Today, I found myself idly wondering about what sort of racial stereotype I best fall into. As an Australian, I am supposed to base my humour around crude racial stereotypes. That is our modus operandi. Even our former PM was a big fan of this time-honoured comedic tradition.
However, as a half-Filipino who has grown up as an anime fan in Australia, I don’t fit neatly into any of the racial boxes. Or, perhaps more accurately, the boxes I get fit into are different depending on who is judging me. When I was in high school, my predominantly white classmates referred to me as “the Asian”, and sometimes I get strangers asking me what country I’m from. Some people even think I’m Latin American. But to Filipinos, I’m white as Jon Snow, only with an Aussie accent.
I’m a tourist in my own countr(ies), forever an outsider looking in. I’m hardly the only one like this. No human being fits neatly into the boxes they get placed into.
Not that this stops the human tendency to create boxes. This has its obvious downsides, but for better or worse, boxes and labels have their uses. They’re good for shorthand. They make it easier to distinguish between different types of people. They’re the stuff that wars are made of.
They’re also good for demographics studies.
And that is why, my dear readers, I am going to ask you to fit yourself into a few boxes for me today. There aren’t that many questions, and obviously you don’t have to answer if you don’t to, but if you’re willing to share, please tell me more about yourself!
Note that this question is asking about your gender identity, not your biological sex.
English is the native language of only a handful of countries. (Note: English as a “native” language isn’t always the same thing as English as an “official” language.) However, lots of people on the internet are using English as a second language and it would be unfair to ignore them. I know that most of you reading this would probably be very good at English, but international English isn’t the same as Australian English. Depending on the answers I get for this question, I may simplify the language I use on this blog.
My blog stats tell me what countries my readers come from, but they don’t tell me about identity. A poll representing each ethnicity would be too big and cumbersome, so I’m just interested in knowing how you feel about your identity. According to the stats, most of my blog visitors are from the United States, but the States are filled with people of different cultural backgrounds and not everyone is a permanent resident. Simply knowing where you are currently living doesn’t tell me anything significant about you.
The other reason I’m interested in polling my readers is because I’m aware that blog readerships tend to be self-selecting. Does that mean my readers are people who resemble me, demographics-wise? It’s an interesting thing to explore. I am pretty sure that my circle of Anitwitter skews young, male, university-educated and socially liberal (in other words, pretty much exactly like me), but what about my blog readers? Not everyone who follows me on Twitter reads my blog and vice versa.
There’s also the question of how much my blog demographics matches up with popular anime sites like, say, Reddit. This is a niche blog, but does it cater to a demographic outside the usual suspects when it comes to anime fans? Somehow I doubt it, but we’ll see.
I’m not sure what exactly I’d do with the knowledge of who I’m appealing to, but I wouldn’t mind trying new approaches. As always, I’m open to suggestions and hearing what you think.
To finish off this post, here’s one more question… for science.
Such a creeper, Frog-kun, what will you do with all of this data???
Build a rocket and fly to the moon, of course
Sad nobody chose Eli… I voted for Honoka, though…
Well, looks like two people have voted for Eli now. Getting there…
Heh, I seem to fit most (if not all) of the “typical Anitwitter” boxes you mentioned. And while English isn’t technically my first language, I’d say I’m about as fluent as anyone (American English, but I’ve never noticed an issue with cultural quirks in your writing).
Cool to see the results, have fun with them!
Looks like all you need to do is shitweet about Symphogear and you will be ONE OF US ONE OF US ONE OF US
IdolM@ster is the best Love Live.
Noooooo AKB0048 is the best Love Live
I thought Tatsuya was best Love Live
You got me.
5 other Honkers votes! Not such a bad blog after all!
Were you under any delusion that this WASN’T a quality blog?
No, it’s just nice confirmation.
Being Asian myself, of course there is a stereotype that they are horrible at English, can’t drive well, lack social skills and are very smart. Of course, I know English well enough and while I didn’t do so great in high school, I did a lot better in college. Still, I don’t seem to fit in the anitwitter stereotypes at all… besides, I generally prefer blogging and forums more than social networking.
As for Love Live, while I enjoyed the Anime quite a lot, of course the girls from the Idolmaster are automatically better.
I wonder what the anitwitter stereotypes are supposed to be, besides the “young educated dude” part which I mentioned in the post. A fondness for facetious jokes? A tendency to get mad over silly Twitter drama? Heh, that’s everyone on social media lol.
I haven’t seen Idolm@ster (I know, shame on me), but AKB0048 is probably my favourite idol show. I’ve never been that keen on the genre overall though.
I too am Asian. Well, to be more precise I’m half Japanese on my mother’s side. So I’m a Half-Japanese American who lives in the South. And I won’t lie it is something that I like to think is one of the few things I’m proud of about myself. Though, I suppose it is a bit more complicated but I’ve never thought about a whole lot.
I don’t know if I’ve ever fallen into any sterotypes or face any kind of prejudice, nut then again I prefer to keep to myself so who knows.
