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Maciamo
26-07-05, 15:23
After the tube bombing in London, people are not more acutely aware of other passengers, and some do not mind changing carriage or wait for the next train if they see "suspicious" (i.e. South Asian or Middle-Eastern-looking) people sitting in their carriage.

BBC News : The discomfort of strangers (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4717251.stm)


...
Marcus, who says his family are Greek-Cypriot, has devised a strategy to avoid "odd looks" on the Tube (which he attributes to his Mediterranean appearance).

To make himself seem non-threatening, he now wears a Make Poverty History wristband and makes a point of reading the Economist.

"Whilst this sounds ridiculous it does reassure people around me. Of course, the whole thing is ridiculous but these are ridiculous times we are living in," he writes.

An Asian reader says fears about what people are thinking have stopped him carrying a rucksack.

"I do not take my rucksack to work anymore, which had my lunch and work shirt. I would rather wear a dirty shirt left at work than be looked at suspiciously. I also wear a T-shirt to work now, as I am afraid to wear too much, after the shooting," he writes.
...

I chose this article because I feel a certain similiarity between this new attitude of Londoners and how many Japanese people look at any foreign-looking person in their country. It is easy to guess what people are thinking from the way they look at you or behave around you. Some people are more receptive to these body signals than others. I am particularily sensitive to them.

I admit that I have felt times and again the way described by the Greek and Asian passengers above in Tokyo. The main differences is that the Japanese do not feel guilty about looking suspiciously at foreigners because they are not looking for a potential terrorist from a blacklisted country, but already looked at any foreigner (Caucasian, Middle-Eastern, African, South Asian or other East Asian) with suspicion well before 9/11 and the rerrorist paranoia. Nowadays, it may be true that they fear a bit more Middle-Eastern or Pakistani people, but there are very few of them in Japan anyway.

Usually, older Japanese people and children tend to be the most suspicious - old Japanese women being the worst. I was reminded today with all the typhoon warnings on TV and people urged by their companies to go back home earlier by fear of being stuck in a typhoon that was nothing more than a normal rainy day by Northern European standard, that Japanese people are a fearful bunch - some outrightly coward.

So yes, I do sympathise with these Middle-Eastern and South Asian looking Londoners giving distrustful looks. To avoid suspicious looks as much as I can in Tokyo, I have come to realise that wearing a suit, hanging with Japanese people, and NOT riding a bicycle (a sure way to get looks saying "hey here is a foreign bicycle thief yaro !") are good ways to reduce the tension engendered by being a tall, blue-eyed Caucasian in Japan.

lonesoullost3
26-07-05, 16:23
So yes, I do sympathise with these Middle-Eastern and South Asian looking Londoners giving distrustful looks. To avoid suspicious looks as much as I can in Tokyo, I have come to realise that wearing a suit, hanging with Japanese people, and NOT riding a bicycle (a sure way to get looks saying "hey here is a foreign bicycle thief yaro !") are good ways to reduce the tension engendered by being a tall, blue-eyed Caucasian in Japan.

The bicycle aspect is interesting, I never thought of that before.

It is very unfortunate that people now have so much distrust of each other. This is exactly what terrorists want. I must hand it to the people interviewed in the article for being so understanding and cognizant of the situation. They have acted calmly instead of being irritated and angry at people for treating them as they are being treated. It takes a certain strength of character to go through such a situation.

No-name
26-07-05, 16:27
I used to get followed around in certain stores, not to be helped, but to be watched. (Based on some weird foreign looking half Japanese prejudice perhaps?) Once way back in college, my friend Van, who is African American, and I went into a music store in Westwood. He said, "Watch this." and went upstairs where the Jazz section was. All four store employees followed him, pretending to straighten up stuff, but not asking him if he needed help. They left me alone downstairs. I could have loaded up a cart with records and tapes and walked off unnoticed. Van thought it was funny. I thought it wasn't and wanted to talk to the manager. Apparently it happens a lot and "you have to get used to it."

I had one instance where a guy wouldn't rent me a bicycle on Catalina Island, and muttered "dirty Mexicans" as I walked away. And another out in Cherry Valley, Illinois where my wife and I got left at a movie theater and when we tried to talk to anybody they all ran away.

