American racism vs Asian racism

American racism vs Asian racism

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It’s been a few days since the start of a new semester here at Lincoln, and as I start seeing the familiar faces, I was pleased to bump into some of the students who went abroad to Asia this past summer.

One student went to Japan, and I believe 4 or so went to China. And while speaking with one girl, who is a school leader, meaning, she is in all the high student positions my grades say I’m not qualified to do lol, she began talking about how great China was and how she wanted to go back.


Music to my ears of course, but I wanted to know why, and after the end of a small chat session before realizing I was late for the next class, she talked about her determination to go get her MBA from China, because they weren’t half as racist as she thought “A few racist moments, but they weren’t in your face blatant racism.”

So, like I promised, I would do an article, based only on my (maybe wrong, maybe right) observations on the racist trends, especially with some of the racist stuff that happens in America, it’s a constant reminder, my hands are up.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

Also, to see another perspective of racism between America and Korea respectively check out the article, “The Differences between us,” from an amazing blogger powerhouse at westerngirleasternboy.com

Asian Racism-China specific (I haven’t been to Korea or Japan yet)


Aside from the mafia perhaps, I would say most Asians don’t like confrontation. They avoid fights; in fact, they see fights as something that only happens on TV. Of course, that’s denial, because I’ve seen fights in China, but for the sheer quantity of it, most Chinese people don’t fight. But in terms of racism, Chinese people are racist but they don’t know why.

I have had few racist moments in China that I can recall but, only on one hand. One was in Chongming Island, Shanghai, which reminds me of my school, since it’s pure country with little civilization. While there, someone said to me, while my white roommate was riding bikes with me, “look a black person,” to which I responded, “look a Chinese person” and the response was “omg, your Chinese is so good” and they bought us corn, as if I passed some kind of test, it was good corn at least.

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Another time I experienced racism was taking pictures with some random Chinese family in Suzhou. This was during my first time in China, when I was a tourist, FOP (Fresh off the plane) and I welcomed the attention to my foreigner-status. My Chinese was not so good at that time, so my friend told me; the mother said she wanted her children to have some family photos with a black person. (?????) I didn’t know it was so memorable, but I agreed it was only a few pictures, and my skeletons in the closest aren’t worthy enough to be good blackmail, so it was fine.

The last time I was reminded that racism exists here, was when I was walking near this high nose, fancy Shanghai club called “Bar Rouge.”

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I met these Japanese girls two days prior and so with some of my friends, we all went out, and while me and the one I met were walking the bund, I heard a Chinese guy mumble under his breath, something that sounded like “foreigners always stealing Chinese girls.” It was something like that because he mumbled it, but I said she’s not even Chinese, and he nodded his head and sped up his walk.

Outside of my experiences I have seen outright racism whether it is taxi refusals, or restaurants refusing foreigners. Or the constant taking advantage of foreigners by hiking up prices for everything and raising a fuss when we refuse to pay it. Then it even goes as high as police refusing to act in a situation where a foreigner is involved with something, but to be fair, none of this racism ever felt dangerous.

Taxi refusals will make you want to curse at them, maybe get a plate number and report them, since Shanghai recently made it illegal for taxis to refuse foreigners like that, or getting refused from hole in the wall places, will probably save you a trip to the hospital for some misadventures. Even with police, or crimes in general, most people are wayyy to afraid of the consequences of getting involved in anything illegal or dangerous with an expat, so even though its racism, it’s safe to assume, you’re pretty safe there.


Racism in America

This is gonna be like singing to the choir but, racism here, in my opinion, seems to get worse when I really look into it. In fact, sometimes it makes me question whether I wanna live here. For example, the time I worked in a Chinese restaurant, fancy of course, not a takeout joint, I only work with big businesses.

Lol, I’m joking

My father

But, after my second week, my mom and pop, had to listen to me complain about the racism here, as if it was something new. Yes, I had to call my parents, as a man, I believe that some things, I just don’t understand and I need advice. My mother bought me us up in communities and schools where the racism was very minimal. Even though my brother and my younger years were in “the hood” for a lack of better words, we have always been fortunate to not be in areas where you are at a loss for words.

