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Old 8th November 2019, 01:50 PM   #81
Vixen
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Hang on, if I'm the one being mistaken for a race/nationality I don't belong to, wasn't the premise that this was racist against me? (No it's not.)

And my point was that having someone innocently mistake me for German is not racist hate, and it is insulting to those (such as the boy you refer to) who are the victims of actual racist hate.
You said when in Germany people approach you in German and you think it's because they think you are German. I doubt it. In Germany it just so happens to be the default language.
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Old 8th November 2019, 02:01 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Then your own statement becomes racist, the "they look Asian". And in the UK (just to illustrate how silly and how much of a social construct most uses of the word "race" are) "asians" in the UK will generally refer to looking like someone from India or Pakistan not China or Korea and so on.
This was one of the weirder things I struck on my OE to the UK

Here "asian" doesn't encompass Indian or Pakistani

They are Indian or Pakistani

Just a quirk of the way the language morphs in different countries I guess
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Old 8th November 2019, 02:37 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
It is not racist to get someone's nationality wrong.
But that's not the point theprestige is making. From skimming this thread, it looks a lot to me like this discussion is getting bogged down heavily by people conflating race and nationality. Is guessing a wrong nationality racist? Obviously not, but race and nationality aren't the same thing. Nor are they intrinsically tied to one another. Assuming someone must be from a certain country because of their appearance is absolutely racist (or prejudiced, ignorant, or something other related term - I'll fully admit the language about this kind of thing is messy and imprecise), because it's an assumption based on stereotypes of appearance. It doesn't matter whether it's based in hated or discrimination (there are plenty of "positive" stereotypes that annoy people, too), it's a matter of making assumptions and essentializing people based on stereotypes tied to how they look. Even if you don't want to use the word "racism" it can't be hard to see how assuming someone must be a Chinese national because they look a certain way is a problematic assumption, for the simple fact that Asian-looking people don't just live in China. A person that looks east Asian could easily be the citizen of anywhere. Saying that a person must be Chinese because they look Asian isn't really any different to me that saying they must be good at math because they look Asian.

I'd feel just as weird if they found the body of a person with red hair and freckles and put out a statement that the person must have been Irish. Or, for a more comedic example less tied to ethnicity, think of the subplot in In Bruges where one of the main characters insults and eventually assaults a (Canadian) family he assumes is American, because they're loud, aggressive, and overweight. It's about making a judgement about what a person must be like (or where they must be from) based on superficial traits. Maybe I'm missing something, but this seems like an incredibly simple point to me, and it's strange seeing so many people completely miss it.

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Old 8th November 2019, 03:03 PM   #84
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
... Is guessing a wrong nationality racist? Obviously not
OK

Quote:
Assuming someone must be from a certain country because of their appearance is absolutely racist (or prejudiced, ignorant, or something other related term - I'll fully admit the language about this kind of thing is messy and imprecise)
How does the difference between a guess and assumption make such a huge difference?
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Old 8th November 2019, 03:24 PM   #85
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Well, I think it's racist. Any time you look at the color of someone's skin and apply a nationality to them, you're stereotyping them based on the color of their skin (for example).

"But that's not what racism is." Whatever. You're stereotyping based on "racial" appearance. If you have a better term for it, share with the class. If you have some idea that your term means that racially stereotyping people can't be usefully lumped together with "racism" in normal conversation, I think you're wrong.

But to be clear: I'm not in this thread to change anyone's mind. If you don't think it's racist, fine. I disagree.

