Sunday, August 05, 2007

More than Indian or Chinese

On July 22, 2005, police in London, England mistakenly killed a man because they thought he was a terrorist. People said the guy had an "Asian" appearance. On June 30, 2007, there was an attack at Glasgow International Airport in Scotland, and the suspects were also described as "Asian."

But wait.

Did they mean these guys looked Chinese? In America, if someone looks "Asian" it means they look "Chinese" (regardless of what ethnicity they actually are). But these events happened in the United Kingdom; when they said "Asian" they meant Indian (from India). The American media would never use the word "Asian" to describe people from India (maybe they would use the term "South Asian").

Most people will agree Filipinos are Asian, but I have never heard people use "Asian" to describe their appearances. In the US, Asian is generalized as Chinese. In the UK, Asian is generalised as Indian. In the Philippines there are people who look Chinese, Indian, or a mix of both, like boxer Manny Pacquiao (picture above).

"Asian" usually refers to Chinese or Indian, but it doesn't always mean people from China and India.

In the United States, "Asian" usually means people from here:

...Vietnamese, Japanese, and Koreans are generalized as "Chinese."

But in the UK, "Asian" is:

...Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh are also included.

I don't know what "Asian" means in Australia/NZ or Canada. If you are from those countries, please comment.

In any case, "Asian" more accurately means people from here:


1 comment:

Melba said...

Good post.