Dian Xiao

About

Disdain for asian culture

I wanted to write about something nagging at my heart. While I have seen a lot of support as news of violence against Asians has started to pick up. While I have been subject to overt racist behavior, I am crushed by the subtle Asian disdain that I encounter in my life. You meet people who consider themselves “definitely not racist” but easily make fun of Asians and Asian culture.

This is the person who will tell you that they ate McDonald’s every day on a business trip in Asia because they thought local food was disgusting.

This is the person who will imply that products made in the “East” are inferior.

They might also make general statements regarding Chinese tourists.

I, too, have cringed at a busload of Chinese tourists who are misbehaving. I also know that they are not representative of all Chinese tourists. With a country of over 1 billion people, there are bound to be bad actors.

I can be against exploitative labor practices but also know that there is precision manufacturing that is only done in Asia. I can be appreciative of buying local goods but also take pride in things made in Asia.

What bothers me is the carelessness in which these comments are made. I can’t imagine going up to a French person I just met and telling them I hate French food. But yet many people I meet feel very comfortable telling what they dislike about various parts of my culture. It's only made worse when they expect you to assent with their opinion.

When a Korean sunscreen brand was found to have less protective sunscreen than advertised, members of the skincare community quickly disavowed all Asian beauty products. It mattered little that there were still many open questions on who was to blame.

At the same time, I think of the Volkswagen emissions scandal. VW purposefully tried to skirt environmental rules set by organizations like the EPA, which affected nearly 11 million cars worldwide. We don’t need to play a game of exculpating Asian businesses and indicting Western ones. I just find it laughable that we blindly trust Western companies or authorities more. We should honestly have a healthy mistrust of all companies in this capitalist world.

Ask yourself, would you make the same remarks if it was a western culture, company, person?