"But I'm Not Racist-" Lemme Stop You There Friend, Here's Why That Thing You Said Is Still Offensive
Unintentional racism is still racism. And though most people can read intention, here are some things you can avoid saying so as to not be misconstrued.
- •"Where are you from?"New Jersey. I will admit that this in and of itself is not bad. It is its escalation, see next bullet points.
- •"No, but where are you ~*really*~ from?"I'm really from New York if you wanna get technical. The connotation of really is what is offensive. That because your perception of American is white, I am somehow less than. I am not truly American because I am not truly from here.
- •"No, but like where is your family from."My family is from Hong Kong and Korea, I have not been to either place. What does this matter to you? I have very little connection to either place familially and personally.
- •"Your English is so good!"English is the only language I can speak..
- •"I don't have white privilege, I'm suffering because [lists reasons]"White privilege is different from societal privilege. I have privileges that are related to my monetary and academically privileged status in society, however being white does grant you *something* in society if only not having to deal with this shit on a near daily basis.
- •"But I'm a POC/cultured, I am [lists all nationalities]"If you look white and have a white last name, you are a beneficiary of white privilege. You can identify however you'd like, though I would object to certain of these things. But looking white and being perceived as white will grant you white privilege regardless of whatever your family is.
- •"Oh your family is from *insert Country name*, I love K-Pop, Chinese food, etc."That's great friend, I'm glad that you do. I'm into some of those things, but please don't assume that all Asian Americans or Asians are. We live in a society where cultures transcend international borders easily. Please continue to appreciate them and the culture, but understand that the Americanization of these things like Chinese food does not necessarily present a culturally accurate picture. And do not escalate to the point of fetishization.
- •"I only date Asian girls." Similarly, "I've always wanted to date an Asian girl."This is creepy. The fetishization of Asian girls is what we call yellow fever and is highly volatile. If my identity as being Asian is the only quality that you need from me, we have a problem.
- •"I want to go to *insert Asian restaurant name*, can you come?"This happened to me a lot growing up. Friends would tell me they wanted to go to an Asian restaurant but didn't want to go without their token Asian friend, I don't speak Korean or Chinese I really can't help you.
- •"But my friend/best friend/brother in law/whatever is a POC"That's great.
- •"No wonder you're good at math/science/computer science."See "But All Asian Stereotypes Are Good So Why-"
- •"Are you related to *insert person with same last name here*?"This happened to me a ton growing up, because there are a lot of people on this earth with my last name. No were probably not related.
- •"[Something about racism against whites people]"Racism itself is built on a system of oppression. Someone may very well be prejudiced against white people but we cannot call it racism because that undermines the suffering which POC have gone through not just in this country but globally. I understand that you feel that people are working against you however you absolutely cannot call that racism.