Hey, thanks for the compliment on my sketches. I’m not offended that you’re asking if I’m Asian (and yes, I am Asian) but if you don’t mind, I’d like to politely ask why you feel the need to know? Do you think my race is relevant or necessary knowledge for viewing my artwork? Does knowing what race I am somehow enhance or detract from your experience in looking at my art? And if it does, can I ask you why?
I understand that you probably don’t mean anything malicious by sending me this ask and that for you, it’s a very innocuous question, but it’s important to me that I should inform you that there’s an inherent level of casual racism in the things you’re saying. You seem pretty preoccupied with whether or not I’m Asian and theorizing about my background — i.e. that I must’ve been born in Asia with limited access to fast food — when it has nothing to do with the contents of my blog (I mean, I literally post pictures I draw of fat bears with chiseled, tiny buttocks). I’m fairly confident that if I had a last name of European descent, you wouldn’t be asking me things like if I’m just visiting America.
Your implication that I must’ve been born in Asia because I have an Asian last name is more than a little racist. You can be Asian and born in America, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, you can actually be Asian and born in any number of countries that aren’t in Asia. I just want to point out that the subtext of you asking me if I’m from Asia is that you don’t think I can be American because I am not white, or because I don’t fit your idea of what an American should look like because of my last name and my “pointed eyes.” It’s the same exclusive attitude I deal with every time a white person tells me I “speak really good English,” when English is my first and only language.
I also want to point out that enjoying fast food isn’t exclusive to Americans. A lot of fast food chains that were started in the U.S. have become quite prominent in other countries (for example, China alone has more than 2,000 McDonalds). Maybe this isn’t how you intended it, but it seems like you’re focused on my enjoyment of Taco Bell because it doesn’t gel with the typical Asian stereotypes that people are familiar with or how you imagine Asians should act, when in reality, anyone of any descent can enjoy the heavenly combination of flavors and textures that a Chicken Chalupa Supreme bestows upon one’s palate.
I know I’ve written a lot more here than you were probably expecting, and I really hope you could give it some thought rather than write me off as being too touchy about race (as I think a lot of people are wont to do when the conversation turns to a discussion of racism). I know you didn’t mean any ill will in your original comment, which is why I thought it might actually be worth the effort to explain to you why your comment came off as racist when you weren’t trying to be. You seem like a nice enough person who is maybe just a little bit ignorant about how white privilege affects society’s perceptions of race and stereotypes, and how your words can come across. If you wanted to, I’m open to continuing this conversation in private messages, because I think it’s really important for people to be able to have a healthy discourse about race (or else nothing will ever change).