My Experience With A White Worshipper

Looking back with older eyes, I think all he really wanted was to be accepted, to be truly accepted for himself…

Hi guys,

To be honest with you, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to post this. There is already a lot of negativity and discrimination against many South East Asians on the Internet relating to accusations of them wanting to be white*. I’m even hesitant about using the term ‘white worshipper’, but I don’t know how else to describe it (if you know, please tell me). Nonetheless, I wanted to share this experience with you. I wrote this as a medium for self-reflection and maybe you will find this interesting?
*In my opinion, a lot of these accusations are often from people who do not understand the culture or its people (excluding Internet trolls). To be fair, many things in life can be traced back to a lack of understanding and fear, of what is different.

Disclaimer. I am also from Taiwan (specifically, a halfie). This is just my experience with one person and please keep in mind the saying…

You judge yourself by your intentions.
You judge others by their actions.

I am fully aware that I am judging this person by his actions. This is because I don’t know what his intentions or thought process was. I do my best to judge the intention, but in the absence of knowing the intent, I can only go off their actions. Flawed, but I am only human.

Deep breath… Here is my story.

I was in my second year of university and attended a couple Taiwanese Society events. I met a couple people, added them on Facebook and we would occasionally chat.

One of these people was someone called R (not his real name). We spoke a few times, mostly online as we did different courses at uni.

Then one day, while we were casually chatting online, R brought up the topic of capitalism and society as he was very interested in the topic. It came out of nowhere but I thought cool, I’m down for talking about this stuff.

After a couple minutes, he suddenly started talking about my ethnicity.

He said he admired that I was mixed race, the fact that I have the right to mobilise‘…and that since he is Taiwanese, he has to work harder than me‘ – saying that I have ‘the natural right to chooseunlike him, who has nothing. He continued – ‘talking to a mixed, is better than a pure Taiwanese‘.

I was speechless, but reminded him that I am both my ethnic sides, not one or the other.

I was getting very uncomfortable with his comments so I did not engage further. Instead I just chose to brushed it off.

Quick background note
My parents met in Taiwan, my Dad lived there for years and is my place of birth. During that time my Dad learned Mandarin in both speaking and writing. He was very fluent, worked full time in an office – becoming manager. So yes, his Mandarin was excellent.

What he said next, was uncharted territory for me.

I’m a little brainwashed by the west
I must confess

He compared Taiwan to the UK and US, where he described it being much better than anything Taiwan could achieve. I didn’t quite understand the meaning behind his words, but I don’t believe that one country is better than another…just different.

He said West is best‘. I pointed out some things about Taiwanese culture that I liked, but he just dismissed it saying that I was wrong because I don’t know any better.

A quirk I noticed was that he would say something very questionable or serious but would follow it up with…’But we are just chatting lol… As a way to almost write off his comments.

Now, I don’t mind you preferring one culture over another, everyone has a preference. And as I mentioned, one is not better than than the other. Just different.

Anyway, he continued speaking about Taiwan, but the next comments that came out his mouth, were words that I could not tolerate.

Words that angered me to my very core

Oh your relatives must be very good at English.

‘No’, I replied. ‘We speak Mandarin; their Mandarin is much better’.

He said, ‘Oh they are rude‘.

It was here were I could feel a cascade of rage rising in me, but I maintained control(ish). I may have reacted disproportionately, but many people are very protective over their family, and I am no different. I questioned him, ‘why are they rude?

They are rude because they didn’t learn English for you and your Dad.

I explained that we were in Taiwan, my Dad gained fluency and I was brought up bilingual; communicating in Mandarin was fine, I asked again, ‘why are they rude?

Because you two don’t understand Mandarin.

I reiterated, ‘yes we do‘.

Your relatives should have accommodated your Dad. He is from the West.

I felt something in me go snap in my brain. I was enraged, and wanted to keep arguing but I could also see that it would be pointless.

To his credit, he recognised that I was furious and apologised. After this interaction, I distanced myself from him.

If you’ve ever played The Sims, this is where the negative signs would have popped up over our heads.

I ran into him a couple times after that, but kept the conversations brief and trivial.

Looking back with older eyes, I think all he really wanted was to be accepted, truly accepted for himself, which he didn’t think he could achieve in his own skin.
My experienced opinion. Now, when you are a foreign, non-White person living in a western country, you can be treated as a second class citizen, especially if you have a foreign accent. Not everyone will treat you this way and in fact, there are many people who are kind and do not care where you’re from. Still, I’ve bared witness to this many times growing up and I’ve seen it more times than I can recall. This also goes the other way too, if you are not Asian in Asia, you will be treated differently. It is very much the mentality of us, and them.

