The Nature of Teasing

23 Jan

I realized after talking to some adoptive parents, that they don’t know the horrid things people can say that are racist. In fact, they wouldn’t know why I would be so fearful of my classmates and how much that can effect self-esteem. In accordance with this, I thought it would be a good idea to list the racist things that have been said to me when I was in Kindergarten to demonstrate how awful children can be and how much it can ostracize and leave children out.

Things said to me:
Why is your face flat? (A few adults said this to me when I was five years old too…)
Did a doctor drop you on your face or were you born that way?
Where is Korea? (then I answer). Oh. *looks away* (Adults did this too… but this is more sad than anything.)
Are you CHINESE?
Where are your *real parents*? (this was also asked by adults–don’t doubt the ignorance of adults.)
Korea. Oh, that’s where the Korean war happened. (This was the extent to the adult knowledge of Korea throughout my childhood…. which is sad.)
You’re Korean? But your eyes are Chinese.
Did the doctor drop you on your face, or were you born this way?
Asians are smart. Help me with my homework.
Asian women are submissive.
What language do you speak? Oh You speak English good. (Uhh… it’s well… and yes, I still get this question after talking to the person for 10 minutes. Does my English seem that deficient?)
What are you? (I usually answer Human, and you?)
I was called stupid Asian.
I was told, “This is America.” when I didn’t act like a submissive female Asian.
Was your face hit with a frying pan?
If I know Japanese language, then I must be Japanese. I know French too… I must be French.

Things I have done to me:
Someone pinched my hand until it bled. My parents and teacher ignored it.
I said I was teased all through grade school. My parents ignored it.
People refused to make friends with me.
I was abandoned for a white friend.
When people *did* make friends with me, they were equally teased for being friends with me. This meant I couldn’t make friends because they became targets too.
I was singled out to help with homework and do all the problems for the group.
I’ve been hit upon for being Asian rather than any other reason. (Excuse the language, but the myth of the tight vagina in Asian women still exists.)
Children will pull their eyes back and chant, “Chinese, Japanese.” First day, I had this happen.
They will surround you.
I had my homework stolen. But the teacher caught it. (Do you think this isn’t racist… you have to be seriously whacked to not think it is racism.)
I was picked on more than anyone else in the class. (I was the only Asian in the entire school, I believe…)

Things I have felt:
Kids sometimes *stare* at me. If people want to know if a three year old can tell the difference between races, I can tell you they can.
Men hitting on me for being Asian, indirectly. (Whistling). I mean if you’re in baggy jeans, your hair is an absolute wreck from bed head, and you’re slouching in a dirty jacket, why else is that guy whistling at you from a car two lanes away and trying to get you to climb in his car?
I’ve been hired because I was Asian and when I wasn’t “submissive” Asian enough they fired me. (True story)

Fortunate things:
I haven’t been called “chink” yet.
I haven’t been called gook yet.
I haven’t been called “Jap” yet.
But then I don’t think anyone has the guts too.
I haven’t been told I could be blinded by dental floss.

How this can effect children:
What stereotypes do is serve to make a mold of being that people expect one to conform to. In this case, it is the submissive Japanese female who will bow at the door to greet her husband, be wild in bed and have a tight vagina, yet have dinner and a bath ready, with the entire house clean.

If you don’t conform to this stereotype, then the question is: “What is wrong with you?” This would be the “stupid” Asian attitude listed above.
If you conform to this stereotype, then you are screwed because you are pigeon-holed into being someone you are not. In another words, by teasing one is forced to become these stereotypes without a way to escape. So the choice is black and white, with no way to navigate to define oneself on ones own terms because the other person is categorizing you no matter what you say.

This is a living terror because no matter what you do, you can’t ever define yourself without someone else doing it for you, which eats at your self-esteem. If self-esteem is the ability to define oneself, then this has been robbed from the person being teased. But then, who wants to conform to such black and white terms of self based on ignorance from a few hundred years of race relations of Chinese and Japanese immigration? Not to mention, cultural facts that are plain perpetrated and are wrong? There is no chance if you do these things that you would fit into those cultures either–rather you will justify those stereotypes for the people giving it to you.

Of course teasing gets worse when:
1. An adult joins in and doesn’t defend the child.
2. When people choose to ignore the teasing.
3. When the only talk about race relations is black-white.
4. When people believe children are innocent and can’t say vicious things like, “Your face must have been hit by a frying pan.”

I scored on all of these… and so that’s why it was safer to drift into myself because accepting these stereotypes and sayings would have destroyed me from the inside.

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