As for the Love Live poll, I’m not voting as I have never seen it. So probably best not to get involved in that.
It’s cool to meet another half! It’s nice to be proud of your heritage :)
As for prejudice, I think everyone experiences it differently. Not all stereotypes are malicious, like the stereotype about Asians being smart. And even if people form kneejerk impressions of others based on a stereotype, they’re not always going to act like it. So it’s complicated.
I myself have not experienced any overt racism, No one has ever told me that I don’t belong or that I should go back to the country I came from. The worst I experience is when people assume that I won’t “get” their inside knowledge because I’m not part of their in-group. Because of subtle things like that, I feel excluded sometimes. It’s kind of a lonely feeling.
Funny how you mentioned “socially liberal”. The correct word would be “between socially liberal and anarchism.”
Oh, but don’t worry! You’re one of the only few anime blogs of choice!
Also, is it me or only we young men have that much time to burn on anime? It’s a costly hobby, anyway.
lol I don’t think many of the people in my circle are anarchists. Maybe closer to socialists/Marxists?
Also, funny thing about young men. On average, men have more free time than women. They tend not to have so many social commitments. These are Australian statistics, but it could be similar in your country as well: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/ABS@.nsf/Latestproducts/4153.0Main%20Features22006
As an American, I’m not sure how any ethnicity could match my nationality (or how the two are at all related). So I put no, but I’m guessing this may not have been what you were going for?
Actually, that’s kinda the point. Is there really such a thing as an “American ethnicity”? There’s a widespread belief that some kinds of American-born citizens are more “American” than others, but that’s not the same thing as ethnicity. Since ethnicity and nationality are so hard to define, I was more interested in how people feel about it, not what it is. But it’s sorta hard to get that with a simple poll with only three responses lol.
I am Italian and white and confused about it for exactly the opposite reason: there isn’t any strong ethnicity-nationality correlation of any sort with our country. We’re mostly white but, like… as much generically white-ish as possible. Some of us are blonde and a bit northern-like in looks, others like me are dark enough in skin and hair we can easily be mistaken for middle-easterners. Courtesy of many invasions from pretty much everyone else in Europe and the Mediterranean through history, I guess. Then of course in the last decades we had this huge influx of immigration, so now we’re pretty much of all sorts, though it’ll take a while to settle and there’s definitely less black people than, say, in France or in the UK.
Italian racism has always been a total joke, because as far as a ship could travel in the Middle Ages, well, everyone came around to sow their seeds in our country. We’re as far from an ethnically well-defined people as you can be. Which really makes the question meaningless to me (the fact that I never had reason to identify strongly with my ethnicity since that was not a social factor during my childhood years and that I definitely have many things that would not identify me as “Italian” in the most stereotypical sense muddles the waters even more).
Kamusta? :D Didn’t know you were half-Filipino :) Also didn’t know that you had a twitter. As a guy who’s drifted between cultures, I know the feeling :P Looking forward to more of your work :)
Yup, I’m half-Filipino! Also, I’m glad to know that someone else understands how I feel sometimes. Thanks for commenting!
Not ever actually having watched Love Live… :)
Yup… I knew it. I knew this will be the top choice here.
Just wanna drop by and say “Hello. I’m an Umi fan. And glad to see she’s doing well in the poll! :D “
I noticed her suddenly jump in the polls… was that your doing?
Is multiple voting even possible with polldaddy?
You can game the system by voting from multiple computers, yes.
Eh, I only have one–my laptop. :v
Those are probably legitimate votes!
Oh I didn’t realise you’re Australian! I am too! Although I’m a “typical” Australian in that I come from First Fleet blood.
I actually grew up in the NT, and in my home town there is a very large Filipino population, so I guess I’ve never really considered Aussies with an Asian appearance as “Asian” because I grew up around so many classmates with a Filipino background (sorry, this is more of a reply to your other post). I never realised other people did until my best friend, who’s half-Thai, pointed it out to me that she sometimes feels like she stands out in Australian culture, but is “too white” for Thai culture. I guess it’s to be expected with a multi-cultural society, though, although it’ll be nice if it was respected a bit more in Australia.
Ah, Tony Abbott. So much cringe.
Awesome to meet a fellow Australian!
Australia is a multicultural society, but it’s never been good at handling all the different cultures. There’s this gap between the multiculturalism you encounter in daily life and the public institutions, which are predominantly white. Australians are also not that knowledgeable about Asian countries, despite the fact that there are so many Asians living here. It’s one thing to be friends with a Filipino, another thing to understand their history, society and culture, you know? I’m not implying that you don’t get that, because you clearly do, but the lack of education in those topics is one of those barriers that stops us from being the multicultural society we’re supposed to be.
Where in Australia do you live? I’m all the way over in little Perth.
Yeah, I pretty much agree with you. We’re not so good with the multiculturalism stuff, but at least we are getting better with every generation. Or at least I think so. It’s the sort of thing where a whole lot of factors play into it, and it’s not just a case of education, but rather growing acceptance and understanding. There’s not as much institutionalised racism as what there used to be, but, as you said, it’s definitely still there.
