Wednesday, 9 May 2012

There is no such thing as an Asian

OK, having lived overseas in Asia for most of my adult life, you kind of get used to being lumped into a category of "Westerner". Most commonly (at least in Japan) is that you are an American, although, as I look a lot like Mister Bean, some peg me as a Brit.

Well, one thing I would really like Kiwi's to get their head around is that:


Asia describes a geographical area. In some definitions, NZ and Australia are included in Asia.


While the mass media would love you to believe that it is true (look here for a sample), the truth is that saying that someone is "Asian" is about as accurate as saying someone is "White".

The media constantly feeds us this "Asian" mythology. We constantly hear about "Asians better in education", or "Asians fueling drug trade". But in reality, "Asians" don't exist! You cannot say that Thais = Koreans = Indonesians = Japanese, not to mention the fact that they are all individuals? How nuts is this?

What a load of media sound byte bullshit. Designed for you, the media consumer, to digest and reconfirm prejudices and stereotypes you have been inculcated with since birth.

We have all to be aware that the media continues to compartmentalise (I hate American English spell checkers that tell me I am spelling it wrong) and package information so that it confirms the prejudices THEY THINK WE HAVE.

I urge you, write to your local newspaper, your TV station, your Radio station, and tell them that they cannot continue in this manner. In fact, why should the ethnicity of anyone appear in the media at all?

Is it germaine to the content, that a particular person is of XXX ethnicity? Does it matter that   the Westpac bank fraud was made by an ethnic Chinese? Does it make a difference that Mr. Dotcom is German, but as a resident of our country he is persecuted by the authorities at the behest of the USA? If Vietnamese are involved in drug dealing, how is their ethnicity relevant?

And as for Maori and Pacific Islanders (yep, we are part of Asia too). The media continues to bang the drum about how "bad" we are. I won't bother posting links here, we all know how much appears in the media. Yes, the stats and the facts point to depressingly high rates of offending across the board, but let me ask you, how much is a self-fulfilling prophesy? If the world continually tells you that you are shit, on a 24/7 basis, how long before you end up actually believing it and behaving accordingly?

I started this blog with the premise that there is no such thing as an Asian. I will finish with:

Why report the ethnicity at all? In a free society, ethnicity should have nothing to do with how  well you may succeed or fail, what offenses you may or may not commit, and how the world  should view you. It is irrelevant, and reporting based in ethnicity should be banned.