Victims of "Microaggressions"

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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby teamblubee » 17 May 2012, 13:31

Super Hans wrote:
Guys if you are having a rough time in Asia due to "microagression" I'd say grow up. Your an adult, microagression. Learn some Chinese


Hmmm...when I don't speak Chinese, I am often talked about in a derogatory way, especially in places like traditional markets. I also sometimes get charged higher prices for things, and I know this because it is often suggested to the laoban right in front of my face. Understanding Chinese but not letting on is a revealing insight into how a significant cross section of the locals perceive foreigners.
When idiots shout "heeelllooooh" at me and I choose not to humour them, this often results in expletives being hurled in my direction, and often some of those expletives are in English: Fuck You being the most common. This leads me to believe that the intent of the original interaction was indeed to annoy or garner a response from The Foreigner - a kind of sport if you like, and when this response is not forthcoming, a resort to a more offensive line of approach is used. Singling a person out due to their colour or race for the enjoyment of oneself or others certainly is an act of racism or aggression, benign as it may be.
In arguments and verbal conflicts to do with traffic, negotiations, employment and contracts, I am usually briskly reminded of my status as a foreigner here. In heated debates, I am often told to 'go back to America' or whatever my nationality happens to be that day.
Now none of the above particularly bother me, as it is all part of the experience of living in a place I choose to live in which is not my home. But for the purpose of this thread I disagree with many posters here who pass off this micro-aggression business as totally harmless. I agree that the majority of encounters are just people being curious or trying to make conversation or be hospitable and accommodating, and in comparison to many other countries, life as a foreigner here is pretty easy. But there is also a noticeable bunch of people here on this island who can be quite vicious and discriminatory, and these people surface at regular intervals - at least in my case, so it is understandable that some foreigners here have a hard time dealing with it.
Every person has their own perception of how things are, and that perception is important to any given individual. What doesn't bother me bother's somebody else, and that's why I think it is important to acknowledge how certain posters here feel about micro-aggressions and cut them some slack. Learning how to deal with this kind of thing can be a long process for some people, and often the negativity of such things can be exaggerated and influenced by other things that are going on in their lives.


I agree with your post except the part that this isn't your home, you live here IT IS YOUR HOME. Even if you plan to return to the country in your passport at one day in the future, right now you live here it's your home. I adopt that attitude and look at it from that perspective. Now looking at things from that angle, I got the same garbage from the country in my passport while growing up so its a wash. For me, when I go out with my gf and I'm handling some business and talking to a worker, they almost refuse to acknowledge me so I just check them, excuse me. I'm talking to you, is there a reason why you keep looking at my gf for answers. It's like they don't see me, if it's bad enough I cut the conversation short and leave. I find somewhere else to do business. If in a conversation someone tells me to go back to my country I asked they are they original people, if not then they can do the same. I rarely have issues from original people here, they seem truly genuine but that may also be a front. For now Taiwan is my home and I deal with people here the same way I would in a English speaking country, there's no reason to feel like a second class citizen.

In the morning markets I get treated well, never really had any problems there but if you hear them say charge you more, and your looking at the scale make sure the use the correct prices, if not check them, in Chinese, that's what the locals do. Maybe I'm somewhat lucky, being a black guy they either A: too scared to try anything fishy, or B: think I'm too poor. Either one is fine because what they think don't put money in my bank. You can be just as sharp to them as they are to you, plus do you listen to the way they talk to each other, or better yet the way they are nice face to face but are so devious behind peoples backs. We notice because we are fish out of water here but just get your goggles on and see it like the rest of the fishes.
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby Tempo Gain » 17 May 2012, 14:23