I suppose you could try it some time: Find someone you think looks sufficiently "asian", and tell them to their face, "I can tell by the way you look that you're probably Chinese." See how far that gets you.
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Old 8th November 2019, 03:31 PM   #86
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The other day I saw some loudmouth bridge and tunnel piece of **** complaining about the "Chinese lady" at the deli. Did it strike me as racist? Yes. It's also unsophisticated. The worldly racist should know enough to assume that the East Asian woman behind the counter at a moderately upscale New York deli is Korean.
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Old 8th November 2019, 03:32 PM   #87
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
OK



How does the difference between a guess and assumption make such a huge difference?
I'm not trying to play a game with semantics, I'm pointing out that a lot of people in this thread (or, rather, the other one, I guess) are arguing past each other, or at the very least, about the wrong thing. To put it a different and more simple way: there's nothing inherently wrong with guessing someone's nationality and getting it wrong. What's wrong is making that guess based on appearance, or something else based on a stereotype.

Last edited by ArchSas; 8th November 2019 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 8th November 2019, 05:09 PM   #88
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It happens to me all the time. I have been called Indian, Mexican and Arab. On cruises, people from Pakistan, India, the Phillipines . . . they all come up to me and ask if I'm from their country. I don't take offence to it. I mean, I'm an ethnic mutt. I have Anglo, Latino, and Native American heritage.

One thing that does bother me is when people try to talk to me in Spanish... like, why are you doing that? I always answer in English (mostly because my Spanish is bad) and if they are Latinos, they always look annoyed. If they are Anglo, they look relieved.
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Old 8th November 2019, 05:12 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well, I think it's racist. Any time you look at the color of someone's skin and apply a nationality to them, you're stereotyping them based on the color of their skin (for example).

"But that's not what racism is." Whatever. You're stereotyping based on "racial" appearance. If you have a better term for it, share with the class. If you have some idea that your term means that racially stereotyping people can't be usefully lumped together with "racism" in normal conversation, I think you're wrong.

But to be clear: I'm not in this thread to change anyone's mind. If you don't think it's racist, fine. I disagree.

I suppose you could try it some time: Find someone you think looks sufficiently "asian", and tell them to their face, "I can tell by the way you look that you're probably Chinese." See how far that gets you.
I can attest that people from Asia do get annoyed when you get their nationality wrong. My across the street neighbor was annoyed when my wife asked him if he was from Japan. He's from China. He laughed it off but I could see the underlying annoyance.
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Old 8th November 2019, 05:22 PM   #90
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One question I do wonder about . . . why is the nationality/ethnicity of a person such an important thing? In a country like the USA where native born Americans can have heritage from any number of places, why is it so important to have a label? If a kid with Asian heritage but was born here, their parents were born here . . . well, that kid is American and probably has very little ties to Asia. What does it matter?

I would say the answer is that it matters because the nationality/heritage means something to the person making the assumption. It defines who the person is and what they are like in their mind. Which if that isn't racism by the letter of the definition, it certainly is in spirit -making judgements about someone based solely on the color of their skin, the shape of their eyes or what have you.
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Old 9th November 2019, 12:40 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
All sheep look the same, unless you're a shepherd. That is actually literally true.
What a horrible thing to say. We had some Chinese interns at work a few years back. I was able to 'tell one from another' immediately, from the get-go.
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Old 9th November 2019, 05:32 AM   #92
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Old 9th November 2019, 06:04 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
What a horrible thing to say. We had some Chinese interns at work a few years back. I was able to 'tell one from another' immediately, from the get-go.
That's nice for you. I wouldn't be able to do so.

There we have your anecdote canceled by mine, so what's next?
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Old 9th November 2019, 06:19 AM   #94
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Racism is assuming someone is greater or lesser depending on what "race" you consider them and usually then treating the individual differently based on your racial identification.

Assuming someone is Chinese based on their phenotype is not racism, it is using your knowledge of the general distribution of phenotypes in the world.

If I hear someone has a Geordie accent I will assume they are a Geordie, but they may not be they may just have lived in the NE of England and picked up the accent. I picked that example because I am from the NE of England by birth but my accent will be identified by most people as a Lancashire accent because of where I was mainly brought up. (Some people who have a very good ear or are very knowledgeable about accents can detect my accent is not "pure" Lancashire.) Someone identifying me as being Lancashire is not being bigoted (what racism is a class of) they are just using their general knowledge of distribution of accents in the UK. Only if they treated me differently to non Lancashire folk would it be bigoted.