I used to work at Snow Valley during winter break, and workers there would constantly complain about "Orientals" (obviously not recognizing that I'm not Mexican, I'm Japanese.) How they drove, what they drove, how much money they had, that they sometimes couldn't speak English or had an accent...

I'm off to New Orleans now. Wondering if I will get strange stares.

Tsuyoiko
26-07-05, 16:45
My Dad is thinking about shaving his beard off after 35 years - I have never seen him without it :( . He has olive skin, black hair and his beard is greying black, and he is worried that it makes him look Middle Eastern.

Just to mention non-racial prejudice, my husband is constantly treated funny because of his appearance. He has very short hair, a stubbly chin and wears boots and an ex-army coat. In the UK that means you are a thug. Staff in shops are really rude to him - they double check everything and are really short and snappy. One time someone stood in front of the credit card machine to stop him seeing this woman typing in her pin! I know he could prevent this by changing the way he looks, but he would rather challenge their prejudice by his actions. Anyway, his short hair disguises the fact he is going bald! :D

Rich303
26-07-05, 18:32
I think lots of people in all sorts of places can be judgemental.
I work in quite a posh building opposite parliament and we have this one particular 'security guard' (just sits at a desk).
At first I thought he was just a bit shy because he was really awkward around me and didn't like to say hello.
However, I soon noticed that he was OK with the bods in suits,and the women.
He obviously doesn't think I'm worthy because of how I look.
Oh well, now I just ignore him and don't make the effort, tosser.

- Rich303

No-name
26-07-05, 19:26
Anyway, his short hair disguises the fact he is going bald! :D


LOL...It is far better and more dignified than a "comb over."

lexico
26-07-05, 19:33
Well, the plight of those who look different never ends, does it ?
I was followed around by ALL the kids in the neighborhood for a month since moving in... not friendly at all.
But I got to be good friends with all of them with the exception of one kid who must have been taught to be a racist; so my different looks was't all that was involved. Back then even in CA there were very few Asians in my school. There were maybe a dozen Chinese, several Japanese, but I was the only Korean. Almost all my friends were caucasian due to the extreme rarity of Asians. Being in a less-than-1% minority can be a scary thing at frst. :D
It was rather sad to see some Korean immigrant males succumbing to the ghetto mentality. There is a big divide between that and being whitewashed.

smoke
26-07-05, 19:59
I feel a great sense of guilt when i am suspicious of others...this has only come about since 7/7.
I have yet to ride the tube (not through fear, but through not needing to) but on buses i have 'looked people up and down' but if i'm honest, only people carrying rucksacks and, i'm ashamed to say, of middle eastern origin.
I live in a very diverse area with numerous nationalities so 'foreigners' are common to me and always have been.
I know that beening suspicious of middle eastern people is ridiculous because anybody can become an extremeist. I'm sure then are plenty of 'white' people who support the attacks on London in the last few weeks and all the other attacks across the globe (especailly after the war in Iraq).

No-name
26-07-05, 20:15
I don't think it is an irrational fear to give every young mideastern male with a rucksack a second look on the bus or tube- precisely because you are looking for people that fit that description. It is irrational if you let this color how you feel about each and every mideasterner you know or might meet.

smoke
27-07-05, 21:41
I don't think it is an irrational fear to give every young mideastern male with a rucksack a second look on the bus or tube- precisely because you are looking for people that fit that description. It is irrational if you let this color how you feel about each and every mideasterner you know or might meet.
True.
However, speaking of descriptions...this may not always be the case, lets face it, anybody (ignoring colour, race etc) could be a terrorist. There is no definitive description of a terrorist. Like with any other crime, you can't judge one man (or woman) from the next.

No-name
27-07-05, 22:34
Just don't shoot first and ask questions later....

Did you hear about the Pakistani buisnessmen- they were on a flight to Europe and I guess two were in first class and one was in coach. They kept walking back and forth and the passengers and flight crew got so nervous that the Captain landed in Maine and took them off the plane. After FBI questioning, they went on a different flight.

Kinsao
28-07-05, 10:12
I'm really sad that people are so suspicious :souka: I guess people just think they take care, but of course it's true that terrorists could be any nationality. My ex was middle Eastern (living in London) and he got beaten up once because of it. (This was a few years ago.)

