eurocentrism

Honestly, how the fuck can you say that cultural mixing only “mainly happened” when white Christians adapted pagan holidays (therefore anybody who criticizes misuse of the concept of cultural appropriation is really just an asshole who wants to defend hipsters in war bonnets), which is both dead wrong and implies that non-western cultures just kinda sat on their asses and never influenced each other? What the hell kind of eurocentric bullshit are you trying to pass off as #woke?

don’t you just love girls with big thighs? curvy girls with wide hips, large feet, and round bellies? girls who have cellulite, stretch marks and folds? girls with full lips, crooked teeth, and braces? girls who don’t shave? girls with flat noses, small eyes, oily hair, and dry skin? girls who can’t find makeup to match their skin tone because it’s dark? girls who are thick in all the “wrong” places? girls who are ugly according to eurocentric beauty standards?? 

I know I sure do. 

K so I’m not done.

This is the year 2017 and I’m still having to yell about how ridiculous Maya extinction myths are and tell people we are ‘Maya’ not ‘Mayan’. I’m not saying shame shame if anyone reads this and didn’t know. I’m so angry concerning how slowly these issues are being picked up by educational institutions, at how often I have to bring these things up to higher education professors.

We are a massive massive group of peoples. One of the largest Indigenous groups in the Americas. Wikipedia cites 7 million or so of us total but honestly that’s way off because that’s about how many Maya folks there are in Guatemala alone.

We’re not dead. The Maya did not ‘mysteriously disappear’. We did not ‘fall’. We did not fade into obscurity. We’ve led revolts and rebellions against colonial powers for hundreds of years. We’ve had a big hand in shaping legislative definitions and protections for Indigenous Peoples in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

We haven’t lost our cultures. We’re constantly threatened and experience a lot of violence and have our resources stolen but we are still very much alive and our cultures have persisted.

And don’t even try me with the whole “Oh well we mean your CIVILIZATION disappeared, not you.” The structure of our societies and layout of our network changed and decentralized in many areas. That didn’t make us turn invisible. That didn’t make us not still be large in numbers with a relationship with our lands and lose influence in the areas we live. We still held power in large cities way after what people like to cite as “the fall of the Maya Civilization” (around 600-900 A.D. when we still had cities that we held power of until nearly 1700 when the last was “conquered” by Spain.)

Which brings me to the next issue. Being “conquered” or having a colonial government installed does not erase Indigenous societies or civilizations. That’s an extremely eurocentric way of thinking. We didn’t suddenly turn into Spaniards. We still had massive amounts of towns and villages with leaders. We still had our cultures, our trade, our networks, our influence, while Spain focused on putting up flags in our cities.

So yeah. All your history books have you all convinced that an extremely large group of people, with a greater population than more than half of the countries in Europe, all died out 1100 years ago.

Now try to imagine what kind of shit Indigenous Peoples with much less numbers and much lower access to resources go through.

I think it’s funny how y’all don’t even try to hide your ugly ass favoritism anymore. All of y’all rushed to make sure Vernon felt valid as a white-passing POC and praised the hell out of his looks whenever he mentioned getting bullied for being white mama mixed. Y’all marketed Somi on Produce 101 better than the show did and got her the #1 spot. She isn’t white-passing but she has Eurocentric features thanks to her white dad and her looks won her the show.

But nobody fought like that for Lee Michelle when she was on Kpop Star. Her dark skin, thick hair, and Afrocentric features were a turn-off for y’all so not only were judges n contestants rude/awkward with her but she was ignored as an artist up until she switched to performing hip-hop recently. And even now, y’all praise those crusty anti-black rappers over her.

Samuel is a Korean Latino with brown skin, a wide nose, and naturally non-straight hair. Y’all have literally ignored this child from the start of Produce 101. The only posts made in support of him were by other POC (mostly Black and/or Latinx). People on the show said he could never be a visual, making him upset for no reason, and nobody jumped to his defense like y’all did for Vernon and Somi. He mentioned himself that he felt viewers weren’t voting bcuz he isn’t fully Korean, which shows that he sees at least some of the ugly things said about him by colorist, xenophobic, anti-latinx ppl.

All of you white allies love making posts about colorism, appropriation, racism, and all that (while basically just repeating POC) but when you could have put your numbers to use and actually helped someone who is negatively impacted by all those things, y’all were nowhere to be found and some of you actively made jokes about Samuel thinking nobody would care. So fuck all of you.

cole sprouse/jughead is so ugly how can yall sit here and lie on this damn website EVERYDAY? someone called him a beautiful hobo and i felt guilt from their own damn lie! it is a LIE! he’s UGLY! open your eyes you eurocentric beauty standard worshipping sheeple!

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when will people realize that not every lesbian is a white blonde girl with super long hair who has a “nice” body with tattoos and resides in california

black lesbians exist (incl. dark skins)
brown lesbians exist
east asian lesbians exist
indigenous lesbians exist
islander lesbians exist
latinx lesbians exist
jewish lesbians exist
muslim lesbians exist
fat lesbians exist
nb lesbians exist
lesbians who aren’t able bodied exist
trans lesbians exist
mentally ill lesbians exist
lesbians who don’t fit eurocentric beauty standards exist

and we’re not just here to be a token post on your blog. we exist and we’re real and we’re just as valid.

