Week 21 of#TWmemorymondays: today's memory is prompted by a conversation I had with@verakt recently. This is K.T.'s memory that alot of you will probably relate to.
We were swapping microaggression stories that were targeted towards being Asians. And this is one of them:
K.T. was recalling an reoccurring situation where someone plays a guessing game of what kind of Asian she is. Not Chinese. Not Japanese. When they finally stumvle on finding out she is Korean, this comment has been made: "Oh I didn't expect you being Korean! Aren't Korean faces usually more flat? Your's isn't!"
THEN they usually offer some sort of detail like "I love kimchi" or "I've been to Korea before!" Or "I have this one Korean friend..."
I was like YES I know that guessing game too well!! I related to that interaction so much, and there's an equivalent comment on how they are surprised I'm Chinese (I'll get into that next time.)
Ok so why is that interaction offensive and rascist?
It so insulting to reference your caricature idea of different Asian cultures, and then see how we (Asians / Asian Americans) compare to your ideas. Doing that dimishishes those cultures while dehumanizing us as individuals simultaneously. In K.T.'s instance, to then insult Koreans and cover up it with a compliment!! How is that appropriate to say?? AND THEN to offer some sort of random fact about how you think you've interacted with our culture...like that's somehow going to make us feel endeared to that. We don't represent the whole country, and it's not interesting that you know another person of the same ethnicity.
If you are anti racism, learn how to truly honor different ethnicities and cultures. This is how you do it: be interested in the POC genuinely as an individual. If ethnicity comes up naturally, that's great! As that friendship grows, ask intentional and thoughtful questions about the person's background and unique experience. That's one of the ways to be against systematic rascist and white supremacy. Simple but is somehow hard to do and is rarely done.
Note to my Asian American friends (and fellow POC):
the next time the guessing game starts, shut it down immediately. I'm preaching to myself! I've let it happen too many times.
Continue DMing me your experience. And thank you K.T. for sharing!
#TWmemorymondays: A painting inspired by a memory every Monday of 2018. Connecting abstract art to real life. Week 21/53. 'Guessing Game ' / 8x8 in / mixed media on paper