Super Hans wrote:Hmmm...when I don't speak Chinese, I am often talked about in a derogatory way, especially in places like traditional markets. I also sometimes get charged higher prices for things, and I know this because it is often suggested to the laoban right in front of my face. Understanding Chinese but not letting on is a revealing insight into how a significant cross section of the locals perceive foreigners.
When idiots shout "heeelllooooh" at me and I choose not to humour them, this often results in expletives being hurled in my direction, and often some of those expletives are in English: Fuck You being the most common. This leads me to believe that the intent of the original interaction was indeed to annoy or garner a response from The Foreigner - a kind of sport if you like, and when this response is not forthcoming, a resort to a more offensive line of approach is used. Singling a person out due to their colour or race for the enjoyment of oneself or others certainly is an act of racism or aggression, benign as it may be.
In arguments and verbal conflicts to do with traffic, negotiations, employment and contracts, I am usually briskly reminded of my status as a foreigner here. In heated debates, I am often told to 'go back to America' or whatever my nationality happens to be that day.


Such things happen from time to time, no doubt. But they aren't what the article in the OP is talking about, and clearly fall under the heading of "aggression" (no prefix.)

Now none of the above particularly bother me, as it is all part of the experience of living in a place I choose to live in which is not my home. But for the purpose of this thread I disagree with many posters here who pass off this micro-aggression business as totally harmless. I agree that the majority of encounters are just people being curious or trying to make conversation or be hospitable and accommodating...


This is the kind of thing that the article is talking about, and saying is harmful to some degree.

But there is also a noticeable bunch of people here on this island who can be quite vicious and discriminatory, and these people surface at regular intervals - at least in my case, so it is understandable that some foreigners here have a hard time dealing with it.


This isn't. It's important to draw that distinction. Some things you'll run into here are clearly aggressive and discriminatory. But they don't fall under "micro-aggression," at least as defined in that article.
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby drvelocity » 17 May 2012, 23:42

I've really enjoyed this thread and the original article, thanks OP. Despite what the naysayers might say, there are absolutely a large number of foreigners who can relate to the concept of micro-aggressions as laid out in this article, and frankly reading the article helped me personally arrange my thoughts as to why the average daily interaction in Taiwan can be so grueling.

I'm married now and have been in Taiwan for six years, so I've been through the whole process. I loved the extra attention at first, and even the most mundane questions, as long as they were in Chinese, were at least a chance to practice the language. That slowly gave way to annoyance as the repetition built over the years, which brought on the "just stop talking to strangers unless it's to order food or buy something" stage. I changed into a much more negative person at that point, but persevered in hopes that maybe if I just improved my Chinese further I could break through that wall.

Fast forward to now and despite the few and incredibly refreshing occurrences where I feel like I'm treated like a "person" rather than a "foreigner", I've basically relegated myself to moving back to the US as I've realized I'll never truly be able to feel a part of the community here. I speak fluent Mandarin to the point where people don't know I'm a foreigner on the phone (or at least they think I'm from Hong Kong), but that hasn't even gotten me to 10% of feeling like I could ever be treated as a "Taiwanese person" by the majority of admittedly well-meaning folks here.

I used to think that this doesn't really matter, who cares what strangers think when your true friends know who you really are and treat you accordingly, right? But I can say that after so many years here this phenomenon makes enough of an impact on my psyche that I can't simply ignore it. Considering the level of effort I've put in to being a part of Taiwanese culture and language, and yet six years later 99% of the time I'm treated exactly the same as the first day I stepped off the proverbial boat, I've realized I will personally never feel fulfilled living in Taiwan as I could in a country where I'm not constantly the odd man out. Of course I realize that what I experience is not overt racism and I actually feel a greater degree of respect now for those who do endure such hatred. But to anyone who makes an honest effort to fit in culturally, which to me is a prerequisite for living in a country long-term, I can't imagine how these day-to-day reminders of how we are all non-Chinese speaking English teachers wouldn't have a major negative psychological impact.

