Being a Minority

Food for Thought @ Taiwan Pork Chop House

Probably thanks to coronavirus that we were able to get a table right away at this popular Taiwanese restaurant.

Every time something happens in Asia that paints a negative picture of Asians, like the latest outbreak of coronavirus in China, I feel bad for the second-generation Asians in America because they are discriminated against even though many of them have little to no connection to Asia. What strangers do halfway around the globe directly impacts their daily lives. I’m sure they can’t help but ask: What does that have to do with me?

The vast majority of second-generation Asian-Americans have never experienced what it’s like to be part of the majority. They have only experienced what it’s like to be the victims of racism, not the victimizers.

Japanese people are racist too. If a novel virus started in Europe, I’m sure the white people living in Japan would be discriminated against in similar ways regardless of how long they have been living there and where they are originally from. I hear that anti-Chinese sentiment is quite strong right now in Japan and South Korea.

We have a fundamental need to define who “the other” is, in order to define who we are. And, unfortunately, this process is highly visual. We are all guilty of it, but it’s much easier when you are a member of the majority, and “the other” is the minority.

The prominent white nationalist Jared Taylor was born and raised in Japan as a minority, and it does not surprise me how he turned out. Unlike most white people, he knows what it’s like to be a minority. I can hardly blame him for wanting to live in a white-dominant environment. Some Asian-Americans move to Asia too; I would imagine that the experience is empowering as they cease to be victims of racism.

Many liberal white parents in New York City seek out “diverse” schools but would not send their kids to Chinese dominant schools even though they are academically superior to other schools; they are not willing to be a minority. But, being a minority is an invaluable experience because you cannot learn it from books. Experiencing it yourself is the only way you would develop compassion for the struggles of other minority groups.