reminiscentrevelry  asked:

Hispanic education is bad (in the US at least) because we focus on Eurocentric, white-made history that glorifies colonization and conquerors and learn barely anything about races we subjugated bc we liked to destroy their history after conquering them in a way, white conquerors erasing native history is nearly equivalent to burning down the library of Alexandria, except we didn't burn it, we suppressed it, locked it in a cupboard, and made it taboo to talk about

too fucking real

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. 

youtube

More Redheads in Game of Thrones Than Black People?

White fanboys are already making me regret making this video…

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.) 
Eurocentrism in the Polyglot Community

Quite some time back, I saw this post commenting on the trends of what languages are most commonly studied in the polyglot community. These languages are generally European languages, particularly Romance languages as well as German and occasionally Eastern and Northern European (Scandinavian) languages.

The OP of said post came under heavy fire for making the remark that this trend was an example of Eurocentrism. Other people were saying that “You should never tell other people what language to study. EVER”, and made other such comments, condemning this user (whose name I do not know, nor can I find this post).

As a PoC in the polyglot community, I’m going to be very blunt in this post, so be prepared. In my experience, the polyglot community is overwhelmingly white. White people will predictably have a stronger interest in European languages, and there’s not much that can be done about this and people cannot be faulted for it. This is only good reason I can think there is for Eurocentrism in the polyglot community. The common denominator between many polyglots is a Western European language like Spanish, Italian, French, or English. 

However, merely mentioning this and being attacked for it belies a more serious problem. The study of European languages can come at the expense of non-European languages, which does feed into dynamics of oppression and decline. There’s a reason that Hindi, Arabic, and non-European (particularly non-Western-European) languages are seen as unsophisticated. It’s because of years of imperialism in various non-European countries that have repressed the use of local vernacular languages.

You’re going to tell me, “Oh but those languages aren’t as useful”? I call bullshit because utility is more than simply numbers. Utility also includes political significance (ex. Arabic), literary value (ex. Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindi, Arabic, Russian, etc.), and immediate relevance, such as heritage or your community.

Please, the reason that non-Western languages have been shoved aside is because people around the world have been brainwashed into thinking that their own languages aren’t important. There is institutionalized encouragement for the study of Western languages, without any such support for non-Western languages. The habit of starting to study European languages as a polyglot on the premise that they’re more useful, sophisticated, rich in a literary heritage, are all utter nonsense, since nearly every non-Eastern language has comparable histories.

Learning a non-European language gives value and validation to all the immigrant and diaspora communities of people who are told every day that their languages do not matter, and that they must study English or another Western language at the expense of their own.

Yes, I’m telling you to learn a non-European language if you’re going to seriously invest time into being a polyglot. You cannot claim to be sophisticated or worldly in the way of languages if you don’t have a decent variety of languages going on. I think that only knowing European languages, East Asian languages, or any kind of centrism implies a kind of close-mindedness. Stop telling yourself that you’re open-minded when your vision of being worldly is centered on or exclusively encompasses one part of the world.

EDIT: Realizing that this may have come across rather inflammatory, I feel that I must clarify some things. I retract my statement about not being worldly if you don’t have a variety of languages in your study. However, I must emphasize that you must be aware of the limitations of your knowledge. I realize that this may come as common sense to some, but it is something I feel must be made explicit. Do not base your idea of sophistication on exclusive studies of certain groups of languages. Be mindful of the ways your study affects you and relates to the world around you.
  • Jazmine DuBois: Huey, what does Eurocentrism mean?
  • Huey Freeman: Eurocentrism, it's when you eliminate the african perspective and marginalize or omit people of color, their contributions, their experiences, etc... Understand?
  • Jazmine DuBois: Not really...
  • Huey Freeman: Do you watch "Friends"?
  • Jazmine DuBois: Yes
  • Huey Freeman: Then you understand.

i can’t believe i have to make this post in the year 2017 but any jokes made towards people of color at the expense of facial features not adhering to eurocentric ideas of beauty is racist. people of color literally spend most of their lives hating themselves for having facial features that dont match up with “small button nose, thin lips and thin eyebrows” and then whatever confidence in these features they may later obtain can be swept away in an instant by one “joke”. idc if the people making the jokes arent even white, if you’re maliciously pointing out someone’s big nose/thick eyebrows/big lips etc and making them the butt of a joke you arent funny and you arent clever. and if you really think these “jokes” are funny then you desperately need to reevaluate your sense of humor. like just sit there and explain to me what’s so funny about poking fun at any of these facial features without making an ass of yourself. i’ll wait

look I know what a big issue Eurocentric beauty is but people need to recognise one insidious element of this is not just the denigration of people whose features don’t adhere to that- but how specific features are always seen as belonging only to people of European ancestry. 

