Consciously or Not: It is Still Racism

by AlisonD on October 20, 2016 - 5:12pm

            The news article “’Go Back to China’: Readers Respond to Racist Insults Shouted at a New York Times Editor” discusses the racial insults said to Asian-Americans. Micheal Luo published a letter online to someone who had told his family to go back to China (Luo, 2016, para. 3). Luo (2016) received many replies from Asian-Americans telling their stories of similar experiences encountering racism (para. 4).

            In the class The Myth of Race and Reality of Racism, we discuss the definition of racism. These insults are either explicit or implicit racism; meaning some of the insults are intentional and directed to a certain racial group by an individual, or that the person insulting them does not consciously know they are saying something racist. Two respondents spoke about racist vandalism on their territory when they were children (Luo, 2016, para. 7-8); whereas, a teacher stated that someone had threatened her saying that if she did not go back to her own country, she should get shot (Luo, 2016, para. 10). These examples are aimed directly at Asian-Americans; therefore, these people are explicitly saying racial slurs and believe that white people are superior. These types of threats are unbelievable. I cannot imagine someone actually threatening someone else like this and mean it. Less direct racist examples include someone mentioning how well they speak English or asking for their real name (Luo, 2016, para. 12-13). One very well educated Asian-American couple living on the Upper-East Side of Manhattan have been confused for being a nanny or a delivery man (Luo, 2016, para. 16). This example shocked me. People automatically assume your career based on how you look. I think it is sad.  This example is also implicit because the individual asking is unconsciously thinking that they are superior over the other race.

            Moreover, my mother’s family often say racist comments like, “they should go back to their country.” Even though I always try to convince them that it is racist, they do not believe me. I have never felt comfortable with them saying things like that. In addition, my father and his family immigrated here from Switzerland when my father was 13 years old. However, my mother’s family will still say these comments. The people they aim it towards were most-likely born and raised in Canada; whereas, they do not say it to my father’s family even though they were not born here. This shows that they discriminate due to physical appearance, which is very discouraging. However, I realize that my mother and her family were raised in a small all-white community, where they did not encounter many people from a different background.

            At this point, my family knows not to say racist insults around me. However, it upsets me to think that they will still think of it or say it when I am not there. After reading this article, I cannot help but wonder if there is a way to make my family realize that what they are saying is racist.



Luo, M. (2016, October 10). ‘Go back to china’: Readers respond to racist insults shouted at New York Times editor. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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