Berkut
25-03-09, 18:06
I used to get followed around in certain stores, not to be helped, but to be watched. (Based on some weird foreign looking half Japanese prejudice perhaps?) Once way back in college, my friend Van, who is African American, and I went into a music store in Westwood. He said, "Watch this." and went upstairs where the Jazz section was. All four store employees followed him, pretending to straighten up stuff, but not asking him if he needed help. They left me alone downstairs. I could have loaded up a cart with records and tapes and walked off unnoticed. Van thought it was funny. I thought it wasn't and wanted to talk to the manager. Apparently it happens a lot and "you have to get used to it."

I had one instance where a guy wouldn't rent me a bicycle on Catalina Island, and muttered "dirty Mexicans" as I walked away. And another out in Cherry Valley, Illinois where my wife and I got left at a movie theater and when we tried to talk to anybody they all ran away.

I used to work at Snow Valley during winter break, and workers there would constantly complain about "Orientals" (obviously not recognizing that I'm not Mexican, I'm Japanese.) How they drove, what they drove, how much money they had, that they sometimes couldn't speak English or had an accent...

I'm off to New Orleans now. Wondering if I will get strange stares.


I think anyone can be ostrazised based upon prejudice, anywhere. Even the most liberal societies have issues. Being a white, American of European extraction, I too have experienced prejudice. Although I often didn't feel it was malicious it was exceptionally isolating. I worked in China for a year off and on. I would say of all the places I visited I never felt so alone and isolated as in China. Children would not look at me, parents would pull children away (this is in remote parts of the country) or stare. It was never hostile but I often heard the phrase "Foreign Devil" uttered from some of the older people. However if I was in a group of foreigners my treatment was much different. The other time was in Africa. I worked in Congo for a few months and there was always referred to as "White Man", White devil. I travelled far into the bush on one occasion to help a missionary deliver medical equipment as a favor. while we were standing by the airplane women and children came out of the village and started to throw rocks and mud at us. Finally one of our local contacts yelled at them. Apparently someone's livestock had died that morning and someone said it was because the White's were there. Was I angry?, no not really these people have suffered at the hands of the "Whites" for a long time so annimosity I can understand but the isolation even after many knew me was hard to take. But it can go from the color of your skin to National prejudices - travel around Europe and you see the local prejudices - the French complain about the Germans and British, the Brittish about the French and Continentals, Germans about the French and Italians, etc etc. It's human nature. Where I live we have a particular distrust of those from Urban areas (i.e. New York and New Jersey) - I think it's basic human nature you ridicule what you see as a threat or different.

Minty
27-01-12, 05:13
I think anyone can be ostrazised based upon prejudice, anywhere. Even the most liberal societies have issues. Being a white, American of European extraction, I too have experienced prejudice. Although I often didn't feel it was malicious it was exceptionally isolating. I worked in China for a year off and on. I would say of all the places I visited I never felt so alone and isolated as in China. Children would not look at me, parents would pull children away (this is in remote parts of the country) or stare. It was never hostile but I often heard the phrase "Foreign Devil" uttered from some of the older people. However if I was in a group of foreigners my treatment was much different. The other time was in Africa. I worked in Congo for a few months and there was always referred to as "White Man", White devil. I travelled far into the bush on one occasion to help a missionary deliver medical equipment as a favor. while we were standing by the airplane women and children came out of the village and started to throw rocks and mud at us. Finally one of our local contacts yelled at them. Apparently someone's livestock had died that morning and someone said it was because the White's were there. Was I angry?, no not really these people have suffered at the hands of the "Whites" for a long time so annimosity I can understand but the isolation even after many knew me was hard to take. But it can go from the color of your skin to National prejudices - travel around Europe and you see the local prejudices - the French complain about the Germans and British, the Brittish about the French and Continentals, Germans about the French and Italians, etc etc. It's human nature. Where I live we have a particular distrust of those from Urban areas (i.e. New York and New Jersey) - I think it's basic human nature you ridicule what you see as a threat or different.

I have two friends exchanging in China. I asked them whether things are ok with them. May I ask how old are you? Where in China have you worked? With China, young people are a lot more open minded than old people who blame the white and Japanese for what happened to China. I thought people in Africa see all white people as rich people and would try to friends with you to would try to get benefits from you, but then again I never been in Africa so what do I know.

