vietnam War) were either worshiped or hated. Many Vietnamese women saw American GI’s as a hassle free way to get to America. My father has said that the families of those women were incredibly racist toward the black soldiers but tolerated the unions because white soldiers were less interested in taking home Vietnamese brides. The likelihood that their racism was based on messages received from Western depictions of black people isn’t high. We’re talking about the mid to late 1960′s in rural villages where there was no access to the global media. That type of racism is homegrown. Black, for whatever reason, has always been seen as a negative in many cultures throughout the world.

    As a child growing up on military bases throughout the U.S., I had friends of varying racial, ethnic, national, and cultural backgrounds. The only racist comments I ever heard came from the mother of a Caucasian family. I didn’t understand it and therefore didn’t respond or react to it. I spent so much time at my friends homes that my favorite foods growing up consisted of dishes from Filipino, Korean, Vietnamese, and Puerto Rican cuisine. So imagine my surprise when I entered a Korean liquor store and was followed and harassed by the owners. I was a teenager at this point and the store was not located on the base. It may be possible that those owners had been subjected to racism and subsequently responded in kind. The problem with that type of attitude is that it doesn’t solve anything. Justifying your behavior by saying ‘well they did it to me’ is juvenile. Excusing the racist behavior and attitudes of friends and family is weak. We live in an era of unprecedented access to information. There is no excuse for people’s ignorance anymore. Living in a community that is predominately your own race is also a pretty lame argument. How does anyone consider themselves a well rounded individual if they won’t even take the time to explore cultures outside of their own?

    It is amazing to me that, in a country as culturally and ethnically diverse as the U.S., we appear to be more divided than ever. Everyone has their own agenda. It almost feels as though people don’t believe they can exist in society at large and still be true to their own culture. And it most certainly does not have to be that way.

  21. Luanna February 1, 2014 at 6:44 am #

    “Prejudice vs Racist”…these two terms are clearly not the same thing. Prejudice can come against a plethora of things besides race. Being racist is governed to race only!. These subject matters are clearly taken way outta context. If people had a true understanding of the heart of a person, then there would be no such thing as seeing someone and judging them by the color of their skin. “Point blank and a period.”!

  22. myoung February 4, 2014 at 3:49 am #

    Because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with preferring my own race, or being with my own people. The idea that having ethnic or racial self interest makes someone racist was something promoted by leftist agitators to exaggerate racism in an age where overt racism has gone underground. They need that victimhood narrative to keep their supporters riled up.

    I WILL privilege another Asian over a non-Asian, all other factors being equal. Doesn’t mean I hate non-Asians, it means I like Asians more. If that’s racist, then I’m racist.

    • Scot Nakagawa
      Scot Nakagawa February 4, 2014 at 10:36 am #

      Actually, privileging your group over another doesn’t necessarily make you racist, just as preferring someone with black hair over someone with blonde hair doesn’t make you racist. What makes you racist is when you take that attitude and use it to justify acts that result in privilege to one group at the expense of another. For most of U.S. history this is what has been done. In the name of white supremacy, legal codes were created that excluded other people from participation in society and worse, sanctioned genocide, forced assimilation, slavery, black codes designed to re-enslave newly freed black slaves on chain gangs, Jim Crow, anti-Chinese persecution by federal law enforcement, Japanese American internment, The Gentleman’s Agreement, and laws that disenfranchised people and excluded them from marriage rights, property ownership, federal employment..the list goes on. That’s why I call racism a political construct. Whatever prejudices you may have, you’re entitled to them. I’m not about policing how you think. But when those prejudices are used to justify political acts that have the effect of making some people more vulnerable to economic exploitation and political exclusion and persecution, that’s quite a different thing.

    • Rashnu February 4, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      Oooh, I guessed wrong, myoung. You claim “Asian”. You sure talk like a white person. “Leftist agitators”? More typical white supremacist arguments. It is possible you are “Asian” (can’t know for sure online), but you frame and pattern your opinions on white supremacist-style rhetoric.

      Maybe you’re just trolling. Probably didn’t read the article either. Your comment is not responding directly to the article; There wasn’t any focus on privileging people or a groups self-interest.

      No offense intended if you are in fact “Asian”. Your comments suggest otherwise.

