Basically Nobody Knows Who Counts As An Asian Person | HuffPost


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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12 Responses

  1. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Asia is a big place with many diverse cultures. Geographically it includes a big chunk of Russia, which is a Westernish civilization filled with White Christian people. The Middle East is part of Asia but very few people are going to see anybody living west of Pakistan as being Asian in a colloquial sense. The British perceive the people of the Indian subcontinent to be Asian because thats the part of Asia they traditionally dealt with. Americans use Asian to mean Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and maybe if you push it Vietnamese, Cambodians, Burmese and a few others. People from the sub-continent are seen as their own thing to Americans. This is because Asia was associated with China, Korea, and Japan in the American mind.Report

  2. Avatar George Turner says:

    It’s simple. If a person has dry, flaky, gray ear wax, then they’re Asian. If they have amber gooey ear wax they’re not Asian.Report

  3. Avatar George Turner says:

    “Asian” is a term that was probably introduced for political correctness because it is neither useful nor specific, little better than saying “Old Worlder”.

    If you try to use the term narrowly, as in the given example of whether people in India are Asian or not, well, they obviously live in Asia. The term confuses more than enlightens.

    But take heart, because the Internet provides all things.

    The Racial Slur Database

    Now that’s useful!Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      Pretty much, yeah. Some proto-PJW decided that since “oriental” is used to describe some rugs, it’s offensive to also use it to describe people. Just like how calling a person “German” is offensive because we also use the term to describe cars from Germany.

      My understanding is that in the UK, it’s totally uncontroversial to describe East Asians as “oriental,” while “Asian” is reserved for South Asians.Report

  4. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    As you may remember from when you worked for them, the US Census actually categorizes people from the Middle East and North Africa as white.

    Interestingly, in Japan, many people use the term “Asian” (or rather, Ajia-jin, the Japanese equivalent) to refer to continental Asians. I once had a Japanese girl tell me that she didn’t like Asians.Report

  5. Avatar Kimmi says:

    Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid
    People don’t want to call Caucasians from Asia as Asian.
    This is an old typology, but one that we use entirely too much, and that isn’t terribly accurateReport