The definitions and examples of the following terms are written from a point of view of Asians and Asian-rooted people living in western countries. Microagression and racism against Asians are not only ignored, but accepted and even encouraged. This situation prevails in western countries. Our purpose is not to make an accusation, but to inform this state of affairs, let people recognize it and finally take the first step to make positive changes for all.
Racism is closely related to microaggression. Microaggressions are statements that repeat or affirm stereotypes about the minority group and the attitude to position the dominant culture as normal. This assumes all minority group members are the same. It is often delivered casually or even unconsciously.
This term was created by psychiatrist and Harvard University professor Chester Pierce in 1970, to describe insults and dismissals he witnessed non-black Americans inflict on African Americans.
When a person's ethnical origin is visible and if this is the reason of the discriminational act or words, it is racial. For example, if a German automatically thinks that an Asian-looking person cannot be German, it is racial.
Racism against Asians happens everyday, mundanely, and continuously. When a journalist writes an microaggressive or racial article against Asians, consciously or unconsciously, the person hardly receive sanction, because discrimination and microaggression against Asians are being perceived as normal and acceptable. As undoubted truth, although it is not. If the reporter writes the same article containing racial expressions against African Americans, he/she will probably lose the job and/or receive harsh critic.
There are three types of racism. The first one is 'direct racism.' An example would be an employer who won't hire someone on the basis of their cultural or linguistic background.
The second is 'indirect racism.' Indirect racial discrimination can occur even when there is no intention to discriminate. It includes practices or policies that appear to be 'neutral' or 'fair' because they treat everyone in the same way but adversely affect a higher proportion of people of a smaller racial, national or ethnic group. This may mean staring at the person, remaining silent around the person, or otherwise engaging in behaviors that devalue the person.
Institutional racism (or systemic racism) describes forms of racism which are structured into political and social institutions. It occurs when organizations, institutions or governments discriminate, either deliberately or indirectly, against certain groups of people to limit their rights. This form of racism reflects the cultural assumptions of the dominant group, so that the practices of that group are seen as the norm to which other cultural practices should conform. It regularly and systematically advantages some ethnic and cultural groups and disadvantages and marginalizes others. An example: "(I am living in Germany.) I don't speak german fluently, so my german boyfriend made a call for me for a reservation at an german hospital. He explained symptoms during 6 or 7 minutes. When he finally announced my name for reservation, the nurse suddenly excused herself, saying that there is no more time available, and hung up right after."
The concept 'race' was initially invented by the 17th century to describe variety of humans, in order to classify humans into groups based on physical traits, genetics, social relations, population, and so on. The analysis of genes showed that differences between individuals in a same group were bigger than those between different groups.
Such repeated racial and microaggressive words have been solidified and produced stereotypical thinkings on Asian people, mainly through media: news, films, talk shows, dramas, etc. They spreads them further and strengthen the racial view of Asians and consequently swells the number of discriminative cases. As an example: American media continues to reinforce negative stereotypes of Asians and make racial jokes. Politics and lack of education on Asian history also role critical parts on it.
Each person has what is called a ‘world view.' This is the way in which we see and interpret the world and feel about the things around us. The beliefs that shape our world view are constructed from birth in everything we see, do, hear and feel. The media, our education, our community can all shape the way we 'see'. It is very important to question our beliefs as the messages we receive are not neutral and are very often trying to get us to think in a certain way.
To combat microaggression and racism, laws have been put in place to try and ensure that bodies like schools, universities, hospitals, the police, government departments and local councils take action.
And if you undergo racism, microaggression, or sexism, the first important thing that you should do is tell someone.
In the workplace, all forms of discrimination and racism should be reported to management, and there should be procedures in place to quickly and effectively deal with it.
When you see someone with racial attitudes, it is important that you challenge them. You could do this by asking questions like, ‘what do you mean by that? Or ‘how might you feel if comments like that were being made about you?’
* The definitions and examples will be updated further.
* source for microaggression
* source for racism
Sow, Noah (2009), Deutschland Schwarz Weiss, p. 31 (München, Goldmann Taschenbücher)
* source for race
Sow, Noah (2009), Deutschland Schwarz Weiss, p. 71, 72 (München, Goldmann Taschenbücher) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_(human_categorization)
* source for why is there racial thinking?, against microaggression and racism