How do I see the current Asian Hate in the US and around the world? Personally, I feel extremely sad, worried and angry. I spent some university years in the US (1989-92), when Japanese were most hated next to WWII time, and, yes, I experienced typical Asian discriminations (Thank god, it was not life threatening ones).
In my undergraduate study, I was majoring in American Studies since I was so curious to know ‘Why Americans behave the way they do!’ not from the psychological perspective but from their social, cultural, historical and philosophical backgrounds. I was passionate to understand the mosaic of the USA. It was too much to grasp but whatever I experienced in my university years, even the discriminations, has stayed with me for a very long time not as a trauma but as an example to cultivate ‘my critical gaze’ to be a genuine Cultural Analyst.
Since I was so naive and ignorant in my youth, I was just astonished that some Americans called me “Japp!” or greeted me “Ni hao”. I knew that the word ‘Japp’ was discriminatory but I thought it was in a history book. I was surprised to know it was still in use even by young Americans! Being called “Japp”, I felt like being back in history during the war or something. When I was greeted with “Ni hao” by non-Asian strangers, I did not know it was a discriminatory act. As I thought that they were curious about Asians, I seriously replied “Oh, I am not Chinese. I’m Japanese. We don’t say Ni hao but we say kon-nichiwa” with a smile.
While the basis of the Western culture is individualism, the basis of the Asian culture is collectivism. We, Asians, think about community first rather than individual. We make unconscious efforts to blend into the community. That is embedded within Asian cultures for thousands of years! We have been calm and invisible as long as our community is safe and harmonious.
Now is the high time for both cultures to make ‘BALANCE’. Over-individualistic views will not create harmony in society. Over-collective views will push our needs unheard. Perhaps the current events are happening for Asians to stand for our own individualism. We should speak up more about Asian facts and cultures because close to 60% (4.6 billion) of the world’s population (7.7 billion) are considered to be Asians! The most spoken language in the world is Chinese (1.3 billion)!
PS This video is very long (over 1 hour) but I liked it. Perhaps it tries to cover too much in a video but it brings so many facets to this matter on the table (Cultural Analysis) as well as highlighting the importance of genuine conversations (Coaching!) and discerning what is truth for individuals and breaking the negative chain instead of being controlled by politics and media. 🙂