Asian Racial Stereotyping: An Issue That Needs Awareness Instead Of Being Offended
Asian tourists experience racial stereotyping whenever they travel because of their Asian looks. They are frequently confined to what people perceived of them with the little knowledge they know about the country they're from. It only means that this issue is a result of the lack of awareness that needs to be understood.
In Kevin Chong's travel, he narrated in a report on The South China Morning Post how he is often stereotyped because of his East Asian face. He would often be greeted with "Konichiwa and Ni hao ma," followed by a question if he is a Chinese or Japanese.
He is also often called "Chino," while a cab driver in Bali wanted him to direct to a place where he could find "mie goring" or the Indonesian chow mein. In Prague, he was called "Bruce Lee-ski" by a group of teens.
Chong didn't feel the need to explain that he is a Hong Kong-born Canadian that doesn't speak Mandarin and not even Japanese. He would often encounter questions like where he is really from, but he already accepted the thought that he would always travel as an Asian. So, he would never be offended.
Chinese-Canadian travel writer Christina Guan also has her own experience of stereotyping when she traveled in Europe. According to her, Asian travelers are often described as people who love to take a lot of photos, have big cameras, and travel in large groups. She finds these descriptions as a rude remark or treatment of being stereotyped.
Singapore-based travel blogger Bino Chua also experienced being "hustled" by sellers who target Chinese people to buy different merchandises or join tours. "In Western countries, pickpockets have a notion that Asian folks are easy targets," he said.
Asia One added the Asian travelers are "sometimes treated worse" compared to Western white tourists. Unfortunately, stereotyping commonly happens in Asia. "I've been to many establishments within [Asia] where white travelers are treated like VIPs while Asian travelers are given mediocre service," Chua said.
Guan added Asian travelers are confused for locals, so they don't get treated as a visitor like white tourists experience. Some of them even find it hard to befriend other travelers in Asia because they look like a local, compared to other tourists.
Despite being a typecast, these Asian writers take those comments as a lack of awareness instead of having malice. They deal with insidious questions about their "ethnic provenance and other microaggressions" with positivity to understand their lack of knowledge.
Guan explained 90 percent of the microaggressions she encountered didn't contain malicious intent. He understood it as a barrier in "culture, age, or a difference in life experience." So, she politely corrects people who seemed to stereotype her, instead of getting upset.