opinion

'As an Asian woman, PLEASE stop using these "pick up lines".'

For me, racism has been a reoccurring annoyance in my 19-year-old life that frankly, needs to go.

It’s something that I’ve illogically come to expect when meeting new people, and I’ve often (rather regrettably) found myself giving people the benefit of the doubt- a lot of the time, more than once.

Whether it’s via the words of a friend or a stranger, I’ve grown a thick skin when it comes to copping racism.

In primary school, a classmate told me to go back to China, followed by a lengthy two-minute ordeal where he circled me, screeching “ching chong, ching chong” while forcefully stretching out his eyes to apparently resemble mine.

During high school, in attempt to garner a few laughs, a close friend asked me whether I had different coloured blood because I wasn’t white.

But lately I’ve been introduced to a whole new breeding ground for racism – clubs and bars. They’re places that are supposed to be a fun time, except just a couple nights ago, I was approached by a fellow bar-goer who decided to use a technique I’ve become very familiar with – the attempt to speak Chinese.

"Meanwhile, I’m standing there, looking at him blankly, waiting for him to say something else." (Image provided)

This encounter got me reminiscing about the many other enjoyable encounters I’ve had with these men of evidently high intellect.

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1. “Ni hao.”

“Hey, you’re Asian! You must be Chinese. Instead of saying anything else in the language I’m proficient in (and you probably are too), why don’t I say the only thing I know how to say in Chinese? That’s right, I’ll just say ‘ni hao’ repeatedly until you laugh or make out with me. I’d be cool with either.”

Ah, what a very fool-proof thought process.

Much of the time, this shitty attempt at speaking what I can only assume is Chinese, is joined with the guy pointing at my obviously Asian face, saying “ni hao” again, then pointing back at my face, so on and so forth. The complexity of this “line” is ground breaking, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, I’m standing there, looking at him blankly, waiting for him to say something else. Anything else. Either something in English, or perhaps have an actual conversation with me in Chinese. If that’s in your capacity, then props to you my bilingual friend. Now that would impress me.

LISTEN: Randa Abdel-Fattah on racism, Islamophobia and her ‘’accidental novel.”  (Post continues...)

But that never happens because your brain is only big enough for “ni hao” and nothing more.

Here's an exact play by play of my Tuesday night:

Man lays his eyes on me.

Man gives me “the look”. You know, the animalistic one that we’re all familiar with.

Man walks forward, maintaining “the look”.

Man taps my shoulder, leans forward, yells “NI HAO”.

Man looks back at me as if he’s just whispered sweet nothings into my ear. As if he’s just written me a charmingly personal song. As if he’s just taken a bullet for me and is after his reward.

Man leans forward, inching his pouted lips towards my pursed ones.

Annabelle turns around and walks away. Re-jec-tion.

2. “I’m really into Asians.”

To which his friend chimes in: “Yeah, he has yellow fever.”

Yellow fever. Is it a disease? Is it contagious? How much longer are you expected you live? You’re family must be devastated.

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 Yellow fever. Is it a disease? Is it contagious? (Image provided)

What an insult. Did you actually think that would win me over? Inferring I’m some sort of terrible turmoil that's taken shape as a HUMAN BEING, forced upon you against your will.

Take me now. I’m yours. Your courteous and gentlemanly manner has stolen my heart.

Pfftffft. Yeah right. Get. Over. Yourself.

3. “You’re the hottest Asian I’ve ever seen.”

Why thank you, kind sir. Wait… but am I not comparable to white girls? Isn't hotness a universal concept, irrespective of race? Do I not belong on the same spectrum where white girls are crudely subjected to judgment based on their appearance?

Is including the word “Asian” in that intended compliment genuinely necessary? Must we isolate my race? Must we?

I’ve never been one for confrontation. As much as I’d like to think I am, the reason I’m generous with my ‘benefit of the doubt’ cards isn’t because I’m a kind soul and a fervent advocate for peace not conflict. Most of the time, I just like to lay low for convenience reasons.

But I’ve had it up to here. *Holds hand up really, really high* This must stop immediately. We don’t enjoy it. I assume you and our imaginary daughter probably wouldn’t either.