David So is a regular vlogger (video blogger) on Youtube. He has a separate channel in which he post vlogs (video blogs) about hot topics that people suggest him to talk about. He recently made a vlog called “Vlog 20: White People are NOT THAT Racist”. He made a couple points that I thought was especially interesting from an Asian American perspective. Being an Asian American, I know how it feels to have people of different race ask me if I am Chinese all the time. It can be a bit annoying to have people automatically assume that I’m Chinese because of my phenotype. Why Chinese? This also happens quite frequently to a majority of my Asian friends (some who are Chinese and some who aren’t). Along with the assumption of our racial identity comes questions or remarks that are usually asked or said about our identity. Because this happens quite often, some of us may find it offensive. But what if people are just curious and want to know more our culture?
In the video he mentions more examples, let’s take a look:
(I apologize for the profound language used in this video. It was not intended for academic purposes.)
His video is quite comical as he pokes fun of some Asian races with typical stereotypes, but I think he brings up some interesting points. The first point that David suggests to White people (although this can go for every race that isn’t Asian) is not to “assume that an Asian person do not know English”. He says that it isn’t offensive that people assume, but rather the way they “go about it”. (A little obvious, his examples in the video are not the realities of us all.) I thought this was funny though, because one of my Asian professors mentioned that whenever she walks into a classroom on the first day of class, she can tell how many students are relieved once they found out that she spoke perfect English. I don’t believe that this is exactly “racist” but instead, it’s what a person is used to. If someone is exposed to many Asians that don’t speak English, I think it would be fair for them to assume that they might not know English when they meet another Asian for the first time. Wouldn’t it be unfair that we assume that they should know we speak English? This can go for other races as well, not just Asians.
Language is a big part of cultural representation. David mentions how people would learn certain words in a particular language and would constantly try to impress us. I wouldn’t think this was racist however, I would say that it would only be racist depending on the context in which it was used. It would also depend on the words these people are using.
Finally he concludes his video with the suggestion that sometimes people “just want to be a little more culturally understanding”. We can’t just assume that everyone knows what our culture is like. David is, I would say, a little more understanding about his nationality because he doesn’t expect people to know off the bat. It’s tough enough to guess what ethnicity a person is already. There’s no need or constant pressure for us to know what everyone is from the start because, we’re most likely to get it wrong anyway. My point from all this is that, we need to look at what people are saying and try to understand it from their perspectives before we assume that someone is racist. If they’re asking about your culture, that just means that they want to know more about it and it’s on you to try to enlighten them.