This is a topic which is very personal to me. It’s something I rarely speak about but it’s a subject I feel it’s time to address. So I apologise if this is a bit too deep for you, feel free to exit the page or read a happier blog post of mine!
Throughout my life, I’ve always been the “odd one out”. I’ve grown up in an area where Orientals (or Asians as we are known else where) are a minority. In Primary School, I was the only Oriental in the whole school, let alone my year. In high school, it didn’t really get any better, and by the time, I reached uni, I didn’t expect anything less, particularly because a) I chose to attend a uni in Surrey, where multi culture is not as strong as inner London but also b) a course which most Oriental people would never in their right mind choose.
So being the only Oriental, I’ve been on the receiving end of many jokes, some of them quite crude, rude and just blatantly offensive. Now, I’m the type of person who is able to take a joke but there are some people, some situations which really take it to the next level.
For example, this girl thinks to become my friend (not going to happen), she should snapchat me a picture of herself in London Chinatown, because “it’s Jess’ home”. I don’t understand why that’s funny or necessary. I don’t go around to the most Asian/Black/White areas and/or streets I know and snapchat people “your home”.
I’ve also received countless jokes about my eyes – “Can you see Jess?” “Open your eyes Jess”. The ‘joke’ that pisses me off the most is either when someone deliberate pulls their eyes or because their eyes look small, they comment “er, I look Chinese/so chinky”. There is nothing wrong with having small eyes and the fact that they have to add the sound “er” is so rude and disgusting. Your eyes may be bigger than mine, but your heart is smaller and colder. I don’t go around after I’ve got a tan and say “er, I’m as dark as you” or get my hair lightened and then say ‘er, I look like a white girl now’.
There have also been times where people would comment on things SOME Chinese people eat. Notice how I say some and not all. These ignorant people love to generalise us. I’ve had so many people say to me “Look Jess, there’s a dog, don’t eat it.” That joke is about hundred years old, it’s not funny. I don’t ever generalise a group of people. I never comment on what anyone eats/wears/does.
I thought when I got to uni, it would get better, but of course it didn’t. I vividly remember this one time in first year where I was in a seminar, and the tables are chairs are laid out in a horse shoe shape. So I sat on one side and literally everyone sat on the opposite side, squashing together as much as possible. To make matters worse, the seminar leader was like “there is plenty of room on this side” whilst pointing to me and they were legit like “No, it’s fine on this side.” I have never been more embarrassed nor sad in my life. I genuinely thought I was going to cry but I managed to hold it in.
Racism still exist today no matter how much you try to ban it, or raise awareness of it. There’s a fine line between a joke and borderline racist. I know what you’re all thinking – why don’t you say anything back?
It’s because it will make me a low and as ignorant as the people who say it to me. My mum brought me up with good manners, to respect everyone and to never be rude. I find racism disgusting and I would never dream of saying anything like what people say to me. If I did say anything back, I would be called a racist and they’ll get everyone they know onto me and have a go at me for being rude. But if they say it to me and I get annoyed, their response is “C’mon Jess, it’s banter, take a joke”.
You hear all over the news and all around the world how people are racist to Black people, to the Islam community, but people forget about the Orientals because we never complain. We take it all in our stride and brush it off.
But this is wrong. We deserve to have a voice and to live in a world free from racism. I want to be in a place where people don’t judge me on what I look like but my personality. I don’t want people to call me chink or make stupid karate/Kung fu noises or ask me for Sweet and Sour Chicken on the tube when they see me.
I don’t mock your accent/your hometown/your culture so please don’t mock mine.
Lots of love,
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