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awkward moments only asians understand

This BuzzFeed video is part of a group of videos that expose and satirize stereotypes and racial microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities experience in the U.S. Focused on Asian American identity and experiences of Asians in the U.S., the video features Eugene Lee Yang, Asian American BuzzFeed writer, producer, and actor showing how microaggressions and stereotypes play out in everyday interactions with diverse colleagues and friends. Themes addressed are policing of identity (e.g., “You’re such a banana” or “You’re a bad Asian”) and stereotypes about Asians (e.g., proficiency in math and technology, who can date whom, and questions about being from North or South Korea), fetishizing mixed-race people (e.g., “in general, half Asian people are the most beautiful”), who is included when talking about “Asians” (e.g. “I saw your (video). As an Indian, where was the rest of Asia?”), among many others. Additionally, there are several frames in which the Asian or Asian American characters are shown taking photographs of themselves with non-Asian friends, and the automatic face recognition feature on the camera singles out the Asians and asks, “Did someone blink?,” commenting on racial biases built into the design of technology.

Related BuzzFeed videos include If Black People Said the Stuff White People Say, If Latinos Said the Stuff White People Say, and If Asians Said the Stuff White People Say. BuzzFeed is an American internet-based news and entertainment company known for producing content that is popular culture/entertainment-oriented and easily sharable and engaged with through social media. While they also produce news articles, most BuzzFeed content is in quick to digest image and graphics-based forms such as lists, quizzes, and short videos.


What “awkward moments” in terms of stereotypes and interactions are the characters acting out and responding to?

Different from other similar videos that specifically name and satirize White people as the source of stereotypical or ignorant comments, this video shows a range of racially diverse people interacting. Why do you think that choice was made? Why does it matter who is making the comments based on racial stereotypes and assumptions? How does context matter?

Have you ever experienced an interaction in which you realized you were being asked something because of a stereotype about a group you belong to or were perceived as belonging to? What happened? How often does it happen? How did it make you feel? How has it impacted your behavior?

What is the difference between overt acts of racial discrimination and the everyday comments referenced in this clip? How do these experiences affect people over time?

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