It’s possible that R experienced this and felt that he wasn’t on par with the locals in the UK and felt …different. But this is only speculation. I do not know him well enough. But alas, I have a curious mind, so I do like to wonder.

I also think that his thought process is very sad, and it makes me postulate if (and how many?) people out there share his mentality.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – I am very privileged to be brought up by parents who are proud of who they are and where they come from. Thankfully, these are traits that have passed down to me. I was never pressured into picking one side, I was raised to acknowledge and appreciate both cultures.

This concludes my experience with this person. And I hope you enjoyed it and that this experience doesn’t come across as too negative and doesn’t step on any toes.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Katie Kuo says:

    this was a really interesting post, and what an experience! What you said is so true of “one is not better than than the other. Just different” I think often people might view something as better because perhaps they haven’t been exposed to Asian culture. I feel like growing up in NZ there are Asians who grew up here who do have the slight mentality that they might be better in some ways because they grew up in a Western country. As you said, there is not one that is better than the other, they’re both different. However, I think it’s important to embrace our Asian culture and be proud of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you :). I believe that education of other cultures is very important and will help us all be more understanding in the long run. Its interesting what you said about Asians in NZ feeling like they are better off, I have seen this mentality as well in the sense of international students – they have said, its better studying overseas than in my home country, I will get more recognition. On the other hand, when my husband and I went to Japan and met up with some of his friends (also Doctors), we asked if Japan would recognise and appreciate doctors taking a year or 2 out to study medical practices overseas…his friends believe that Japan would think of it as a waste of time, instead of a learning experience where these doctors could bring knowledge from overseas. Yes, be proud! 🙂

      Like

  2. pamicdolls says:

    Difference in culture, family background,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. pamicdolls says:

      or in education, society, perception of value. due to limitation of knowlege and above I mentioned, we won’t understand but learning accepting it with positive attitude

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So true, we need to be more accepting of people who are different. Especially when it comes to culture.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is crazy! The “natural right to choose” part really irritated me. I think one of the worst (most difficult?) parts of being biracial is that you do have the right to choose how you WANT to be perceived by others, but ultimately, other people decide what race you are and treat you accordingly. To the Chinese students I tutored in university, I was a white American (many didn’t know I was mixed, despite knowing me for 2-3 years). To my (mostly) white friends growing up, I was “the Asian kid.” How I wanted to be seen didn’t really matter. You looked at this situation in a very empathetic way, which I think is awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading and the time to comment :). I was really angry at the time! I completely understand your feelings about what you want don’t matter, or when they completely invalidate your identity. (Thank you for your kind words! I try not to jump to conclusions about people, even though it can be really hard sometimes!)

      Like

  4. JenaPen says:

    I think this is a very interesting discussion. I am completely in agreement with your side of this conversation. What many people don’t realize, too, is that people who are “white” and come from the west are not a “pure breed”. I am American and was born and raised in Louisiana, USA. I have been very fascinated with where my ancestors are from because being American makes me a mutt lol. I am Irish, French, Scandinavian, British, Iberian,German…etc. I couldn’t imagine turning away any part of what makes me, me. So I don’t understand why people who are from other places of the world and are “mixed” can be judged on one part of what makes them, them. Just my thought process on all of this racial confusion. Thank you for your story 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I admit that I was nervous posting such a sensitive topic. Agreed, there is no such thing a ‘pure breed’, we are all mixed in with something. I’m so happy that you understand that we are all of our parts and not just one. You have ancestors from all over the place, you are one nice blend of a human!!! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m always very curious on how others think.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. JenaPen says:

        I admire your courage to get this point out there! It’s an important part of bringing all people together!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate it ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. JenaPen says:

            I know we just connected through the blogosphere, but I just wanted to show some love and let you know I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! If you decide you want to participate you can check it out on my post https://jena-pendarvis.com/2018/04/09/versatile-blogger-award/

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh wow, thank you! I’ll go check it out now 😀

              Liked by 1 person

              1. JenaPen says:

                You’re very welcome!

                Liked by 1 person

  5. floatinggold says:

    No matter where you’re from, I believe in never forgetting your roots. So it’s good that your parents taught you different languages and not just one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for you kind words <3, I agree remembering where your from. Learning both languages was very important to my parents, though, I can't read or write mandarin (apart from a few characters) – so this is something I would love to work on!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s been some years since college for me, but I do recall a central theme being people trying to figure out their identity and how to relate to people in the world. With that, you’re going to run into people that are just not good at it, and maybe never will be. I’d say, forget this person! You have an awesome and unique heritage and perspective on the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your insight! You’re right, uni is the place where people are finding themselves. Thank you so much, have a great day 🙂

      Like

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