So, after my first week, this family, with their kids, asked me, “what is a black kid, doing working in a Chinese restaurant? It’s weird”….and she said that in front of her kids, which showed me that, her kids will grow up with those same racist thoughts. It’s an utter shame, and while I could have said “Because it’s somewhat of a free country, all I ended up saying was “because I can speak Chinese, and I wanted to.” But that did piss me off, not that it was a horrible thing to say from her part, I can understand her shock maybe, but it was maybe the first time I heard something like that, in my face. Besides, it’s hard to be a respectful person, and to hold back, because I also ran a scenario in my head, where I flipped their table or…



One thing I am starting to think, is that perhaps downplaying racism is just as bad as the racism itself, or maybe even makes it seem like it’s okay. Just as I did in China, and perhaps other times when people were racist and I downplayed it, joked it off, or combatted it with a joke; I tend to kind of point it back at them, but in this instance, while working in a Chinese restaurant, I could not down play that.

A guest had said, “Boy, can I get some water,” and I bought them an empty cup, and told my boss, I’m not serving them; can’t downplay that one right there.

Even this past Thursday, I remember when my school confused classrooms for a course that was switched to a different day; a freshman said he didn’t feel safe at this school. He had said that KKK headquarters is only about 3 miles up the road, even more so, I wondered if that was the same apartment-village complex all us black student cut through to go to Wal-Mart. Is it the same apartment complex which has American Revolution style confederate stars on the buildings? If I didn’t know about Trayvon Martin, I would keep cutting through that community, to get to Wal-Mart, but the 2 minutes extra to go around is not so bad anymore, I like to avoid potential tree adventures.


So if I had to wrap up this overly long post, I would say that racism varies a great deal from Asia to here. In Asia, maybe 80% of racism is based on ignorance and Hollywood, while here, it is based on generational racism, culture, white supremacy, klans, and ignorance as well. But, at least some of the Asian youth, are far more into urban culture, and living life, it’s like my new Korean friend told me yesterday, and maybe he’s so racist, that he cancels himself out lol, but he said “to be racist is hard, and requires a lot of attention and effort, he rather play ping-pong than be racist, it’s more fun.”

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5 replies »

  1. I do agree that Asian racism usually comes from a place of ignorance, it’s not necessarily mean-spirited. At least, racism directed toward black people…

    There are some that say the definition of prejudice is different from ‘racism’ per se, because all-out racism implies a political system that exploits minorities.

    By that definition, America is worse when it comes to the black & white divide. What’s going on in Ferguson, former stop and frisk laws in NYC, etc. Meanwhile in China people are just extremely politically incorrect and say inappropriate things because just don’t know any better.

    However, there is serious racism when it comes to other ethnic groups. There is the constant resentment against the Japanese, (of course, previously Japan were the ones exploiting China) which has turned to violence in recent history. I even saw a club in Shenzhen that said ‘No Japanese allowed’, that is systematic discrimination clearly.

    Moreso, the minorities like Uighurs and Tibetans are having issues keeping their culture intact due to direct government interference. That is the most abject form of racism-as-political-system there is.

    China has a long way to go. They are usually nice and well-meaning to foreigners, at least westerners, and that’s a positive thing that makes it good to live and work here. Could be far worse.

    Oh and but here’s an interesting piece about the African community in Guangzhou…



  2. I think that you may have downplayed some of the racism that exists in East Asia, particularly when it comes to employment and dating for Black men. There have been violent incidents against foreigners, and Black men in particular as well. However, after spending my Summer in China, I have to say that at least in my personal experience, it was far less racist than I expected, and I do plan on returning. I appreciate much of what I have in America, and my American passport/”pseudo-privilege”, but I feel like I’m in a rut here and would rather be in China or Taiwan now.


    • Well, for the sake of keeping the post from being too long, I only put some of my experiences, and I am considering doing a part II. I have other posts which has some of my dating experiences, and since I am a student, I don’t have too much to say about employment. A lot of it is known, and obvious, but until I experience it, or run across someone who would like to share their experience in that area, I wouldn’t write anything that’s wrong. But indeed, racism in Asia is far less than it is here. In Asia it’s more like a “sticks and stones” kind of mentality you need, here it’s…a bit more extreme lol. Thanks for the comment, and I haven’t been to Taiwan either 😦


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