Mixed Black African Girl (Cameroonian/French)

I’m a mixed black african girl who grew up and lived most of her life in Cameroon, in Central Africa. My dad is half-white (french) and half-black (cameroonian), and my mom is 100% cameroonian. There’s little to no black african characters in popular fiction, which has always bothered me, and it would be so nice to read about someone like me for once.

  • Culture and food

Cameroon is a country created during colonization, with borders defined by europeans. Because of that, Cameroon is actually made of 200 ethnic groups, each of them having their own language and culture. So the culture and daily habits vary a lot depending on which region of Cameroon you are in. In the big cities, though, everyone is mingled no matter where they’re from. However, so many different ethnic groups cohabiting together often causes tension. There are also a lot of stereotypes about every ethnic group.

I grew up in the central and coastal areas of the country, and I’m Bassa. The Bassa are one of the main ethnic groups in Cameroon. If your parents are from two different ethnic groups, it is decided that you officially belong to your father’s ethnic group. My mother is Bakoko but my father is Bassa, so I’m the latter. When I meet another Cameroonian, two of the first questions we usually ask each other are : What are you (meaning, what’s your ethnic group) ? and Where is you village ?

Villages are very important in the Cameroonian culture. Your village is where your father’s ancestors were born. Even if you’re not born there, you usually have grandparents or great-uncles or family friends living there, and if you have enough money to do so you must regularly visit your village. And usually, when people earn enough money, they send money to their village so that people living there can have a better life, build more houses and schools etc.

Cameroonian food is very diverse, and varies depending on the region. The national dish is Ndolé, a dish made with ndolé leaves, stewed nuts, and meat (fish, beef or shrimps). Other common foods are bobolo and miondo (food made out of fermented manioc), soya (spicy grilled meat on skewers), and plantain. My dad is half-french though, so at home we eat almost as much french food as cameroonian food (crème brûlée, shepherd’s pie, beef bourguignon, A LOT of bread and cheese).

  • Language

There are hundreds of different languages, but the official languages are French and English. Cameroon was colonized by France and England so Northern Cameroon mainly speaks english and central/southern Cameroon mainly speaks french. Most people also speak their ethnic group’s language. I don’t know how to speak Bassa, though, because neither do my parents. When me and my siblings were kids, our dad asked our baby-sitter to teach us, but she could only do so much and I only remember a few words.

  • Beauty Standards

Like most countries, there is a lot of colorism in Cameroon based on European beauty standards. When you’re a woman, the lighter you are, the prettier and more desirable you are considered. Dark skinned women are often mocked and considered not as pretty. A lot of people, mainly women but also men, use dangerous products to lighten their skin. Internalized racism and white beauty standards are very insidious, and a lot of people want to look like white people, including me when I was younger. As a kid I remember wishing i was a pretty blonde-haired blue-eyed white girl like the heroines of the books i was reading. Growing up I stopped wishing that, but I relaxed and straightened my hair a lot, wanting to have long straight hair without realizing that it was still an attempt to look like the ideal version of a white girl. I’m sure that if I had more black female characters to relate to when I was growing up, I wouldn’t have spend so many years hating myself without even realizing I was doing it.

Also, Cameroonians usually consider thick, curvy women to be the ideal beauty standard. But being thin is still an ideal broadcast by the media (especially that american and european media are heavily broadcast and consumed in Cameroon) so most women still diet a lot and go to the gym to lose weight.

  • Clothing

Women wear a lot of skirts and dresses, be it casual or for work. Most cameroonian schools have uniforms and mandatory hairstyles (either cornrows or short shaved hair).

Elderly people often wear more traditional clothes and outfits. The most prominent traditional item of clothing is the Kaba. The Kaba is a long dress made of wax fabric and other materials and is owned by pretty much every woman. The dress looks different depending on the situation : the Kaba you wear when you stay at home is usually very long and very loose, the Kaba you wear during official/formal events is more tight-fitting and stylized, etc.

  • Dating and Relationships

I’ve never dated anyone, but when I was in high school none of my friends ever told their parents they were seeing someone. Having your parents know about and meet the person you’re dating after only a few weeks or months is something that just doesn’t happen (unless someone gets pregnant). It’s when things get serious that you introduce them to your family. Also, a lot of parents would prefer their children to marry someone from the same ethnic group.

Homosexuality is still illegal there, and you can go to jail for being gay.

  • Home/Family life

My parents are still happily married, and I have 3 siblings. My parents are both close to their siblings, and I’m close to mine. Me and my siblings grew up with our cousins, we were always at each other’s houses. I pretty much consider most of my cousins as extra siblings. We have a very big extended family and every day I discover new distant cousins, aunts, great-uncles etc. My dad being half-french, when I was growing up we sometimes went to France during summer to visit his relatives living there.

In Cameroon, most people who have enough money to do so send their children to study abroad once they’ve graduated high school. I’m currently living in France for my studies, and most of my high school friends are also going to college in France, England, Canada, Brussels, South Africa etc.