Even my Taiwanese wife suffers from the so called micro-aggressions - as long as I'm with her, she's completely stigmatized. Nobody treats her like they would the average Taiwanese person when I'm standing there. Again most of the time it's not negative per se; We're just treated to constant reminders that we stand out in a major way, and everyone we interact with are mentally occupied with that fact, leaving nothing for normal human conversation without expending a great deal of energy in breaking through that initial wall. It has drained me down to the point where I just can't live here any more.

Obviously there are those who couldn't care less about being accepted by the masses here and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And I don't blame people here for this in any way - It's just a matter of the way the human brain works combined the lack of racial diversity in Taiwan.

Anyway, my wife wanted to translate this Japan Times article into Chinese for anyone who might want to read it. If you know anyone here that might be interested and might be able to contribute to the conversation, feel free to have a look here: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_ ... 1829735215

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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby TheGingerMan » 18 May 2012, 00:18

I used to think that this doesn't really matter, who cares what strangers think when your true friends know who you really are and treat you accordingly, right? But I can say that after so many years here this phenomenon makes enough of an impact on my psyche that I can't simply ignore it. Considering the level of effort I've put in to being a part of Taiwanese culture and language, and yet six years later 99% of the time I'm treated exactly the same as the first day I stepped off the proverbial boat, I've realized I will personally never feel fulfilled living in Taiwan as I could in a country where I'm not constantly the odd man out. Of course I realize that what I experience is not overt racism and I actually feel a greater degree of respect now for those who do endure such hatred. But to anyone who makes an honest effort to fit in culturally, which to me is a prerequisite for living in a country long-term, I can't imagine how these day-to-day reminders of how we are all non-Chinese speaking English teachers wouldn't have a major negative psychological impact.


You raise some interesting points.
Yet, only 6 years? Nowhere near long enough.
:neutral:

That said the crux of one's lack of fulfilled would appear to be one's own expectations. I have resided in quite a few continents, and the best way of adapting is to readily realize one well stands out. Why try so hard to fit in?
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby bismarck » 18 May 2012, 00:41

TheGingerMan wrote:That said the crux of one's lack of fulfilled would appear to be one's own expectations. I have resided in quite a few continents, and the best way of adapting is to readily realize one well stands out. Why try so hard to fit in?
Good folks everywhere appreciate differences, just the same as schwein everywhere depreciate same.
One can be re-active with one's emotions, or one can choose to evolve.

I agree, mate. But some people prefer to just go home (and where that is, really is the crux of it) instead. That's okay too.
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby BigJohn » 18 May 2012, 02:03

I think someone earlier on hit the nail on the head: if you can't join them, beat them!
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby tommy525 » 18 May 2012, 03:08

drvelocity wrote:I've really enjoyed this thread and the original article, thanks OP. Despite what the naysayers might say, there are absolutely a large number of foreigners who can relate to the concept of micro-aggressions as laid out in this article, and frankly reading the article helped me personally arrange my thoughts as to what drives me nuts about what constitutes my average daily interaction in Taiwan.

I'm married now and have been in Taiwan for six years, so I've been through the whole process. I loved the extra attention at first, and even the most mundane questions, as long as they were in Chinese, were at least a chance to practice the language. That slowly gave way to annoyance as the repetition built over the years, which brought on the "just stop talking to strangers unless it's to order food or by something" stage. I changed into a much more negative person at that point, but persevered in hopes that maybe if I just improved my Chinese further I could break through that wall.

Fast forward to now and despite the few and incredibly refreshing occurrences where I feel like I'm treated like a "person" rather than a "foreigner", I've basically relegated myself to moving back to the US as I've realized I'll never truly be able to feel a part of the community here. I speak fluent Mandarin to the point where people don't know I'm a foreigner on the phone (or at least they think I'm from Hong Kong), but that hasn't even gotten me to 10% of feeling like I could ever be treated as a "Taiwanese person" by the majority of admittedly well-meaning folks here.