Minty
29-07-16, 17:44
After the tube bombing in London, people are not more acutely aware of other passengers, and some do not mind changing carriage or wait for the next train if they see "suspicious" (i.e. South Asian or Middle-Eastern-looking) people sitting in their carriage.

BBC News : The discomfort of strangers (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4717251.stm)



I chose this article because I feel a certain similiarity between this new attitude of Londoners and how many Japanese people look at any foreign-looking person in their country. It is easy to guess what people are thinking from the way they look at you or behave around you. Some people are more receptive to these body signals than others. I am particularily sensitive to them.

I admit that I have felt times and again the way described by the Greek and Asian passengers above in Tokyo. The main differences is that the Japanese do not feel guilty about looking suspiciously at foreigners because they are not looking for a potential terrorist from a blacklisted country, but already looked at any foreigner (Caucasian, Middle-Eastern, African, South Asian or other East Asian) with suspicion well before 9/11 and the rerrorist paranoia. Nowadays, it may be true that they fear a bit more Middle-Eastern or Pakistani people, but there are very few of them in Japan anyway.

Usually, older Japanese people and children tend to be the most suspicious - old Japanese women being the worst. I was reminded today with all the typhoon warnings on TV and people urged by their companies to go back home earlier by fear of being stuck in a typhoon that was nothing more than a normal rainy day by Northern European standard, that Japanese people are a fearful bunch - some outrightly coward.

So yes, I do sympathise with these Middle-Eastern and South Asian looking Londoners giving distrustful looks. To avoid suspicious looks as much as I can in Tokyo, I have come to realise that wearing a suit, hanging with Japanese people, and NOT riding a bicycle (a sure way to get looks saying "hey here is a foreign bicycle thief yaro !") are good ways to reduce the tension engendered by being a tall, blue-eyed Caucasian in Japan.

I have a friend who is half Japanese half French, he said that he tried to spend a month living in Japan, and they made remarks about him that made him feel uncomfortable. He looks like a Turk.

Having an East Asian looking appearance also cause similar reactions you experienced in japan for me in Europe. People tend to fuss over my origins. Even in Australia where Asian populations are much higher I once had an Indian person who asked me where am I really from?

I think, if you don't have the phenotype physical appearances of that region, you will get people bothering you about it. C'est la vie...

Minty
14-11-16, 16:10
I have been doing some reading about racism and I came across this blog:

http://rubyronin.com/being-half-asian-in-china-and-japan/

Yeah it is interesting what she says, but it matches well with what my half Japanese half French's comments about how he was treated in Japan when he was a boy hence he let go of his Japanese culture. He feels that he does not fit in anywhere. I sometimes think if he looks more like a white person he would have been accepted more like an European and if he looks more Japanese he would have been accepted more over there.

Although I am full blooded Han, I have parents who come from two different countries. Malaysia and Taiwan and when I am in Malaysia they would labelled me as Taiwanese and when I am in Taiwan they would do the same. Some annoying Taiwanese people would even criticise my mom who married an overseas born Chinese. Many Chinese folks in Malaysia will take the mainland Chinese side and call Taiwanese folks a Japanese ghosts. My mother would say once you gave away a child for adoption to another culture, do you think you can still claim the child back? Do you think the child is still the same child as before? My culture is intermixed so I understand how he feels and how author feels in her blog.

When I meet Taiwanese people they tried to correct my Mandarin because it is not exactly like theirs, then there are those mainland Chinese who love to correct me trying to turn me into them. When I refuse they ask me stupid questions like don't you have any Chinese friends? Well, the answer is a few, if they don't get on my nerves.

My mentality is quite different from a typical Asian, after all I have been westernised for a very long time. I often meet Asian people who tried to copy me but failed. They failed to join any French group, without my presence. After all our education is very different, I am Australian (Malaysian born Chinese) and they are directly from some where in Asia and coming to France to studying a French degree. How can we be the same? However, many of them failed to understand this.

The French have improved their knowledge of Asian people. They asked less ignorant questions as they once did. Or perhaps my French is now fluent and is capable to making them understand that those questions are not wise.

I think anybody who lives a life in between cultures will have these problems, but the positive thing in life is not to let annoying people bother you, in time they will understand you are indeed different from them. Especially when they failed to get into companies you get into and degrees you can do and they can't. Education divides people more than race. People are more alike if they have similar education than their similarities in phenotype.