  • Identity issues

Despite being only ¼ white, I’m very light-skinned. My siblings being much darker skinned, when I was a kid I thought I was adopted (i’m not, it’s just genetics). Cameroon being a black country, when someone is visibly mixed and light-skinned as i am, most people just label them “white”. A lot of people would refer to me as “the white” and it always really hurt me. My family wouldn’t understand why i was so angry and hurt, they’d say “they don’t mean anything by it, it’s just that you’re light” but the fact is it made me feel like i don’t belong. I’m cameroonian, i’ve lived in Cameroon almost my entire life, i’m black, and still some people see me as “other”, they see me as white. And so for a long time, I didn’t dare to call myself black, I’d say “I’m biracial” or “I’m mixed” instead because I somehow felt like a fraud. But I’m black and not white-passing at all, and I still experience racism abroad (but I’m aware I have a lot more privilege than dark skinned people).

  • Daily struggles

So I’m currently living in France. On one hand, sometimes white people are racist toward me, or just totally obnoxious and ignorant, trying to touch my natural hair and thinking that people in Cameroon don’t have computers or whatever. On the other hand, when I randomly meet other cameroonians and we start talking, they always assume that because i’m mixed i’ve lived my entire life in France and i don’t know anything about Cameroon. And there’s nothing wrong with being a child of immigrants and not knowing the country your parents or grandparents came from, but i know that if i wasn’t visibly mixed they wouldn’t question the fact that i know Cameroon and lived there my entire life.

  • Misconceptions

Because of how the media depict African countries, a lot of people think that everyone in Africa is extremely poor and starving, that we don’t have electricity and internet and that everyone lives in huts. Which is so false. We have rich people and poor people, we have huge modern cities and regular cities and small villages with huts, almost everyone has access to a tv and internet, etc.

  • Things I’d like to see less of

Cameroon and other african countries being depicted as poor unfortunate countries where everyone is starving and illiterate and waiting for the generous white people to save us. What we need is for people to see us as the humans we are, and to allow us to grow in peace.

  • Things I’d like to see more of

Black african characters being written as the complex human beings we are. Shy black african characters. Nerdy and hella smart black african characters. Mixed black african characters who struggle with their identity. LGBTQ black african characters.

  • Tropes/Stereotypes I’m tired of seeing.

The “savage”, “uncivilized” african. African characters who are aggressive, dumb and shout all the time. The poor africans in need of saving by white people.

Read more POC Profiles here or submit your own.

I think one of the things that white feminism / terf feminism misses completely about WOC is that there is a difference between being sexualized and being found attractive and how that affects women of color as a result.

White women in the media are both sexualized and viewed as ideal and conventionally attractive, white women tend to take a position that pushes back on all forms of the male gaze which includes both sexualization, and being viewed as conventionally attractive.

Which is fine because of their dominant position as the apple of men’s eye they’re never going to doubt themselves as the most attractive species (even when it’s unwanted and generally unfavorable, and comes with a strict set of rules and beauty standards, because even if a white girl feels ugly, internal racism is still going to make her value herself higher than brown girls) but generally when white women reject beauty standards, they have enough support that it doesn’t adversely affect their mental well-being.

Now onto WOC. The system is completely different, woc are considered play things and sexual objects in a way that is unparalleled by their white counterparts. White women don’t /want/ to feel beautiful woc never /got/ to. And that matters, in a world where beauty, especially for women, determines worth, when women of color were never considered beautiful in the first place, their self worth is nonexistent.

So when woc say things like “I want to feel beautiful” a lot of white women mistake that for “I want to look good for men” which can be true if you’re white (even though everyone should be allowed to feel attractive in whatever way they want)

But with women of color the meaning shifts to more like “I want to feel like I have value, I want to feel loved and respected and to be attractive. Eurocentric beauty standards have never fit me, and with those being all the media I ever consumed, they’ve cemented themselves in my brain, I deserve to be desirable in a non inherently sexual way.”

And white women literally can’t empathize with this, which is okay! But there has to be an understanding that feminism isn’t one size fits all in which white women are the proxy.

anonymous asked:

"What is a woman?" "A woman is everyone who identifies as woman." "But what *is* a woman?" "Someone who identifies as a woman!" "What do they identify as?" "As woman, of course!" "But what is a woman?" "Anyone who identifies as woman." Wich one of us is taking crazy pills?

Do you know why we identify a woman simply as someone who identifies themselves as a woman? Because the term “woman” is a loose and abstract concept. “Woman” is a gender. Gender is a social construct. A woman has no strict definition because it is just a concept.
That being said, it’s an important concept, so don’t even start with that “so you admit gender is a social construct” bullshit.

Biological sex is a social construct [as well]. It’s determined by one glance at someone’s genitalia - nothing more. Then people add “secondary sex characteristics” behind it to strengthen this belief.

Secondary sex characteristics are complete bullshit but like I said, keeping this simple. Biological sex is the idea that if you have a penis you are a man and if you have a vagina you’re a woman.

This doesn’t mean “DNA is a social construct,” so don’t start with that either. People can have a variety of different chromosome constructions outside of XX or XY, (and having XY chromosomes don’t necessarily mean you have a penis either) so here are a few links for info on intersex people:

The definition of “”female””

Intersex people are not as rare as you think they are ( so you can’t shut us down by whining about how they’re a “teensy minority”)

What is intersex?