I used to think that this doesn't really matter, who cares what strangers think when your true friends know who you really are and treat you accordingly, right? But I can say that after so many years here this phenomenon makes enough of an impact on my psyche that I can't simply ignore it. Considering the level of effort I've put in to being a part of Taiwanese culture and language, and yet six years later 99% of the time I'm treated exactly the same as the first day I stepped off the proverbial boat, I've realized I will personally never feel fulfilled living in Taiwan as I could in a country where I'm not constantly the odd man out. Of course I realize that what I experience is not overt racism and I actually feel a greater degree of respect now for those who do endure such hatred. But to anyone who makes an honest effort to fit in culturally, which to me is a prerequisite for living in a country long-term, I can't imagine how these day-to-day reminders of how we are all non-Chinese speaking English teachers wouldn't have a major negative psychological impact.

Even my Taiwanese wife suffers from the so called micro-aggressions - as long as I'm with her, she's completely stigmatized. Nobody treats her like they would the average Taiwanese person when I'm standing there. Again most of the time it's not negative per se; We're just treated to constant reminders that we stand out in a major way, and everyone we interact with are mentally occupied with that fact, leaving nothing for normal human conversation without expending a great deal of energy in breaking through that initial wall. It has drained me down to the point where I just can't live here any more.

Obviously there are those who couldn't care less about being accepted by the masses here and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And I don't blame people here for this in any way - It's just a matter of the way the human brain works combined the lack of racial diversity in Taiwan.

Anyway, my wife wanted to translate this Japan Times article into Chinese for anyone who might want to read it. If you know anyone here that might be interested and might be able to contribute to the conversation, feel free to have a look here: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_ ... 1829735215


I say change your thinking. Maybe sometimes you are reading too much into what other people may be thinking. You are starting to assume they are thinking more then they are.

Once your Mandarin is just like local taiwanese you will be treated very much like one. I know this lady from central America , been here 27 years. She said the other day she went into her regular hair salon and made a mention that shes not taiwanese that she came from abroad. They looked at her again like they have never seen her before. They had completely forgotten she was not taiwanese .

And she says she gets very little attention out in the street too.

I think you are still reading too much in your mind. You assume people are watching you so you watch them. And because you watch them, they in turn watch you.

Go back to your own country and pick out someone at random and watch them. For sure soon as they realize you are watching them, they will watch YOU. And take that scenario back to Taiwan and you feel they are thinking about you. And they are because you are paying attention to THEM> Pay no extra attention to them and they wont pay extra attention to YOU either.

I am obviously half foreign and nowadays in Taiwan people dont pay undue attention to me. Because I don't pay attention to THEM. Once I do start looking at someone , they will in turn look back. And then they will pay attention to ME, and then maybe ask me a few questions.

BE normal and you will be treated normally.

You just assume people are paying attention to your wife more then they actually are.

Now if the both of you are a handsome couple or particularly ugly or stand out physically in some way, you will get more attention.

But be as taiwanese as you can be and the attention will subside, as long as you dont pay attention to THEM. Dont look at them .

Just go about your biz.

Frankly I have no problems with undue attention in taiwan anymore. Not since I was in my 20s .

And if there was attention, no problem, i can handle it without feeling like im an alien.

I get on taipei buses and the drivers speak taiwanese to me, unless they look at me carefully.

Once you been on the rock long enough you will get the "local" look and walk and talk and you will fit right in.

you probably still dont want to talk to anyone in particular tho, just like me.

Your negative attitude can result in a self fulfilled prophecy.
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby ceevee369 » 18 May 2012, 22:44

I went shopping by myself in the Nankan area. The wife was not with me, so for once I got all attention :discodance:
From Best to Hola, from B&Q to the cheese booth , I had at least 5-7 people approaching me, from having deep conversations about LG TV's, mobilizing colleagues to help me finding coffee filters, till the typical tai-tai selling whatever saying - Hello!
All normal signs of typical Taiwanese social behavior towards an already Spoiled foreigner.
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby PigBloodCake » 18 May 2012, 23:53

http://www.microaggressions.com/

Interesting.

