The Silent Minority?
Being that my mum is from the Caribbean, I consider myself to be black, even though many didn’t perceive me as being so in the 80’s. On my other side of my family, I have South Asian blood, and may even have some from my Caribbean side.
So, when I discuss BAME, my thoughts are with my Caribbean side, my African side, and my South Asian side (countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka).
However, there is another prevalent race of colour that I do not have any connection to. In fact, the East Asian race are the third largest ethnic minority group living in Britain.
For all those East Asian people I’m grouping together as one, I do apologise, but I’m avoiding referring to you as Chinese, as I am aware this group incorporates a plethora of countries.
So, just to confirm which countries I will be referring to as Eastern Asian, I am thinking of China, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Burma, even though some of these may be considered south Asian and once again I appologise if I have not named your country.
It becomes difficult to group these together, because many of the above countries would have citizens who, when in the UK would be referred to as Asian (referring to South Asia), and others that would be referred to as Chinese…or more likely the derogatory term for either one.
What makes things confusing in this country is that when you look at the Office of National Statistics ethnic breakup they have a category for Asian/Asian British and a category for Other Ethnic Group, which doesn’t include any other white groups as there is another category called All Other White.
With the British public referring to people from South Asia as being Asian, I would assume that the East Asians are incorporated in the Other Ethnic Group.
So, what do people of East Asia tick on an application form? For the most part they have to tick Asian Other, as there is a section for Asian Indian and Asian Pakistan and then another section for Asian Other or Ethnic Other.
The NHS application form attempts to combat that, by having under section Other Ethnic Group, a tick box for Chinese and one for any other ethnic group. However, there is a real problem there. Why is Chinese not under the Asian or Asian British grouping?
I understand that all this is a minefield for racial inclusivity on applications, however, it does pose a question. Why do East Asians not raise this issue as a red flag?
In fact, why do we never hear East Asians complaining about the British public’s use of the derogatory “C” word, the ridiculing of the accent (even though their accents vary throughout Asia), being called Oriental or even pulling on the eyes to make them narrower.
In fact, East Asians complain so little about the racism they experience that the British public continue to lambaste them without repercussions.
I’ve heard East Asians being ridiculed more than I have been racially abused. Although, I’m sure it’s easier to be racist in front of me about a different race to my own.
So, from me, on behalf of East Asians, racism is racism, no matter who it’s directed at and I would like to end racism.
If you, who are reading this, are East Asian I would appreciate you writing something for this blog to shine some light on your experiences in Britain.