Using accent is a good example to use in the UK as there is still a huge amount of prejudice and bigotry against those with nonRP or non- Home Counties accents, it is not the identification that makes it bigotry it is what is done with that identification that makes it bigotry/racism.
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Old 9th November 2019, 06:28 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
... Any time you look at the color of someone's skin and apply a nationality to them, you're stereotyping them based on the color of their skin (for example).

....
But what about when a white American thinks a white Scotsman is a white Australian?

The colour of skin is one of the reasons for that misidentification.
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Old 9th November 2019, 06:31 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
I'm not trying to play a game with semantics, I'm pointing out that a lot of people in this thread (or, rather, the other one, I guess) are arguing past each other, or at the very least, about the wrong thing. To put it a different and more simple way: there's nothing inherently wrong with guessing someone's nationality and getting it wrong. What's wrong is making that guess based on appearance, or something else based on a stereotype.
Appearance is part of guessing nationality. Colour of skin, clothing, size, mannerisms, shape of the eyes, nose and even teeth. We also listen for accents when guessing nationality.
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Old 9th November 2019, 06:59 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I suppose you could try it some time: Find someone you think looks sufficiently "asian", and tell them to their face, "I can tell by the way you look that you're probably Chinese." See how far that gets you.
But that's doing more than simply assuming, in the absence of further information, that they are probably Chinese, it's acting in a particular way based on that assumption. Which action, depending exactly how you do it, may justifiably be perceived as racist.
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Old 9th November 2019, 07:26 AM   #98
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Not racism. Just incorrect hypothesis.

Probably should have said that they appeared to be Asian or East Asian but no particular reason to assume racism as the only possible explanation.
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Old 9th November 2019, 07:31 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
What a horrible thing to say. We had some Chinese interns at work a few years back. I was able to 'tell one from another' immediately, from the get-go.
As a statement of fact, it is not horrible. Our brains are designed to save energy, and use all sorts of short cuts to do so. If it can distinguish an unfamiliar face by using a overall difference from the rest of the faces it encounters, it will save the extra work of having to memorise the finer differences. This breaks down, of course, as soon as there is more than one person that you encounter sharing the major characteristic.

What is horrible is, for example, implying it's not worth learning to tell the difference between people because they are interchangeable.
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Old 9th November 2019, 07:33 AM   #100
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It's not racist to acknowledge that people of different countries and regions of the world can and do often times share common general appearances, manners and such. Even assuming that people of a "typical Asian appearance" are Chinese doesn't have to be because one is racist, rather it's more often cause by simple ignorance, although this kind of ignorance is good a sign of a potential racist mindset.
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Old 9th November 2019, 07:36 AM   #101
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I've been living in Japan for a couple of decades now, and while I think I have developed my facial recognition of Asian faces enough to guess nationalities, my degree of confidence isn't really high enough to make assumptions. But I do think that typically Japanese people have a certain look that is different from other Asian people. But there are exceptions too.
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Old 9th November 2019, 07:54 AM   #102
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I don't take definition of racism, which don't include prejudice or discrimination. Assumption alone is not enough. Assumption is unavoidable.
"They are all criminals" is racism. "They shouldn't have voting rights" is racism. "They all look same" is not.
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Old 9th November 2019, 08:20 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I've been living in Japan for a couple of decades now, and while I think I have developed my facial recognition of Asian faces enough to guess nationalities, my degree of confidence isn't really high enough to make assumptions. But I do think that typically Japanese people have a certain look that is different from other Asian people. But there are exceptions too.
I lived there for only three months, but my facial recognition did improve in that time. I think there are, IIRC, two or three main 'looks', reflecting the various different ancestries of Japanese people (despite what they would have you believe, they are not an isolated population descended from gods, but have a lot of Chinese and Korean ancestry, among others ). I think also that factors other than facial features may be a factor in recognition, such as clothing and mannerisms. Language is a big clue, too, of course; I can recognise Japanese (even understand a few words still), Korean sounds similar too, but I eventually realise I'm not actually understanding or recognising any of the words. I think I can tell the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese, but it's not something I've put to the test.