And here's one from the site:

"I always get asked to be an interpreter for patients who are not native English speakers, specifically for those of Asian background. Because I am of Asian background as well, there is this assumption that I speak every language in Asia or that there is only one language/country in Asia. Unbelievable."

Ah but what do you know about this...since you're in the 'wan now.
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Re: Victims of "Microaggressions"

Postby teamblubee » 28 May 2012, 23:39

drvelocity wrote:I've really enjoyed this thread and the original article, thanks OP. Despite what the naysayers might say, there are absolutely a large number of foreigners who can relate to the concept of micro-aggressions as laid out in this article, and frankly reading the article helped me personally arrange my thoughts as to why the average daily interaction in Taiwan can be so grueling.

I'm married now and have been in Taiwan for six years, so I've been through the whole process. I loved the extra attention at first, and even the most mundane questions, as long as they were in Chinese, were at least a chance to practice the language. That slowly gave way to annoyance as the repetition built over the years, which brought on the "just stop talking to strangers unless it's to order food or buy something" stage. I changed into a much more negative person at that point, but persevered in hopes that maybe if I just improved my Chinese further I could break through that wall.

Fast forward to now and despite the few and incredibly refreshing occurrences where I feel like I'm treated like a "person" rather than a "foreigner", I've basically relegated myself to moving back to the US as I've realized I'll never truly be able to feel a part of the community here. I speak fluent Mandarin to the point where people don't know I'm a foreigner on the phone (or at least they think I'm from Hong Kong), but that hasn't even gotten me to 10% of feeling like I could ever be treated as a "Taiwanese person" by the majority of admittedly well-meaning folks here.

I used to think that this doesn't really matter, who cares what strangers think when your true friends know who you really are and treat you accordingly, right? But I can say that after so many years here this phenomenon makes enough of an impact on my psyche that I can't simply ignore it. Considering the level of effort I've put in to being a part of Taiwanese culture and language, and yet six years later 99% of the time I'm treated exactly the same as the first day I stepped off the proverbial boat, I've realized I will personally never feel fulfilled living in Taiwan as I could in a country where I'm not constantly the odd man out. Of course I realize that what I experience is not overt racism and I actually feel a greater degree of respect now for those who do endure such hatred. But to anyone who makes an honest effort to fit in culturally, which to me is a prerequisite for living in a country long-term, I can't imagine how these day-to-day reminders of how we are all non-Chinese speaking English teachers wouldn't have a major negative psychological impact.

Even my Taiwanese wife suffers from the so called micro-aggressions - as long as I'm with her, she's completely stigmatized. Nobody treats her like they would the average Taiwanese person when I'm standing there. Again most of the time it's not negative per se; We're just treated to constant reminders that we stand out in a major way, and everyone we interact with are mentally occupied with that fact, leaving nothing for normal human conversation without expending a great deal of energy in breaking through that initial wall. It has drained me down to the point where I just can't live here any more.

Obviously there are those who couldn't care less about being accepted by the masses here and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And I don't blame people here for this in any way - It's just a matter of the way the human brain works combined the lack of racial diversity in Taiwan.

Anyway, my wife wanted to translate this Japan Times article into Chinese for anyone who might want to read it. If you know anyone here that might be interested and might be able to contribute to the conversation, feel free to have a look here: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_ ... 1829735215


A few people said it already but can't restate it enough. You ARE NOT TAIWANESE! Like you hear the locals say sometime "Stop thinking too much" You are a foreigner living in Taiwan. You understand the language and culture, do you really want to take on the burden of "being Taiwanese"? As long as no one disrespects you then what's the problem, you are over thinking and becoming self conscious, just take it easy and live. Question after being away from "Home" for 6 years, do you think your just gonna slide back into your old lifestyle?
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