Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guide to interacting with white people as a non-black minority

Principle No.1 - Approaching race/ethnicity

Disclaimer for politically correct educated assholes: (Guide to interacting with white people for American born internationally raised Chinese people who don't have clear ethnic and racial categorical identity)

Now I'm assuming the natural reaction is:

'What? Wouldn't it be best to transcend the idea of race?'


'Yes! You should assert your own racial/ethnic identity and have the other acknowledge his/her whiteness.'

Both wrong. The first assumes everyone is the 'same.'

The second assumes we should all abide by some idealistic stupid world.

First off, let's establish what we're dealing with. We're in America - majority white.

(Please don't get started about the racial history of America, this is intended to be humorous for current generation minorities who have not experienced real prejudice).

Most white people grow up without realizing how white they are. (You think any one of the billion Chinese people in China reflect in the mirror and think, 'damn, I'm so Chinese...,' I don't think so.) For all intents and purposes when dealing with white people just accept we're in a white society.

The ideal approach with white people: helping them consciously acknowledge the difference in race and culture. It's tricky - go too far like a crazy liberal and everyone is uncomfortable. Too little and you get comments like, 'you're not really Asian...'

The trick: take advantage of a stereotype of your culture and have fun with it:

(examples below):
Asian: 'Yea I had a cute puppy for dinner the other day...' Talk about General Tso's historical importance. This guy Ting Ting Tong that you know.
Indian: 'I have a conglomerate of Kwiki-Marts. Seriously, 'thank you come again,' was like 15% increase to my billion dollar Kwiki Empire.'
Hispanic: 'I'm actually Mexican.'

Okay I'm actually having trouble thinking of more. But using stereotypes for humour accomplishes several key things in your interaction with white people:

-White people now have an easy route to acknowledge the racial difference. The fact that you laugh about it shows you don't give a shit about stereotypes.
-You have an opportunity to discern the level of racial awareness of the white person:

Stupid white person:
-Thinks you're serious: you are now a representative of your respective race/culture
-Joins in (key: with malice): pretend you're actually white. fuck this asshole.

Smart white person:
-Thinks it's funny: usually means white person is not as uptight and comfortable acknowledging difference
-Joins in (key:friendly + actually funny): demonstrates racial awareness. Higher level: makes fun of his/her own whiteness

And there you have it. The key to interacting with all the white people around is the skill of identifying and discerning which white people are cool.

Enjoy interacting with your next white fellow!

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