On my return to the UK, for a short while I did find that European features seemed to be exaggerated and coarse (big noses and ears, for example).
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Old 9th November 2019, 10:28 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Not racism. Just incorrect hypothesis.



Probably should have said that they appeared to be Asian or East Asian but no particular reason to assume racism as the only possible explanation.
As I said a while back this thread's genesis was an example of how race is a socially constructed narrative not objective fact. The USA folk keep saying "asian" in regards to people "looking Chinese" or "east asian". In the UK the term "asian" is used in the vast majority of times to refer to an entirely different set of people from very different countries to China, Korea, Japan and so on.

If the original statement had said Asian and not Chinese that would have in fact excluded people who "look Chinese".
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Old 9th November 2019, 10:30 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Appearance is part of guessing nationality. Colour of skin, clothing, size, mannerisms, shape of the eyes, nose and even teeth. We also listen for accents when guessing nationality.
Accents aren't comparable at all - they're usually directly tied to where a person is from. Appearance isn't. If you guys really can't understand this simple point, I don't know what else to say. This discussion is completely ridiculous to me.
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Old 9th November 2019, 10:38 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
Accents aren't comparable at all - they're usually directly tied to where a person is from. Appearance isn't. If you guys really can't understand this simple point, I don't know what else to say. This discussion is completely ridiculous to me.
Appearance does indicate where people potentially come from. I do not just mean skin colour, but size, facial features, even how they dress.
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Old 9th November 2019, 10:45 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
As I said a while back this thread's genesis was an example of how race is a socially constructed narrative not objective fact. The USA folk keep saying "asian" in regards to people "looking Chinese" or "east asian". In the UK the term "asian" is used in the vast majority of times to refer to an entirely different set of people from very different countries to China, Korea, Japan and so on.

If the original statement had said Asian and not Chinese that would have in fact excluded people who "look Chinese".
I think this is another illustration of how the subject of race is so overwhelmingly tainted and contentious in the USA that a rational and neutral discussion is virtually impossible. There's an utter failure to understand that the rest of the world is generally not so pathologically hyper-sensitive.
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Old 9th November 2019, 10:54 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
As I said a while back this thread's genesis was an example of how race is a socially constructed narrative not objective fact. The USA folk keep saying "asian" in regards to people "looking Chinese" or "east asian". In the UK the term "asian" is used in the vast majority of times to refer to an entirely different set of people from very different countries to China, Korea, Japan and so on.

If the original statement had said Asian and not Chinese that would have in fact excluded people who "look Chinese".
That's a great example of the kind of red herring that's led to this discussion being almost nothing but people talking past each other. AFAIK, the premise of this thread is supposed to be on the question of whether or not assuming person's nationality based on "racial" characteristics (like "looking Chinese") is racist. What a term means in the UK vs. the US has nothing to do with that. If the police had put out a statement saying "this person looks Asian, so they must be a Pakistani national," that would the same kind of racism I'm talking about.

Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Appearance does indicate where people potentially come from. I do not just mean skin colour, but size, facial features, even how they dress.
Dress is something a lot of accent in that it can definitely be influenced by where a person is from. That's not the premise of this thread, and it's not what I've been talking about, which I think should have been obvious.

I'm ducking out of the thread now. It's nothing but people lobbing a bunch of non sequiturs past each other and (willingly or not) completely misunderstanding a very simple point. And all based on a hypothetical that was drawn from a person's assumption about why the police might have gotten a detail wrong (so, nothing). I've said my piece and I don't see the point in participating with that any further.

