Updated: Mar 19, 2021
Question: While racism towards various ethnicities has become unacceptable in public, many openly racial comments and slurs are a daily reality for Asians. Often these comments are hidden under a veil labeled “comedy”. Why is this happening and why do many individuals and pop culture sources see this as ok? Answer: Obviously, racism still exists in North America and elsewhere but it has gone underground where usually people don’t say discriminatory things openly in public. However, for some groups like Asians, there’s less fear of a backlash such as the “Chink in the armor” headline about Jeremy Lin whereas a comment about being “niggardly” regarding Charles Barkley would never be tolerated. There’s less fear and less sensitivity about Asians for two main reasons:
Asians in the U.S. have been less militant than Blacks or Hispanics choosing to promote our causes more through the political and legal systems rather than riots, boycotts and other more visible venues. This has hurt us in some respects as is evidenced by the lack of fear around making fun of Asians.
Asians tend to be thought of and promoted as, “The Successful Minority” in the U.S. because our average incomes are higher than even Whites in this country and so we become the targets of jealousy and insensitivity by many people including other minorities. What many don’t understand is that Asians in the U.S. have higher educational attainment than any other group. We also have larger families than Whites or Blacks making the average income number a bit skewed.