A Walk In The Shoes Of A Person Of Color
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Politics and Activism

A Walk In The Shoes Of A Person Of Color

What it is like to an Asian foreigner in a Western society

A Walk In The Shoes Of A Person Of Color

I am Vietnamese, but I was born in Poland, and I am currently living in the United States. I have spent my life in countries other than my own more than a decade. Considering that I am just 19 years of age, this is a considerably large amount of time. During these years, I got to experience first-hand the different lifestyles and cultures of the host countries and partake in the contribution of the cultural diversity of these countries. It has been a unique opportunity for me to travel the world and encounter people from literally all walks of life, whether it is religion, socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, or gender. As a person of color myself who is living in a western society such as the United States, I would like to put myself in the shoes of the thousands of people with whom I have crossed paths over the past 10 years of my life, and discuss what it is truly like to live in dominantly white community as someone with different ethnicity and different nationality.

Whenever the topic of race or ethnicity is brought up in a conversation, other themes such as racial discrimination and racial stigma follow almost always immediately. This is true, because I myself have experienced this. Being called “Chinese” is not offensive unless the act itself stems from deliberation instead of ignorance and is accompanied by rude gestures and sarcastic intonations. Being stared at in public places only gets uncomfortable when it happens virtually everywhere you go, whether it is the mall or just the neighborhood where you live. Being physically abused in P.E. only becomes intolerable when depression is looming on the horizons and the teacher feels bad enough to bring the problem to the school’s principal. Things become especially hard when you are the only non-white person in a school full of white people. Scary? Certainly. But somehow I pulled through and survived 4 years of schooling in Poland unscathed.

Fortunately, my time in the States has been free of nuisance, and I have yet to encounter, at least directly, any racist comment on my ethnicity or the fact that I am a foreigner. I am grateful that the people here are open-minded and accepting of different cultures. This is a wonderful thing because, as the world is riddled with so many problems arising from inequalities and injustice, we need a place where human rights are still upheld and human dignity is respected.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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