Satirical Look at Whiteness

Here’s another satirical piece on ridiculous things White people say to people of Asian backgrounds. All of these statements illustrate how racism works – by convincing White people that their experiences are the default benchmark to judge the “Otherness” (or amplifying the differences) of other cultures. For example, by virtue of their looks, “Asians” must be from “Asia” whose true origin needs to be disputed and defended. (“No. Where are you really from?” “Your English is great! Were you adopted?” “Do you have a normal name too or just your White name?”)

White people think they’re merely pointing out facts when they say the equivalent of, “Don’t you have trouble telling White people apart?” Saying that they have a preference for one ethnicity is supposed to be a compliment coming from a White person, but from a minority, this is creepy. (Spoiler alert: it’s creepy no matter who is saying it.)

The everyday habits of White people are “natural” and the customs of Other cultures such as eating with chopsticks is bizarre, or patronised as being “exotic.” (“Oh my god, how do you eat with a fork and knife? That is so hard!”) And my absolute favourite in this video is pointing out how when people of colour hang out with other people of colour, they are presumed to be exclusionary and not “mingling” enough with the rest of society. Hence the moral panic about “ethnic ghettos” and “gangs.” For example, refer to the work of sociologists Melissa Butcher and Mandy Thomas, Ien Ang and colleagues, and Scott Poynting and colleagues. When White people hang out with mostly White people this is just “normal” and not at all perceived as threatening to social stability (as shown in various studies that measure social distance, such as Georg Simmel’s classic work).

Research shows that in White-majority countries, White people are least likely to be friends, work, study with and live near ethnically diverse groups. In fact, Gary Bouma and colleagues show that the only neighbourhoods that fit the statistical definition of an “ethnic” or “religious ghetto” in Australia, are all areas with White, Christian majority groups. (“So how come you only hang out with White people?”)

Watch the video for countless more zingers of racism disguised as cultural “observations” and “appreciation.