Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Does this girl look Asian?

I was browsing around on Flickr when I saw these pictures, and I noticed one of the tags the photographer put on these pictures was "Asian". Meaning: the photographer is saying "this girl is Asian."

But I thought to myself, "this girl doesn't look Asian."

Maybe this girl is mixed Asian with another ethnicity, but the other tags don't indicate that. It only says "Asian." Maybe the photographer knows this little girl and her ethnic background? Or maybe he or she didn't know the girl and just guessed? Why did the photographer tag these pictures "Asian"? If he/she didn't know her, did she really look Asian? I'm not saying: "this girl is definetely not Asian", I'm saying, she doesn't LOOK Asian TO ME. To me, she looks more Latina or South American, so it surprised me when I saw she was tagged as "Asian." If she's only part Asian, why isn't the rest of her heritage tagged?

Ok, you're probably wondering, "what's the big deal?" "does it matter what her race is?"

Unless I am completely wrong and this girl happens to be full-blooded Asian, this girl is either part Asian and part another race...or she isn't Asian at all. If she is part Asian, did the photographer know that? If he did, why didn't he/she tag the rest of her heritage? If not, why was she tagged "Asian"? If she isn't Asian at all, then the photographer was probably just guessing her race, but does she really look Asian?

My point is two things:

1. People have different perspectives of what an ethnicity looks like; I'm not saying the photographer was wrong and I'm right. I'm saying, if he/she was guessing her ethnicity, then it shows that people have different visual perceptions of a racial group.

2. Multiracial people are usually lumped into just 1 category. If this girl is mixed-race, then why weren't all of her ethnicities tagged? If she's Asian and another race, why is "Asian" the only one that's mentioned?

Many people are unaware that a human being can belong to more than one race. We aren't all just White, or just Black, or just Asian, just Latino, etc.

I know all of this is just random, harmless pictures on the Internet, but what if it were something worse? What if, instead of a photographer matching a race to someone's picture, it was a White supremacist matching a race to a potential victim? I might sound like I'm exaggerating, but we can't escape the reality that hate crimes still exist. Like I mentioned 3 days ago, this seemingly harmless process of guessing someone's ethnicity can potentially determine if you are murdered or not.

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