One of the things I’ve noticed in my years at Syracuse University thus far is that more and more students of Asian descent have been coming to our school. It’s interesting because I’ve heard that just six or seven years ago, Asians were a bit of a rarity at SU. Since our campus now promotes and literally displays diversity all around, I thought that many people would be more aware and open-minded of the multiculturalism on our campus. But I guess I was wrong.
Just this past weekend, I was walking with a couple of my Asian friends on Euclid when a, possibly intoxicated, group of Americans called out to us, automatically labeled us as “Chinese” and mimicked what Chinese people supposedly sound like. Note that this has happened MANY times, not just this past weekend. Most of the time, we just let it go because they’re an ignorant mess. But I thought it’s about time I stand up for myself and my other Asian friends on this campus and address these sorts of situations.
First of all, every Asian person that you see is not going to be Chinese. I get that sometimes (or I guess I should say almost all the time) it’s hard to tell between Asians. I mean, even a lot of Asians ourselves can’t distinguish if a person’s Chinese or Korean sometimes. But the point is, don’t just assume right away and call them out as Chinese. Furthermore, don’t mimic them.
If you’re not of Chinese descent, it’s doubtful that you even know anything about the Chinese culture whatsoever. Why is it that we still live in a world where different Asians don’t seem to exist and we’re all just the same? Is it necessary to blurt out something negative every time an Asian passes by? If we see Americans in our home country, we don’t do that.
Most Americans don’t even speak our language, yet we still don’t talk shit. It’s bad enough that you’re just making yourself look very dumb and ignorant when calling out racist names and sounds. It’s even worse that you are representing America in an unknowledgeable and unworldly way.
All it takes is a friendly “Hello” and a very short and simple question: “What ethnicity are you?” Isn’t that the American manner anyway?