Asian Girl Problem #7: Takes One to Know One

“There are so many Asians.”

I hear it all the time, 99% of the time coming from other Asians. Rarely in a positive light.

One of my dad’s oldest and best friends are moving to the Bay Area and looking for a house for his family right now. He’s always rubbed me in the wrong way. I want to follow him with a tape recorder and document his racist one-liners. His most current offense has to do with finding the perfect school for his teenage daughter. Finding a good school district in an affordable location here is hard enough, but he has so many wacky requirements he might as well try to solve his problems by winning the lottery.

Every school seems to have too many Asians for his taste. He doesn’t want his daughter to feel alien moving to a place where everyone, god forbid, looks like her. She grew up in New Jersey and had always felt pretty special amongst a white community. But here, who knows how competitive they’ll be. What if she goes from student council president to an averageĀ plebeian student? The Catholic school he’s been eyeing seems okay, but is 40% Asian too much?

I predict that the rest will probably be Latino, testing the waters. “Anything would be better than Asian, except maybe Black.”

The Asians I know who dislike other Asians are often, ironically, complaining about competition.

“I just don’t like the Asians who worship white people because they wish they were white.”

“When I meet another Asian girl it feels like we’re in an unspoken competition about everything from weight to boyfriend to job.”

“I don’t hang out with the narrow-minded conservative ones who seem like they just got to this country.”

So much overt racism is the internalized kind. No one wants to be associated with these negative stereotypes, so sometimes we walk around with a huge radar on, avoiding anyone who might make us see the ugliness. The radar gets so sensitive it might start sounding off without any legit provocation and then we start putting up walls as soon as we see another one of our kind. It’s a lose-lose situation because no one will have a chance to prove you wrong.

I am so excited for his daughter to live in a city where white people are in the minority. She’ll have friends to complain about her parents with, authentic restaurants to eat at, and see that the Asian here are nothing like her, but also nothing like what she expected.

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3 thoughts on “Asian Girl Problem #7: Takes One to Know One

  1. ugh, that guy sounds terrible. But hopefully this could be a good experience for his kid. A few internal racism things really bother me– one, when some Asians feel superior to other Asians (maybe because they’re more established and wealthier) and then the other one with skin color, where being a pale Asian is superior. Both are kind of related sometimes. ~_~

    • totally! noted for future posts. that guy is such a representation of so many people in my parents’ generation. but he’s a good character to use b/c he’s pretty funny and so vocal. i think my parents often have similar opinions, but they’ll pose them as questions rather than opinions. probably lest i go on a tirade!

  2. Pingback: Asian Girl Problem #101: The Bright Side to Yellow Fever | Asian Girl Probs

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