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Old 9th November 2019, 11:12 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The racism of assuming someone is Chinese just because they look asian.
Race is a meaningless social construct. Assuming somebody is Asian because they look “Asian” is racist.
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Old 9th November 2019, 11:23 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
I think this is another illustration of how the subject of race is so overwhelmingly tainted and contentious in the USA that a rational and neutral discussion is virtually impossible. There's an utter failure to understand that the rest of the world is generally not so pathologically hyper-sensitive.
Some people even consider words like race or skin color offending, and will PC around them. PC should be about calling the things correctly. Sure, calling group of people "colored" is 19 century grade. But saying that some people have darker skin then others ? Being mad about make-up companies differentiating their products by color skin ? Or photography companies recomeding different films to dark skinned people ?
And like it or not, some people really DO exploit racism from the other side, and it's perfectly OK to point it out, even if you are white.
Calling someone black or white can be pejorative. But then it doesn't have to be. White person painting his face black may be pejorative. But then in most cases, today, it's not. Context matters !
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Old 9th November 2019, 12:28 PM   #111
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Profiling st a glance isn't racism. I see a group of people and only at a distance, my thoughts are " oh look, a group of -------- tourists".

Being a minority of one gringo in a city full of Mexicans has been me playing spot the foreigner. Other visiting gringos think I am German, most Asians here are Chinese and I eat at their restaurants.

It's not evil intentioned racism or stereotypeing. It's the bare facts of what is. First observations can be harmless. If anyone uses that to refuse to do business or refuse a service it's racism. That has happened to me.
So what? I was able to achieve my goal somewhere else.
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Old 9th November 2019, 12:46 PM   #112
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It's as if the word "prejudice" ceased to exist, not that I think the OP even stoops to to that level. I try never to guess peoples race to their face because Im afraid of offending them. But I don't think it's racist or prejudice.

It's largely about intent. Life's too short to be so petty.

I guess people are supposed to stop being human and act like perfect robots. Gawd forbid someone make a mistake like run a stop sign or look at someone funny anymore.
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Old 9th November 2019, 08:33 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I lived there for only three months, but my facial recognition did improve in that time. I think there are, IIRC, two or three main 'looks', reflecting the various different ancestries of Japanese people (despite what they would have you believe, they are not an isolated population descended from gods, but have a lot of Chinese and Korean ancestry, among others ). I think also that factors other than facial features may be a factor in recognition, such as clothing and mannerisms. Language is a big clue, too, of course; I can recognise Japanese (even understand a few words still), Korean sounds similar too, but I eventually realise I'm not actually understanding or recognising any of the words. I think I can tell the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese, but it's not something I've put to the test.
Yep. But when you find dead bodies in the back of a lorry with no identification papers, things like mannerisms and language are not going to help you identify those people.
Originally Posted by Darat View Post
As I said a while back this thread's genesis was an example of how race is a socially constructed narrative not objective fact. The USA folk keep saying "asian" in regards to people "looking Chinese" or "east asian". In the UK the term "asian" is used in the vast majority of times to refer to an entirely different set of people from very different countries to China, Korea, Japan and so on.

If the original statement had said Asian and not Chinese that would have in fact excluded people who "look Chinese".
That occurred to me too, although I didn't mention it. So in the UK if one says "Asian" that typically implies South Asain, doesn't it? Indian or Pakistani, perhaps Nepali? In America, people are more likely to think of East Asians, from "Asian". In the olden days people used the word "Oriental" but that's considered borderline racist nowadays, and definitely not politically correct.

I've heard from some people who seem to think that the Japanese word "gaijin" is racist, but really it just means "foreigner". I don't consider it a pejorative word myself.
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Old 9th November 2019, 10:57 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Vixen View Post
What a horrible thing to say. We had some Chinese interns at work a few years back. I was able to 'tell one from another' immediately, from the get-go.
And there is your blunder. You make unwarranted assumptions. Again.

What is under discussion was distinguishing nationality, not individuals. This thread only exists due to your assumption that it meant "They all look the same to me" when nobody actually made that claim. Your entire argument is built of straw.
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Old 9th November 2019, 11:20 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The racism of assuming someone is Chinese just because they look asian.

