Things That You Say To An Asian That Can Come Across As Racist

I know that a lot of people say what is on their mind without thinking. I am guilty of that as well and it is something that I try to actively work on. From my own personal experience, most sentences said to me that I find racist are not actually said to offend me, but instead they are said out of curiosity or lack of awareness. Here are the sentences said to me personally that come across racist and offensive, as well as why. 

“So where are you actually from?” 

    Much to most people’s surprise, I was born and raised in Michigan, but that piece of information is hard for people to understand because they see me as an Asian, so in their eyes I have to either be “from” China or Japan. This comes across as racist because you are making it clear that the first thing that sticks out in your head is to find out my background and lump me in a stereotype. 

“Do you know who … is or …?” 

There are millions of people of the same race. Assuming that one of us knows another person because we have similar physical characteristics screams racism and ignorance. 

What is your favorite anime show or kpop singer?” 

Not all Asians watch anime. Not all Asians are in love with kpop. Just because a fandom originates from somewhere does not mean that everyone of that ethnicity is a big fan. It is grouping, stereotyping, and fetisizing all in one. 

“Do you get tired of eating rice everyday? Don’t you want to eat American food?” 

There is a horrible stereotype that Asians eat rice an unhealthy amount.  I, along with a lot of other Asian-Americans, grew up in America. We DO eat American food and we ALSO eat Asian food. 

Wow! Your English is very good!” 

    Just because someone does not have the typical Caucasian characteristics does not mean someone did not grow up in America. Assuming anyone from any ethnicity cannot speak English is ignorant and lacks the understanding that other ethnicities grew up in America. 

   

    There are more sentences and more ignorant statements that have been said to other ethnicities. The sentences above me are my own personal experiences. It is understandable to be curious and seek to be more informed, but going in with stereotypes and an image already formed about an ethnicity will just offend someone and form barriers between you and that person.