Racial Misconceptions: A Global Issue
After much observation, I have found that China and America have very different conceptions based on race. In China, there are fewer race-based issues, but this is mainly because so few foreigners live in China. In Shanghai, where I'm staying, the native people see many tourists everyday but most of them still haven't gotten over the novelty of seeing a foreigner. Many people still blatantly stare or say "外国人," which means "foreigner" in Chinese. They have very little experience interacting with people from other countries, so most of their information comes from stereotypes.
During one of my classmates' host family stay, his parents asked if black people were dangerous. These misconceptions about race don't stem from hate like they tend to in the U.S.; they simply haven't been familiarized with different cultures yet. In the U.S., however, there aren't excuses for racism or ignorant stereotypes, because we are lucky to have many different ethnicities that make up our population. Every time a person says or does something that alludes to racial discrimination, they are doing it consciously to hurt someone's feelings.
The many stereotypes surrounding Asian Americans don't often receive the same publicity or awareness that other minority groups get, because people see their generalizations as positive. People need to start realizing that any stereotyping has harmful effects for the target party, and Asian Americans are no exception.
Author: Ava Krensky
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