it’s so annoying. no i didn’t have to use eyelid tape to get my eyes like that, i was born with my eyelids like that, yes some east asians have monolids but not all do, do you think we are clones???? how the hell should i know why my hair curls the way it does?? it just does! and the usual bs my sister gets about her nose and how european it looks, which will then be followed up by the usual, “you aren’t really chinese right, are you part white”…wow! you’d think only Europeans have prominent noses!!! the most annoying part is not people getting my ethnicity wrong because yes I get that my family is a bit weird but when they just refuse to believe you when you tell them…this all basically saying Europeans have a monopoly on these features. 

it’s endlessly irritating how people question your authenticity all the time. like, why should we be subject to this, especially when you contrast to how people are more willing to accept that Europeans have a wide diversity of features??? Asia covers an even bigger land area than Europe and yet we’re supposed to adhere to a narrow palette of features. 

I get so confused when USians use the word Eurocentrism to mean something that has a lot to do with white Americans but little to do with Europe. Same with white privilege and linguistic Anglocentrism. Confusing Eurocentrism with linguistic Anglocentrism is my favourite, though, because it crosses the border between ‘mildly irritating’ and 'terribly hilarious’. I know these concepts often intersect, especially in the US, but Europe still exists and is not just some historical, monolithic area that used to produce/produces white English-speakers.

A lot of the Western feminist/sj discourse here has little relevance to people who aren’t USian and/or native speakers of English.

C: It seems more like an insult when people say a black person has “Eurocentric features.” Aren’t we supposed to be the most diverse? Not sorry, but when I see West Africans, East Africans, etc. with those features, I understand because we are clearly not all the same, contrary to popular belief. Certain features fit a prototype that a lot of Europeans have for themselves, sure. Separating it into "black features” or “Eurocentric features” is inaccurate. They are still black regardless.

Ok I’m just going to say it–it’s kind of been said before, but I can’t help commenting on it based off my perspective. So I assume most of us know who Zendaya is, and how she’s quickly gaining more popularity, and the result of this is her role in an upcoming spider man movie and being made into a Barbie doll for example. I’ve been seeing various posts about how these two examples are a big win for black women everywhere, but to be honest–I don’t see it as much of an accomplishment for black women in general? Now, I will say that I’m glad that Zendaya uses her status as a way to bring up political issues, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time lets be honest. I’m often seeing Zendaya being used as a representation of black women as a whole, but she’s biracial? And biracial blacks do have social privileges above mono racial blacks–For example, as far as beauty standards, Zendaya’s physical features (her light complexion, curly hair, not too full lips, etc.) is very Eurocentric? 90% of us black women don’t look vaguely like her (most of us aren’t racially ambiguous for one thing–if I were to be unaware of Zendaya’s black father the first thing that would come to mind when I saw her would definitely not be, “oh, she’s totally a black woman.”) I would honestly think she’s a bunch of ethnicities combined, and I would maybe think she had one (distant) black ancestor based off of her physical attributes.

Now, if somebody like Lupita N'yongo, Viola Davis, Jazmine Sullivan, etc. was to get more lime light for their talent I would feel more strongly about it, because women that look like them don’t fit the white standard of beauty, yet they favor what *most* black women look like. Zendaya’s accomplishments to me are rooted in a lot of social privileges because of 1. How Eurocentric she looks and 2. Being biracial, not fully black. I’m not saying she isn’t talented–but what I am saying is I know for a fact she wouldn’t be as popular if she was like the women I mentioned above.

I know a lot of people are thinking, “what if Zendaya considers herself to be black although her mother is white? A win for one of us is a win for all of us, no matter if we’re full black or half!” Yeah, I get it, but at the same time when you’re used to being the least represented group on media platforms, to me personally, Zendaya getting this attention is almost like a white woman getting attention in the sense that woc who favor white women have always gotten center stage first and foremost for generations. It’s nothing new or groundbreaking to me. Her look and ancestry is glorified specifically because of colorism and eurocentrism, which most black women can’t benefit from like biracial or racially ambiguous black women do. So when black women like Zendaya are front and center, while black women like Viola Davis, who has phenomenal talent in comparison yet isn’t one to often get super big roles regardless, continue to be pushed to the back it’s unsettling for me. I’m not moved. Zendaya’s stardom is still non verbally saying, “a black woman can only be worthy of this much popularity if she looks like Zendaya, NOT mono racial like Lupita N'yongo in spite of how much natural talent is displayed. I like Zendaya, I really do. But I can’t help but to not ignore the fact that her privilege as a biracial, racially ambiguous woc is a big factor that plays into how she got to where she is now.