Your Bio class was bullshit (because it’s simplified and centered mainly around European/western culture and ignores different culture’s beliefs)

You’re welcome, go away now.

EDIT: it’s possible that you aren’t a terf, and if that’s the case, I’m sorry for my misinterpretation of this ask!

-Mod Sunny

Mary, I ask that you be aware of how this serves the destructive forces of racism and separation between women - the assumption that the herstory and myth of white women is the legitimate and sole herstory and myth of all women to call upon for power and background, and that nonwhite women and our herstories are noteworthy only as decorations, or examples of female victimization. I ask that you be aware of the effect that this dismissal has upon the community of Black women and other women of Color, and how it devalues your own words. This dismissal does not essentially differ from the specialized devaluations that make Black women prey, for instance, to the murders even now happening in your own city. When patriarchy dismisses us, it encourages our murders. When radical lesbian feminist theory dismisses us, it encourages its own demise. This dismissal stands as a real block to communication between us. This block makes it far easier to turn away from you completely than to attempt to understand the thinking behind your choices. Should the next step be war between us, or separation? Assimilation within a solely western european herstory is not acceptable.
—  Audre Lorde, “Open Letter to Mary Daly,” in Sister Outsider 

Just a reminder that describing the languages, cultures, religions, and countries that nonwestern nonwhite people speak, practice, and inhabit “languages of color”, “countries of color”, “cultures of color”, “religions of culture”, etc, is actually very eurocentric and ethnocentric. I’ve seen other people of color do this as well, typically ones that live and have grown up with western racial politics, and often people are unaware that what they’re saying would actually baffle nonwhite people in nonwestern countries. 

I usually dislike talking about this since white people - typically white europeans - take this as an opportunity to wax lyrical about how racial discrimination doesn’t “exist” in some non-US western country (as if differences in racial/ethnic categorization somehow shield people of color from being racialized and brutalized by racial/ethnic discrimination). But I’ve seen this trend time and time again when people speak specifically about languages, cultures, peoples, and religions that originate from nonwestern/noneuropean countries. 

If you talk to a nonwhite person in Venezuela or Cambodia or Kenya and you call them a “person of color” or say that they speak a “language of color” or that they practice a “religion of color”, they’ll either laugh at you, look at you oddly, or immediately discern that you’re operating on a western sociopolitical framework. 

Racism and white supremacy are global phenomenon because of colonialism and slavery, and so are eurocentrism and western exceptionalism. Too often, we reframe aspects of nonwestern cultures using western terminology. This speaks to western hegemony itself, including when it’s perpetrated by people of color. 

“People of color” / “person of color” is a western term meant to describe how racialized groups are impacted by racism and ethnic discrimination in the countries that originated and continue to perpetrate white supremacist ideology. We can and should certainly analyze how white supremacy manifests in nonwestern countries (through neoliberalism, imperialism, and other facets of culture such as colorism). But you have to be careful about your terminology. 

Use terms like “ethnic language/religion/culture” etc. “Nonwhite” language doesn’t make sense as a term either because languages can be very specific to a specific group of people or they can be used by multiple people as a result of hegemony and colonialism. English, French, and Spanish are languages spoken by nonwhite people in multiple post-colonial countries as a result of British, French, and Spanish colonialism. So instead of saying that Arabic or Hindi are “languages of color”, simply make the point that you want to make by being as specific as possible. For instance, if you want to discuss how white people have villainized ethnic cultures and people by getting scared if they hear an Arab person speaking Arabic, you can refer specifically to Arabic itself instead of calling it a”language of color”. Actual Arabs don’t think of their language as a “language of color” - they merely conceive of it as “Arabic”. Or when you want to talk about how white people make fun of Latinx people’s accents, keep in mind that they are making fun of Latinx people themselves - they could be speaking English or Spanish or some other language and white people would still make fun of them because of racism & xenophobia. 

Let’s be more respectful of nonwestern people. This goes for all westerners, including people of color who live and have grown up in the west. Their lives and cultures are not shaped around our cultural norms and we have to stop shaping our language as if they are molded around eurocentrism. 

Someone asked a good question yesterday that got me thinking: why are some mythologies more “mainstream” than others? Where I’m from, everyone knows at least a couple things about the Egyptian, Norse, and Greek (and sometimes Roman) pantheons, but no one’s ever discussed those of East Asia, or South America, for example. 

My theory: Eurocentrism and colonialism.

Egypt, Greece, and Rome all have some relevant proximity to the history of Christianity. Egypt features prominently in the Exodus, and Greece and Rome were important cultural shapers in the time of Jesus and Paul. When Christianity spread and gained the force of empire through Constantine and others and spread up through Europe, it dominated nearly all the local traditions in its wake. This domination continued through the European colonization of the Americas, Africa, India, and others – history is written by the colonizers, so it makes sense that the prominent revival pantheons among European-descended pagans aren’t those of the conquered people but those of their own people (Norse) and those that are “necessary” to provide historical weight to Christianity.

Completely conjecture, but this was interesting to think about today.

