Why Asian Fishing Is Harmful (Coming from an Asian)
Whenever Asians speak out about Asian fishing in media, we’re always shut down and gaslit into not wanting to speak up again, especially in the media. Though the Black Lives Matter movement is still very important and equally racially awakening as the Stop AAPI Hate movement, but not many books or Public Service Announcements have been made about the Stop Asian Hate movement in school; since Covid-19 has gotten worse, so has anti-Asian racism and we need to have more people recognize that Covid is not our fault and that they need to take AAPI hate more seriously. If you are easily offended by Asians speaking up about their issues, maybe you should open your mind more or find a different article. This article is about my and others’ experiences and why I believe it’s harmful to non-Asians to mock, change your appearance, fetishize, or gaslight Asians. Once again, if you would like to disagree as a non-Asian, stop reading and find a more suitable article.
Throughout childhood, and even now, I’ve experienced white people mocking or making jokes about Asians, especially Chinese and Japanese ‘stereotypes,’ specifically our eyes and our cuisine. For instance, when I was in grade 7, (2019-2020) a grade 8 white guy came up to me during lunch, asking me what my favourite food was. At that moment, I thought it was going to be an innocent conversation, so I replied, “I don’t know, probably pizza?” and he replied with, “Are you sure it isn’t dogs?” As soon as I walked away upset, he started apologizing profusely, but I didn’t want his apology; to this day, I still haven’t told an adult about this (except now haha) because I didn’t think it was important. Those minorities who have experienced racism throughout their childhood have been used to being discriminated against, which makes it even more depressing. Though many years ago, it was socially acceptable and ‘funny,’ but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t disrespectful.
Though I have met and seen some people who are taking time out of their own lives to learn how to speak an Asian language or trying to learn our history and culture, this is an example of culturally appreciating us. They aren’t claiming that they are Asian, but rather are trying to understand it because they’re interested to learn.
Many white people have come up to me, saying Asian-derogatory slurs and thinking it’s funny. In reality, it’s harmful and confusing being a child – your parents immigrating here to make your life easier – but still being seen as an outsider. Others have experienced being called racist East-Asian comments when they’re from another part of Asia.
That said, it really is shocking and hurtful when you’ve grown up thinking that you aren’t accepted as an Asian at school and in public because of your race, and then discovering that those very same people want to mock or ‘look’ like you for the wrong reasons.
As an example, East Asians have been mocked for their eye shape. Comments like, “Can you even see?” “Open your eyes,” “Oh my god your eyes are so small!” were really harmful throughout childhood. Then finding out that non-Asians are imitating our eye shape to ‘appear’ more Asian confuses us, hurts us, and it’s plain disrespectful especially when they’re denying it. An example of this is the fox eye trend, and the placement of the hands when taking the picture. Using eyeliner to make your eye appear longer is somewhat fine, but taking a picture with your hand pulling your eyes slightly back is just disrespectful and considered Asian fishing.
Many have claimed that they’re transracial on social media to ‘mock’ the transgender community; being transgender is completely valid and there’s nothing wrong with it, but claiming you are transracial is completely not okay. For example, Oli London is a 31-year-old British influencer who claims that he’s the beauty standard in China. He claims he is Korean, Jimin (BTS) and Hyunjin (Stray Kids), claims he’s better at Tagalog than Filipinos, he’s the beauty standard in China, and enjoys anime despite constantly getting their names completely wrong. Oli London is white and got plastic surgery and tried to go to Korea to look for Jimin. He claims that when he went to Korea, everyone said “Oh my god is that Jimin from BTS?” He is an example of Asian Fishing, fetishizing and romanticizing East-Asians. There are other people who have been influenced by Oli London, claiming that they’re transracial and their new name is “Sakura” or some romanized Japanese name.
Yes, you can respect or love Asian culture, but please don’t make racist remarks or claim that you’re Asian; it’s degrading and it’s disrespectful.
By Sarina Zhu
Stop AAPI Hate Card: https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/