Full Asian Aussie reporting in. While I’m all for greater understanding of Asian cultures, I think there is a very big limit on how much it can achieve. In my opinion, young educated Australians have a good understanding of Asian cultures, but, for example, no matter how well versed they are, that doesn’t mean I can make off handed references to the romance of the 3 kingdoms. Different cultural background necessitates a cultural divide between people that isn’t easy to bridge, and probably impossible to make it disappear. I’m not sure if I want it to disappear either. It’s an important part of my identity, and other people who don’t have my cultural background have no reason to value the things I value becuase of that.
I think that “too white” is the wrong way to think about it. You’re are half asian, so your partial “whiteness” becomes a natural focus when thinking about the issue of how to reconciliation different cultures. However, I have not a drop of white blood in me. Yet I have spent most of my childhood in Australia. When I go to Hong Kong, I cannot write, thing are done differently then I’m used to, I speak slowly because the right word is difficult to find. Am I “too white” for to be a Hong Konger? Physically you won’t see much of a difference. Am I “too Asian” to be Australian? I eat different food, don’t like the beach, the sun and the surf, often don’t understand cultural references unless they are explained to me. I also spent a lot of time online, interacting with people all around the world and reading articles that interests me. Sometimes I find myself throwing memes around in day to day conversations, and how I think about the world is heavily influenced by my media consumption, most of which are from the internet
So what, culturally, what country am I? At this stage, it makes no sense to even define my cultural identity on the basis of countries.
A very interesting topic. I understand what you mean in being a tourist in your own countries. I was born in South Korea, raised in Philippines from nursery to middle-school, completed high-school in Germany, doing university in Canada, and working in Japan during winter and summer breaks. I often even forget what country I am from until my parents reminds me or when I check my passport.
When I go to South Korea during vacations, I feel very out of place (I can’t speak Korean properly and I speak English with a European accent). They all just look at me and try their best to avoid having any interaction with me due to thinking that it would be difficult… So lonely….
As for experiencing discrimination. I look a lot more Japanese (I am a quarter Chinese, quarter Japanese, and half Korean) then Korean so I sometimes get angry looks from old people during nights. I even got stopped in the Korean airport few years ago due to looking like a Japanese during the Senkaku Island disputes. However, I couldn’t help myself from smiling from their shocked expression when they checked my passport.
I have a weakness for Danderes and Kuuderes. Especially the short haired ones. That was why I picked Hanayo.
Wow, that’s really interesting. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I remember hearing similar stories from some Japanese people who grew up outside Japan and never learned to speak the language. I think Japan is one of those countries that, like Korea, ties language to national identity. I never had this experience as a half-Filipino who doesn’t speak Tagalog very well, because most Filipinos speak excellent English and code switch all the time.
Good choice with Hanayo. She’s very cute.
Anyway, I don’t think it all matters. When was the last time you saw a Malaysian in anime or whatever Western media is there?
And then there’s the fact that three races constitute most of Malaysia: Malays, Chinese and Indians. Despite what people say, Malaysian Indians and Chinese are not like Indian Indians or Chinese Chinese if you get me.
If anything, I feel my Islamic faith is more represented in media, for better or for worse. I chose “it’s complicated” because SE Asians are barely represented in media unless their Filipino and it’s more complicated because the Ummah makes up 23% of humanity and there’s a lot of diversity and beauty because of it.
So yeah, this it’s complicated.
PS: Love Life is bad and you should feel bad.
I wonder if it’s possible for ethnicity to not match your country in Brazil. I’d probably get weird looks if I looked east Asian. Everything else seems really common.
“Do you feel that your ethnicity matches your nationality?”
For a Brazilian like me this is weird. In fact, I only started thinking about ethnicity when I started learning English… In Brazil we don’t think about people as different groups like “Asian”, “Indian”, “Jew”, “Black”, “White”, “Native American”, etc. I didn’t even know people from other countries cared about those things.
As long you’re born in Brazil, you’re Brazilian. An “Asian” is a person who as born in Asia and nothing more (actually, an “Asian” would be a “gringo” here. There are only two kind of people here: Brazilians and gringos. If you’re not Brazilian, you’re a gringo – but being gringo is cool, because Brazilians see people from other countries as divine beings who must be treated with respect, since they all came from some fancy country to this shit hole here – and yes, Brazilians think every single country is in the entrie planet better than Brazil, even North Korea. Really, the first thing Brazilians ask gringos is “why the fuck did you decide to come here? Are you insane? Do you wanna get raped or die from a stray bullet?”.
So you may look Japanese as hell, both your parents are Japanese, but if were born in Brazil, well, you’re out of luck… You’re not Asian or Japanese anymore, you’re Brazilian, on other words, you’re fucked because you’re a product of a fucked up third world country. You become an asshole like we all are here and you’re not gonna be treated as a gringo, but as one of us, in other words, we’re all gonna try to f…. in the a…
Brazil is a nice country, I’ll tell you that.