Female Korean-American Teenager

Hi, I’m Caroline, and as the title states, I’m a female Korean-American teen currently living in a town that’s 80% white. The majority of East Asians living here are Japanese, and over the years, there have been a few sprinklings of new Korean or Chinese families moving in. For the most part, however, my family was the only Korean family in town when we first came here. This heavily impacted my childhood - made me ashamed of my culture and ethnicity - and of course, the racism that I constantly faced from classmates, parents, teachers, and sometimes even friends, was exhausting. 

It means so much to me to see Korean-American characters - or any person of color, really - be represented in today’s books, TV shows, movies, etc. For once, I’d like to see fully-fleshed out, complex characters who are people of color - not just the 2D stereotypes that too many forms of media put them out to be. So if a few more writers out there become less ignorant due to this post, I’ll be forever grateful. 

So. Let’s do this thing!

Beauty Standards 

Most East Asians represented in today’s media have extremely straight, practically black hair. And while it’s true that straight, black hair is the most common trait regarding hair amongst Koreans, there are (*gasp*) a few of us with curly hair, too. (Moi.) To the Koreans I knew, anyways, my hair was always an object of envy. I’d frequently be asked if I got the perm, and whenever I said I had naturally curly hair, there’d be a lot of “oh, how lucky"s going around. That made me feel pretty special, only it’d last for a short while before the reality of living in a mostly-white neighborhood kicked in, where my curly hair was usually made fun of. (Usually saying that Asians don’t have curly hair. Whatever. On the whole scale of racist comments I’ve been sent, the one about my hair is the least bothersome. When I was a kid, it bothered me a lot, though, and I think to some extent, it still bothers me at least a teeny bit - I actually started to straighten my hair when I went into eighth grade. Yup, give me the Hypocrite of the Year Award. I still need some adjustments.) 

Amongst Koreans, there’s also a lot of emphasis on having a small face, long and skinny legs, a fairly short torso…essentially, Koreans thrive for the typical European figure. Koreans, however, have pretty round faces, short and stalky legs, and long torsos for the most part. (With the exception of a few - and of course, the option for plastic surgery is always out there. I shit you not, almost every Korean woman I know have at least either (a) known someone who went through plastic surgery or (b) have been in plastic surgery myself. It’s a big deal in South Korea. My grandma had surgery done to her eyes twice, my mom’s friend had surgery done to her nose and her eyes, and my aunt’s brother is actually a plastic surgeon who does operations a number of times a day.) 

Clothing 

Growing up, I wore the typical American clothing - except for on special occasions, like my first birthday or New Year’s. On those days, I’d wear a hanbok, which is a traditional Korean gown with lots of colors and embroidery. The men would wear traditional clothing as well, and it’s customary for Koreans to wear these especially on New Year’s. Now, since my brothers and I have outgrown our hanboks, we just stick to American clothes on New Year’s. 

Daily Struggles 

Though I tell all my white friends and classmates that my first language is English, my first language was actually Korean. I don’t say that my first language is Korean anymore because firstly, I don’t want people to think of me as someone who only speaks Korean and secondly, I don’t know how to speak Korean anymore. It’s sad, really, because I can understand Korean much better than my siblings and my cousins, and there are moments when I can almost remember a phrase, but as of now, speaking the language is an extreme difficulty and embarrassment to me, especially when I’m surrounded by elders. (And usually, the only things I can say to them are ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’.) It’s frustrating to speak to older Koreans and know exactly what they’re saying but only being able to respond in English. 

That being said, growing up, I often had to translate - more specifically, re-translate - for my mother, who didn’t know English at all when I was a child. She used to feel incredibly lonely for it, and often times, she’d feel frustrated and cry about how all of the white mothers acted like she was an idiot for not knowing English. As an extreme social butterfly, this really hurt my mother, and it hurt her even more when her own children were starting to distance themselves because of the language barrier. I remember having to sit with my mother on the couch and help her learn English - and it was, to be honest, one of the saddest experiences I’ve ever had to go through. She’d grow frustrated with herself, and she’d hate every bit of it, I could tell, but she kept going because she wanted to be there for her kids. (She eventually got her American citizenship, too, but by doing so, she had to give up her Korean citizenship. Most East Asian countries don’t allow dual citizenships.) And though I don’t speak Korean anymore, I actually continue to re-translate things for my mother - in other words, I just have to simplify the English a little bit to get her to understand what someone else is saying. (This method works for anyone else who is struggling with English. Simplify the words, that’s all - but don’t treat the person with disrespect.) 

And, of course, there’s the very exhausting series of questions that come with being Korean. The most annoying and frustrating are (but not limited to) - 

  • “Oh, so are you South Korean or North Korean?” (Bruh. If I was North Korean, there’s a VERY slim chance I’d be in America right now. I’d still be stuck in North Korea, wouldn’t I?) 
  • “But what’s your nationality?” (American.) “No, I mean your REAL nationality.“ 
  • “What are you? Japanese? Chinese? Vietnamese?” (For some reason, NO ONE GUESSES KOREAN.) 
  • “Wow, your English is great!” (???) 
  • “English is your best subject? Wait, then what about math?” (…) 
  • “I bet you’re super smart!” (…I study hard, yeah, but that has nothing to do with the fact that I’m Korean.) 
  • “Oh, my God, Koreans are SO hot.” (Ew. Times a thousand.) 

