“I find it weird to be discriminated against for being Asian, while I’m in Asia,” Lee said. Recently, Mike Lee got rejected when he applied to be an English instructor in China while Will Evans, a Canadian, got this job. The only reason for Lee’s job rejection turned out to be Lee looks too Asian.
It is not a secret that recruiters in China evaluate candidates for English instructors only based on their skin color. They don’t care about your English fluency or academic credentials as long as you are white enough because Asian parents believe white people can speak better English. Still can’t find a job in America? Being white can definitely get you a job in China. This news reveals a fact that white privilege and racism are alive outside the U.S., even in Asia.
Western countries are struggling to become a “post racial society.” In Asian countries, however, being white is definitely a plus to finding a job, renting a house or getting an Asian girl. White people enjoy all the privileges of being white even though they are far away from their home. Asian Americans, however, don’t have such privileges because of their skin color in spite of their self-identity as Americans. In Asian countries, Asian people simply divide people into three racial categories based on skin color, the black, the white, and the yellow. Among the three racial categories, whiteness is preferred. The whiter your skin is, the better people feel about you. Some Chinese companies even have “Rent a White Guy” business to have foreigners, white foreigners, be fake businessmen. Pretending to have a white employee gives the company face.
Compared to white people who have a lot of privileges in Asia, Asian Americans and other races survive in social cracks. On one hand, racial boundaries hinder the ability of Asian Americans and other races to succeed in America. On the other hand, when they escape and look for another possibility outside U.S. territory, ruthless reality destroys their fantasy. Though it is hard to believe, Asians have a little hostility toward Asian Americans. Asian Americans are scorned for deserting their motherland in spite of the same heritage they share. The strong reaction to Ambassador Gary Locke nomination several years ago is a good example. It reveals a thicket of conflicting feelings about race, national identity and patriotism according to LA Times. A netizen called Mr. Locke “A fake foreign devil who can not even speak Chinese” on discussion board. When Asian Americans struggle to embrace another identity in Asia and strive to get accepted by Asian societies as truly Asians, white people reap without sowing for being white.
Asia is believed to be a land free of racism because Asian people seem to talk less about race. However, there is no such utopia where every race and gender can be treated fairly. These examples of white privilege and racism in Asia prove racism also exists there even though many Asian people believe that racism only exists in western countries. Many Asian people never think their behavior such as favoring white people can be racism. They assume themselves to be innocent. It is necessary for Asian people to be aware of the fact that their careless behavior can also result in racism and changes to their behavior.
By Xiaoyun Zhang (Michelle)