Saturday, September 16, 2006

Racism from a non-racist attack

This week, there was a school shooting in Canada (Montreal) and the shooter was a 25-year-old Canadian man. Hold on...what image did you get when I said "Canadian man"? Did you imagine a White guy? Most likely you did, because many people assume "Canadian = White".

The Dawson College killer was Kimveer Gill, which is a name that could be interpreted as mixed-race because it sounds ethnically unclear. Shortly after the shooting, a witness was being interviewed and he was asked what race the shooter was. He shrugged and said "White"...he said it as if it didn't matter what race the killer was.

It turns out Gill's heritage is Indian (from India) and he was born in Canada. He posted some pictures of himself on the Internet (which have since been taken down), and he does look somewhat mixed-race. However, he is technically Asian (because India's in Asia), one witness said he was White, and on one of his photos, someone made a comment calling him a Middle Eastern terrorist.

So...a witness thought he was White, an angry person on the Internet thought he's Arabic, but in reality, he's Asian. The shooting is believed to be random violence, and not a racist or terrorist attack. Yet when people see what he looks like or learn what his ethnicity is, some of them immediately make racist comments. Some of them start thinking it WAS racist or terrorist, even when the attack itself wasn't.

All of this shows that people usually assume that individual humans can only belong to one race. The witness who said that he was White, was responding to a question of whether Gill was "White, Black, (or) Asian". White, Black, Asian? You mean there's no in-between? Of course there is! Now, let's say Kimveer Gill WAS mixed-race instead of only Indian. Let's say he was White, Black, AND Asian (yes, that's genetically possible). Would there still be racist comments towards him? There definitely would be, but what?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tom Cruise might be Asian

When I saw pictures of Tom Cruise's new-born daughter, Suri Cruise, the first thing I noticed was how Asian she looks. That's remarkable if you consider that neither of her parents are known to be Asian, and I'm not the only who thinks Suri Cruise looks Asian, as you can see from this news website in China:


Since she's the daughter of well-known Hollywood stars, it's likely that she will become famous herself. And it certainly looks like it, since she's only 4 months old and she's already on the cover of Vanity Fair and even has a whole issue about her. Whether or not she does become famous, maybe she will make people think twice about what it means to be "White" as well as what race and ethnicity mean.

People who haven't seen pictures of Suri would assume that she's just another White baby, and what kind of image does "White baby" create in people's minds? Certainly nothing that looks like Suri Cruise. As you can see on comment #13 on this page about Suri, which says:

Now I understand completely why her name is Suri. It's short for surrogate. Suri is part Asian and there is no doubt about it. Check out those eyes and head of hair. Not a Caucasian baby you can't fool me.

"Not a Caucasian baby"?? "There's no doubt about it"??!! Then what does a Caucasian baby LOOK LIKE!? Obviously, whoever wrote that comment has some stereotypical image of White people in their head.

Now a part of me wants Suri Cruise to grow up and become very famous, so that her Asian features will be in the minds of every American some day. And the fact that people will know she's the daughter of Tom Cruise (who looks White) will hopefully make people think more about race and ethnicity; make people think more about the diversity of White people.

It's rare people like Suri Cruise, who isn't mixed-race (ostensibly) but still looks like a different race than her parents, who will hopefully make people think twice about what race looks like. Hopefully she will become so famous that she destroys the stereotype that White people can't look Asian. And at 4 months old, it looks like she's already started.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Muslims are not a race

In honor of the 5th anniversary of 9/11, the San Francisco Chronicle has a story about how Muslims are victims of racial stereotypes, even though Islam is a religion and not a race.

Middle Eastern people aren't the only ones suffering this kind of racism. Like the article says:

A new racial stereotype is emerging in America. Brown-skinned men with beards and women with head scarves are seen as "Muslims" -- regardless of their actual faith or nationality.


Monday, September 04, 2006

Mixed-race people won't "survive"

The new season of Survivor is going to divide the contestants by race. There's going to be 4 groups: White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian. Obviously this isn't very nice to people who belong to more than one race. They could have AT LEAST had one group of mixed-race individuals. What were they thinking?? People around the world are going to see this and then they'll think that mixed-race is impossible. And yes, there are people in the world--even in the United States--who have never heard of mixed-race.

Oh and what happens at the end of this season of Survivor? Whichever racial group wins, it's going to support some stereotype. If the White group wins, the Neo-Nazis, KKK, and all those supremacy groups will be all over it. If the Black group wins, people are going to talk about how they're good at athletics. Or if the Asian groups wins, someone might say something about the Japanese in World War II.

Whoever wins, their race will somehow be associated with their victory. And mixed-race people will be completely ignored.

Friday, September 01, 2006

"Asian" girl (part 2)

This is related to a previous post I made.

I saw this picture on a stock photos archive, and the caption said "Young Hispanic girl doing homework on the floor." But if you look at the tags below, you'll see the words "Asian ethnicity." Apparently someone couldn't decide whether this girl is Hispanic/Latino or they put both.

(Click on the picture to see what I'm talking about)