  23. Gleek اشلي Tweets™ (@Ashanai_95) February 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

    I’m Black and I have many Asian friends, and the issue of race or being different never came up. I’ve also got to understand that Asians hang out with each other in groups because they feel a sense of belonging. Asians act entirely different from other races to be honest, not saying they are better but every race acts differently. I can’t see why everything regarding race has to be so trivial, but racism will forever exist so don’t expect everyone to be tolerable

    • Berns De La Vega April 29, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

      I am a filipino who looks black because of my brown color. It’s common in Philippine to be called negro and it’s fine with me and to most … Don’t get offended when you are called negro in PI … it doesn’t really matter. Here in the US you can’t call someone like that especially when he is black or you’ll be called racist or you’ll get your face busted. I remember one time my uncle who just came from PI … he was telling me story that he was talking to a negro neighbor. I said what uncle ? don’t tell negro here you will be in trouble ? he said oh yeah ? but i am also called negro in PI that’s in PI when there is no white guys … but here is totally different.

  24. jordan567890 February 12, 2014 at 1:17 am #

    In defense of ‘Asians’ (which is too broad a category and is really just white people saying everyone that isn’t us that we are connected to by land), Asian racism for the most part won’t make you fear for your lives and personal safety, if the gun wielding Korean shop owner is unpleasant you can just not shop there anymore (and they will have lost money from not being nicer). It’s mostly bark… not being stalked and fatally bitten, like white racism which is this omnipresent threat to life and liberty. Even in Asia, China and India despite their size and longevity have no real history of genocide. Really only Japan and Turkey do, interestingly both happened immediately after copying the West (The Meiji Restoration and The Young Turks). I was going to say maybe Indonesian violence against ethnic Chinese, but even that was started by the Dutch Colonial Government. Maybe there is Sunni-Shia violence, but in Iraq at least that hornets nest was kicked by the US (they were getting along fine before). Iran-Iraq wars – US pulling strings. And Jews in Arab countries were fine until Britain gave Palestine to some European Jews. Pakistan-India – how much of that is Britain’s fault exporting Nationalism and drawing haphazard borders? To put it another way, I’m not Chinese (or East Asian) but I wouldn’t be afraid of visiting China a few thousand years ago… but I would be terrified of visiting Northern Europe a few thousand years ago.

  25. anonymous May 24, 2014 at 5:43 am #

    Asians are racist. Heck, we can’t even get along with other Asians (the Chinese and Japanese have this thing going between them…). More importantly, it is worth noting that you see a lot of talk about not falling into the evils of racism going on in Western countries, but not much of that in China. However, if you look at a certain country in Southeast Asia (I will not mention names in case my I.P is traced), you will see that they have institutionalized racism. And when I say institutionalized, I don’t just mean give them more social security and benefits; I mean actual declarations in the constitution that they are the rightful owners of the country, and so on…
    Maybe some Westerners practice racism covertly, but over here, it is enshrined in the law.
    Source: An Asian living in an Asian Country.

  26. Ang July 22, 2014 at 8:39 am #

    I can definitely relate to what’s being written here. I know Asian relatives and family friends who discuss negative stereotypes about people from other races, but I think they are racist without knowing it (or ignorant). When I first came to America, I don’t remember having such stereotypes in my mind. I agree that immigrants are exposed to all sorts of stereotypes, especially those perpetuated by white folks. Even back in Asia, I think Asians have some preconceptions. That link showing Chinese people in China stroking and looking at the black family like they are some type of novelty is quite disturbing. It’s like they’ve never seen black people before. Growing up, I hear all sorts of stereotypes, like the one relating to gorrillas and how certain types of people are lazy and alcohol bingers. Logical thinking people would not believe in such stereotypes, because everyone is unique and so different from each other. I also notice that many Asians tend to worship white people and try to emulate them, probably in an effort to fit in. My family kept saying negative things about people of color but rarely criticize white people. Instead, they praise white people for their academics, civility, and way of doing things. I think being around diverse people and actually getting to know them individually would help in dispelling the stereotypes.

  27. amituofo July 29, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

    Yes, there are some Asians out there that are racist, but not all. EVERY race has people that are prejudiced against a certain group. You can talk and write about how much Asians hate this, hate that, don’t like that, don’t like this, but Asians aren’t the only ones that are racist. Remember that.

    My point of view might be biased to you, but to me, I only focus on wisdom and pure truth. I am Taiwanese (Chinese, whatever), and I grew up with Asian parents who are immigrants. I grew up in a community about 55% Asian (1/3 Asian Indian), 30% white, and 15% black, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander, etc. We all mixed pretty well, and it was one of the best neighborhoods to live in so there wasn’t much serious prejudice. We were all raised pretty well.