Dating and Relationships 

My parents are pretty strict about my nonexistent love life. If my dad had it his way, I wouldn’t be allowed to date until I’m out of college. But for real talk, my mom’s actually the one who’s much pickier on who I date. She told me since I was a kid that it’d be best for me to date (and marry) another Korean-American. She means this out of the goodness of her heart - mostly that she wants me to marry someone who I can connect with culturally. (“Regular Koreans will be too grounded into Korea. You need someone with similar experiences.”) My dad just doesn’t want me to date anyone Japanese - and while I find this wrong, it’s mostly due to the bad blood between Korea and Japan. (World War II, the Korean War, comfort women, etc.) 

And because of this prejudice against Japanese people, my dad always found it difficult to accept that I had a few Japanese friends. He often wanted me to stray away from other Eastern-Asians in general, American or not. (Unless, of course, it was for dating/marrying.) This was because he didn’t want me to become a part of “THAT Asian group”, which, let me just say, is pretty sad, because when there’s a group of white kids hanging around, no one finds it strange. When there’s a big group of x friends of x race, it’s suddenly SUCH an odd sight. 

Food 

This is where I try to restrain myself for real. 

The most common foods you’ll find at a Korean dinner table are rice, kimchi (which is basically spicy pickled cabbage - lots of Koreans eat it, but I personally never did. And I still don’t. Oops), kim (pronounced keem - basically roasted and dried, slightly salted seaweed strips. Which are really good), along with a number of side-dishes and maybe one big, main dish. (Mostly meat.) 

Favorite Korean dishes include

  • seolleongtang, a lightly salted broth with oxtail meat, or sometimes some other kind of meat. There’s usually a sprinkling of scallions, and rice or noodles can be served inside. 
  • kalbi, the famous Korean BBQ. Just imagine meat being prepared directly in front of you served with veggies. Delicious, but be warned - your burps will stink - and I mean stink - afterwards. Its variant, kalbi jim, are slow-cooked short ribs served often with Korean-style steamed potatoes and carrots. Just as good. 
  • tangsuyuk, sweet and sour (mostly sweet, I think, anyways,) pork. The pork is covered with a batter that is fried and then typically dunked in sweet sauce. Some people like to have the sauce on the side so they can dip it in - and still save the crunch. It’s a personal preference. 
  • buchimgae, otherwise known as Kimchi Pancakes. Korean pancakes are not your typical breakfast pancakes. They’re made in a pan, like regular breakfast pancakes, but inside, there’s an assortment of seafood, veggies, and in this version, kimchi. (There are spicy and non-spicy versions). 
  • tteokbokki, spicy rice cakes. Very chewy and again, pretty spicy. 

Favorite Korean sweets/desserts/snacks include 

  • tteok, sweet rice cakes. There are many different kinds of rice cake, usually with flavors of classical red bean or green tea. The favorite of many children is the classical rainbow tteok, where the rice cakes are dyed with strips of green, pink, and yellow. The flavor of plain tteok is actually not too sweet, but it’s still a very classic, very traditional and cultural Korean dessert that cannot be skipped over. 
  • yakbap, a very special type of sweet rice cake all on its own. This is a favorite amongst many, and the rice is prepared in a way that it’s sticky and brown. Pine nuts, chestnuts, and jujubes as well as raisins are mixed in. 
  • patbingsu, a frozen dessert. Think of an evolved form of shave ice with toppings like red bean paste, nuts, and fruit. Extremely popular in South Korea, not to mention one of its most iconic desserts. 
  • saeoosnek, shrimp-flavored crackers. Again, a very popular snack that’s exactly what it sounds like. Crackers. With. Shrimp. Flavoring. 
  • choco pie, a popular chocolate-marshmallow cake that looks similar to America’s moon pie. Extremely popular amongst children. 

Holidays 

In my family, we never celebrated the direct Korean celebrations, but we always celebrated the Korean New Year the traditional way. Again, usually dressed in hanbok, children (and parents) would bow down to the oldest members of the family and pay their respects with a traditional phrase. They also have to perform a special bow three times while saying this phrase. (There are two different bows - one for men, one for women.) Once doing so, the elder usually gives a blessing to the family members and presents them with an envelope of money, very similar to the traditional Chinese red envelope they receive on their New Year’s celebration. 

Another traditional Korean celebration my family - and many other Korean families, I’m sure - celebrate is the 100 Days birthday. 

A brief history lesson - back when Korea was suffering due to the economy failing, it was a rare occurrence to ever see a child live past one hundred days. Once one hundred days had passed, then the family would rejoice and throw a large celebration, inviting friends, extended family members. There’d be lots of food and laughter and different rituals all dedicated to the child. Now, of course, Korea’s economic situation is not the same as it was back then, but we still hold these celebrations for tradition and cultural reasons. 

