Week 5: Day 1- Seeing and Being Seen
When people first meet me, I think the first assumption they make is I am young and some kind of Asian. That is what people tell me they usually see, but by looking at me. I can understand their inference. I am a small person, who probably looks like 15 or 16 years old at most. I definitely look Asian so I can also see why they make the conclusion that I am. Being seen as younger than I actually am sometimes is not fun, especially when you go to a restaurant and they still hand you the kids menu. But for the most part, it does not really phase me as much as my race being mistaken. Yes I am Asian, but I am not Filipino as many would assume I am. I am Chinese Mexican. It does not bother me to the point that it angers me, I sometimes find it quite amusing to ask people what they think my race is. Maybe 80% of time, people will say I look Filipino. Again, understandable. These perceptions do not define me; although people might make the same mistake multiple times, it does not change who I truly am. Some people get very angered or bothered when their appearances lead people to make incorrect assumptions and I totally understand why.
This just shows that the people of our society are uneducated. This tells us that some thing needs to change in the way that we are taught to view other people. It is wrong for someone to make a typical guess on who a person is based on their appearances. In some cases, it is understandable and logical to make an assumption based on appearances, but you have to be able to do it in a non-racist/non-suggestive way, which can be tricky. A situation in which connecting the dots incorrectly would be to say that one person is a bad person or that one person is good/bad at something just based on their appearance. It is wrong how some people think it is so simple to judge someone in this close-minded manner. Like the typical saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” This same idea applies to this general topic. Just because I may look young or Filipino, does not mean that I am. Where it is important to realize that you are wrongfully judging a person’s identity, it is also important to realize that sometimes people are just uneducated or unaware, and you can help change their close-minded ways. It is not helpful to just complain that “people always think I look Filipino, but I’m not;” instead, tell the person that you cannot label all darker asians to be Filipino. It is also not helpful for those people to reject their uneducated-ness and to continue to insult the wrongfully identified people. Looks can be a helpful, determining tool, but appearances can also be misleading.