The popular website Buzzfeed is producing a video called “Ask An Asian” and they called out on Facebook to ask for contributions.
Questions can be submitted publicly or anonymously. As of printing, there were over 400 shares and a countless number of …questions.
The purpose of the “Ask An Asian” project is perhaps to be just commentary, an attempt at humor, but does it cross sensibility lines?
When does that humor and snarkiness travel into offensive territory?
You can refer to the screen grab to see why we are shaking our heads and considering it.
The “Ask an Asian” theme triggered and prompted thoughts about race and identity (appropriate for this issue) within staff, friends of staff, and even several people passing by our office in the International District in Seattle.
The question we asked:
What is the assumption or question that bothers you most when it comes to your identity and race?
–Can you make pho?
–It’s because you have Asian genes. (In regards to looking young.)
–Oh, I thought you were Korean. (When Thai.)
–“Banana” (We had to ask what this referred to. It was a reference to yellowface…)
And then there is:
–Our male staff member: “I think only my female friends get offended, like when they are on the bus. I guess I should ride the bus.”
–“I don’t feel like I have the right to talk about it because I am white. Being offended is a privilege.”
Granted, some are innocent comments, some meant to be compliments, some, offensive, but it’s an interesting take on how we evaluate ourselves, the questions and comments that bother us.
One response to what was annoying was, “You speak English so well.”
When our editor of the Seattle Chinese Post heard that comment, rather than contributing a negative, she contributed an affirmative:
“My Chinese is better than your English.”
No offense taken. (end)