One of the most important rituals in the 100 Days birthday is sitting the baby down in front of a variety of items - usually a coin, a pen, a length of twine, a book, food, and sometimes other variants of those items. If the child picks up a coin, then it is to be predicted that this child will live a wealthy life. If the child picks up a pen or a book, then it is to be predicted that this child will grow to become a scholar. If the child picks up food, then it is to be predicted that this child will never go hungry. If the child picks up the length of twine (or sometimes string or a spool of thread), then it is to be predicted that this child will live a long life. Some families believe in this, others don’t, but either way, this ritual is performed because hey, tradition! (And besides, it makes for pretty cute pictures.) 

Home/Family Life 

Korean families and Korean home-life, I feel, will always have a different atmosphere from white families. Most Korean parents are very reserved when it comes to public displays of affection for their children, though like all families, this can vary. Independence and learning how to grow an outer shell is very important to the Korean lifestyle. This doesn’t mean that Korean parents don’t love their children - of course they do, and again, all Korean families work differently. However, this pattern and discipline is a common thing to find in most Korean families. 

There’s a certain emphasis on studying - and no, not all Korean parents are super strict about grades and threaten to beat their children if they get a B on a report card. (At least, my parents didn’t.) However, education is still considered a top priority. Studying is encouraged, and most Korean parents want to see their children secure a good job (ie doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc). Most of the time, Korean parents just want to see their children live a secured life. That’s it. At least, with my parents, everything they ever taught me or told me had something to do with me learning to survive when I become older. I used to resent this when I was a kid, but now that I’ve grown more mature, I actually find myself appreciating everything my parents have ever taught me. 

Another note - when a Korean woman marries, she is cut off from her birth family and is considered to only be a part of her husband’s family. This limits her visits to her own birth family - and though this was a common thing before, I believe many Korean families don’t operate the same way anymore. (Some traditions last longer than others.) 

Elders are respected. Period. Even if s/he’s getting on your nerves, you ALWAYS RESPECT THE ELDERS. 

Shoes are taken off before entering a house. No exceptions to this rule. If you wanna impress your Korean friend, take off your damn shoes. This will be appreciated. 

Things I’d like to see less of. 

  • people thinking that “all Koreans get hot when they’re older”. (FETISHIZATION IS A BIG NO-NO.)
  • Koreans being seen as submissive and docile creatures. (Note how I said creatures and not humans. Because that’s how some people treat Koreans and other East Asians. Like we’re creatures, rather than actual human beings.) 
  • Koreans being seen as kickass ninjas. (It’s either docile creatures or kickass ninjas. There’s never a line between the two, and it’s exhausting.) 
  • “Koreans are so romantic!” (Sorry, that’s the K-drama binge talking. If anything, Koreans are pretty reserved when it comes to PDA and again, affection in general. Of course, I can’t speak for all Koreans, but at least with my family, PDA was always kept to a minimum. Usually a quick peck on the lips, kisses on the cheek, hand-holding, etc. Never an actual full kiss in public. Forget about make-out sessions.) 
  • Stone-cold Koreans. (Again, there’s either the romantic Korean or the Terminator Korean. Never an in-between. Yes, keep in mind that due to cultural reasons, Koreans don’t typically display affection. THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE DON’T DISPLAY EMOTIONS.) 
  • Straight-A Koreans. Typically good at math and science. (While yes, many East Asian countries and families put emphasis on these subjects, not all Koreans happen to be extreme nerds who cry at a B on a report card. Example A - I happen to stink at math. And I know many other Asian-Americans who also stink at math. So.) 
  • Assuming Korean parents are abusive. (While there are many abusive Korean parents out there, people need to stop assuming that right off the bat. Stop. It’s extremely disrespectful, not to mention just wrong?!) 

Things i’d like to see more of. 

  • complex, well-rounded Korean characters. (Give me a Korean character who hates math but still tries to do well in class. Give me a Korean character who’s bisexual and surrounded by loving family members. Give me a Korean character who likes roller-skating and getting high in the bathroom stalls and sings Jackson 5 all day. Give me a Korean character who goes out to be homecoming queen and buffs her nails while fighting demons. Give me a Korean character who cries, laughs, talks, breathes, LIVES like an actual human being, and you’ll get the respect of hundreds - maybe thousands - of readers and viewers who’ve been waiting for so long to be properly represented.) 
Strategies for Decolonization

(1) Deconstruction and reconstruction. This refers to destroying what has wrongly been written—for instance, interrogating distortions of people’s life experiences, negative labeling, deficit theorizing, genetically deficient or culturally deficient models that pathologized the colonized Other.

(2)  Self-determination and social justice.  This refers to the struggle by those marginalized by Western research hegemony to seek legitimacy for methodologies embedded in the histories, experiences, ways of perceiving realities, and value systems.

(3) Ethics. There is a need to recognize—and where none exists, formulate, legislate, disseminate, and make known and understood internationally— ethical issues and legislation that protect indigenous knowledge systems.

(4) Language: recovering and revitalizing, validating indigenous knowledge and cultures of the historically marginalized, and thus creating space to decenter hegemonic Western research paradigms.

(5) Internationalization of indigenous experiences. Struggle collectively for self-determination.

(6) History. People must study the past to recover their history, culture, and language to enable a reconstruction of what was lost that is useful to inform the present

(7) Critique. There is a need to critique the imperial model of research, which continues to deny the colonized and historically marginalized other space to communicate from their own frames of reference.