Am reminded of the King of the Hill episode where Hank's father correctly identifies Hank's neighbors as not Vietnamese, but Laotian. He then goes on to be just as horribly racist to them as he is to everybody else.
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Old 10th November 2019, 05:56 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
Accents aren't comparable at all - they're usually directly tied to where a person is from. Appearance isn't. If you guys really can't understand this simple point, I don't know what else to say. This discussion is completely ridiculous to me.
Did you read my post in which I mentioned accents? I have a Lancashire accent but I am not from Lancashire. Many people learn English with an "American" accent, but they aren't from the USA. Making an assumption about where someone is from because they have a particular accent is exactly the same as making an assumption about where someone is from because they have a particular phenotype. Neither is bigotry.
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Old 10th November 2019, 05:57 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well, I think it's racist. Any time you look at the color of someone's skin and apply a nationality to them, you're stereotyping them based on the color of their skin (for example).
Out this way it's generally more polite to say "African American" than "black". So when (non-black) people come to a situation where they need to describe a stranger who is black, they will say "African American". Of course, there is no way they could know someone's nationality just based on them looking of 'african descent'...but there isn't a more polite alternative.

As for asians, there is a popular (Korean?) youtuber that lined up 4 or 5 asian students and had other asian students try to guess what they 'were'. They were wrong much of the time, even for guessing an ethnicity the same as their own!!

I'll see if I can find it....

Asian Boss- Can You Tell Asians Apart?
He actually asks non-asian students as well. (In looking for it, there are a ton more videos about this same thing.)

Last edited by Sherkeu; 10th November 2019 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 10th November 2019, 06:07 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by ArchSas View Post
.....
Dress is something a lot of accent in that it can definitely be influenced by where a person is from. That's not the premise of this thread, and it's not what I've been talking about, which I think should have been obvious.

I'm ducking out of the thread now. It's nothing but people lobbing a bunch of non sequiturs past each other and (willingly or not) completely misunderstanding a very simple point. And all based on a hypothetical that was drawn from a person's assumption about why the police might have gotten a detail wrong (so, nothing). I've said my piece and I don't see the point in participating with that any further.
When you look at another person, you do not just see their facial features. You see their size, build, clothing. If you hear them speak, you catch their accent.

Stop trying to pretend that this thread limits appearance to what the persons face looks like.
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Old 10th November 2019, 10:22 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I lived there for only three months, but my facial recognition did improve in that time. I think there are, IIRC, two or three main 'looks', reflecting the various different ancestries of Japanese people (despite what they would have you believe, they are not an isolated population descended from gods, but have a lot of Chinese and Korean ancestry, among others ). I think also that factors other than facial features may be a factor in recognition, such as clothing and mannerisms. Language is a big clue, too, of course; I can recognise Japanese (even understand a few words still), Korean sounds similar too, but I eventually realise I'm not actually understanding or recognising any of the words. I think I can tell the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese, but it's not something I've put to the test.

On my return to the UK, for a short while I did find that European features seemed to be exaggerated and coarse (big noses and ears, for example).
Finnair started doing flights to the Far East via Helsinki, so Helsinki airport is often packed with SE Asians getting their connecting flights. Having shared airport lounges with young Koreans, I now recognise them as being the really trendy, cool and good-looking ones, often wearing expensive designer sportswear <g>)
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Old 10th November 2019, 10:24 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
As I said a while back this thread's genesis was an example of how race is a socially constructed narrative not objective fact. The USA folk keep saying "asian" in regards to people "looking Chinese" or "east asian". In the UK the term "asian" is used in the vast majority of times to refer to an entirely different set of people from very different countries to China, Korea, Japan and so on.

If the original statement had said Asian and not Chinese that would have in fact excluded people who "look Chinese".
The Essex Police could easily have said, 'South East Asian' if they were not sure.
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