    But, I must say, growing up with immigrant Asians, Asians (not all) are racist. The Asian Americans, as the ones born in this country, are less or not prejudiced at all than the immigrant Asians. Many of my Asian relatives have a strong dislike towards Asian Indians, blacks, and Latinos. They consider blacks and Latinos as slackers that don’t study, don’t get good grades, don’t go to college, and just sit there committing a crime. They are fine with the whites, other Asians (besides Indians), and the rest, I don’t know.

    My parents and grandparents consider Asian Indians as people who are so desperate that they jump to any opportunity they can get. I guess they’re thinking about the arranged marriages with the five-year-old girls. But my mother is ok with young, Indian girls; she thinks they’re the victims most of the time.

    In my opinion, my relatives that speak negatively on racial stereotypes are just ignorant. They aren’t like the Westboro Baptist Church, standing there, reminding people of how much they hate this certain group all the time. They’re just really ignorant.

  28. danaong2012 August 23, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Lilian -there is a common derogatory term for Caucasians in China, they are referred to as White Devil. There have historically been suspicions and prejudices toward white people. In my own family, my dad’s Chinese and Thai family smirked at him when he announced that he was marrying my white mother, they exclaimed cynically, “Are you going to marry that Christian woman?”. Religion was as much of as an issue for them as race. I don’t know where you have your information that there is no equivalent to the term for blacks, which I’ve never heard, but White Devil was as common as saying Chink here in America.

  29. inthenighttime August 25, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I’m kind of disheartened by the lack of a critical approach in this comment, as well as framing Korean Americans and/or Korean immigrants (or any other group Trish seems to look as “non-American”) in the US as the Other. How is this different than anyone else saying oh, xyz race/ethnic group from the US are the worst of the bunch (which is what she is accusing Koreans in Korea to be doing)? smh. I think Trish’s comment also highlights a failure of understanding in regards to the histories of political strife within Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia… but considering the way history books are written (not just in the US, but other countries as well), it’s not necessarily Trish’s fault. It’s also problematic here that she seems to be ultimately intent on blaming Koreans, Korean immigrants, and Korean-Americans, rather than actually problematizing or at least examining the dysfunctional American political and economic system… If you think it’s shocking that a lot of people don’t know about the Latasha Harlins/Soon Ja Du case, you’d be surprised to know that the memory of what happened in LA in 1992 (which, by the way, is after the Watts incident; I think you were trying to talk about the 1992 event, not the Watts event) is fading fast among all communities, in LA and beyond. What happened in 1992 highlights beyond the “racial-tension” frame that the media was using to package the situation; the police actions alone during those chaotic days spoke volumes to that. I just wanted to point out some of the discrepancies and issues in Trish’s comment. I think other commenters address other important points regarding Trish’s comment well.

  30. Tricia August 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    NO, the Latasha Harlins incident is NOT fading from black people’s memories! Many people still believe that this led up to the Watts riots. Also, I NEVER said anything about Koreans being non-American (can you please point that out in my comments?). I specifically stated about my experience (and experiences of friends who live in Asia) as the intolerance and racism of them towards blacks here and in South Korea. Everyone of them is not wrong!

    If Koreans don’t want to be “framed”, maybe they should stop “framing” African Americans. Just sayin’…

  31. AZn Pride August 30, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    I disagree.The term ghost man used to be a rascist term in the past but in the present it is not used as a “derogratory” term.

  32. DK (@deekee420) September 2, 2013 at 9:13 am #

    Watts riots happened in 1965, the LA riots happened in 1992. Both happened because of police brutality. Korean businesses were scapegoated, Latasha Harlins RIP but that was a isolated incident, it didn’t happen over over and over again like police brutality which is real systematic racism not just dirty looks. LAPD escorted white folks through SCLA to West LA and Beverly Hills while they let Ktown burn. What happened since then? Ktown was rebuilt and is bigger than ever its actually pretty trendy nowadays, Korean families with money moved out to the suburbs like Cerritos and Fullerton. Blacks have been moving out of LA because all the racial tensions with Latinos. Gentrification has changed DTLA, Echo Park and Silverlake .. and I can honestly say race relations are a lot better than what it was 20 years ago ..

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