- Linda Tuhiwai Smith, University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Filipina-British-American Immigrant

Hey everyone! I’ve been following this tumblr for a while and I love it. Not only has it addressed problematic representations of Asian people in the past, I have also learned a lot on portraying other non-Asian people of colour. I’m currently working on an alternate universe-dystopian novel where the Cold War turned “hot” but with people of colour as the main characters. I have come across novels that portray this, but it’s often from a white person’s perspective.

While I am fully Filipina by blood, I identify as a Fil-Brit-Am: born in the Philippines, lived in England for 12 years and currently live in America. Below is what I have experienced and/or observed.

Beauty Standards

Just like what some people have said on here, whiter = more attractive. In the Philippines, walk into any beauty store and you’ll instantly see tons of skin-whitening products. With women, pale skin was a beauty staple; with men, being handsome meant being “tall and dark”, but not “too dark”. In England, it was such a double standard. I went to a mainly white secondary/high school where for white girls, it was attractive to have tanned skin (the more tan = more attractive) while girls of colour were seen as the opposite. In America, you were “exotic” (my situation) or shamed.

Daily Struggles/Culture

Oh man. Balancing conservative Filipino values with those of the less conservative English was a struggle, especially going through puberty. While it was normal for my friends to hang out in the park after school everyday, date who they wanted and just get home before it was dark, my parents gave me a strict curfew (always way earlier than when my friends would go home) and pressured me to not date until finishing college. Back then, I resented my parents for what I saw as my lack of freedom. Looking back now, I understand why. We lived in a neighbourhood where crime was relatively high and during the time, it was also where a surge of immigrants from East Asia flowed into the UK. As you can imagine, our presence wasn’t welcomed. My parents were simply trying to protect me.

Dating and Relationships

For a lot of immigrants, education was THE way to progress to a more secure future. During my teenage years, my parents emphasized this with the whole “no dating until you finish college and have at least some form of a stable job”. They mellowed out after some time. In some talks with my mother, she said that my dad and her would prefer me to marry a Filipino because they would have a better understanding of our culture. However, if he is a good man, loving etc, the race wouldn’t matter. 

Food

In England, I discovered staples such as the “English breakfast”, cake with custard, scones, fish and chips, Indian curry while keeping to Filipino dishes at home (adobo, pancit anyone?). Even though I had the option to bring lunch to school, I decided to have meals from the cafeteria. Whether that was from a moment of other children thinking my lunch food was weird or I feared of being seen as different, I can’t remember. In America (with more diverse communities anyway), they’re more open to food of other cultures.

History Repeating in the Workplace

Philippines - you’ve guessed it: colonialism. From beauty standards to power, whiteness is seen as the best. Just like another poster has said, it makes me sad that Filipino culture has been eradicated through the ages and that I never got to experience it.

England and America - Having benefited from colonialism, there is a lot of colonial mentality (though subtle). From stories I’ve been told from my parents and their generation, this is common in workplaces. White people are fine working with people of colour until they hear that a person of colour is applying to be their manager. Then they suddenly have a problem (with the whole mentality of “people of colour can’t be leaders” crap). 

Identity Issues

With three cultures part of my identity, I never really knew what my identity was or even how to identify myself. I always had the feeling of “belonging everywhere and nowhere” at the same time. it was only until last year that I discovered a term for it: third culture kid (or fourth for me I guess). Third culture kids are people who have developed multiple cultures from having lived in multiple places: one from their parents’ culture, one they grew up in and the third being a combination of the two. It has helped me with my depression, as it stemmed from the fact that I had no label to call myself while everybody else seemed to. If you are like me, I would suggest the book Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds by Ruth E. Van Reken and David C. Pollock. It helped me a lot.

Misconception/Micro-aggression/Religion

In England, discrimination was more towards the Asian community (in particular, the Muslim community despite living there for a long time). In secondary school (high school), I had the typical comments of “chink” and talking to me in a mocking Chinese accent. I remember one time when a guy asked me where I was from - I answered “Philippines” and he immediately said, “so basically Japan?” *rolls eyes* 

As I was raised Catholic, the family went to church every Sunday. After some time, due to some pressure from my mother, I became an altar server. We became pretty close to the church community. What I didn’t remember is when we first attended mass, (as my parents told me later) they had openly looked at us with disgust. This shocked me as I couldn’t imagine the church goers being so mean. Talk about “loving your neighbour”. Makes me wonder what would have happened if I didn’t become an altar server…

Things I’d like to see less of

- Asian women being portrayed as submissive, shy, petite or as the Dragon Lady

- Asian women only being seen as scientists (with the whole smart, nerdy Asian trope). What about writers? Mechanics? Musicians? Leaders even?! One of my characters is an Asian woman who is an investigative journalist.

Thing’s I’d like to see more of 

- Asian people being friends with or at least, being respectful towards non-Asian people of colour (in particular, black people). It’s my hope that my generation and the ones after ours will bridge that gap.

- That writers of colour get more representation. 

I look forward to learning more from y'all!!

Read more POC Profiles here or submit your own.