To smile of not to smile?

1 05 2012

Before I moved to the US I lived in a big city where people walked around with hardly giving you eye contact, there they have different expressions to say hello to people some very impersonal and some very personal. People are very warm and welcoming and they would give you the shirt of their backs, but you would not know it just by passing them on the street.

Here I moved to a small college town and people smile at you on the streets, and when you get into a store they greet you very warm and friendly; some people call you sweety and dear, even when you don’t know them. That seemed odd to me. I mentioned this and I was told that this is because people in the US are very friendly.

After being here for a while I realized that most people do it out of politeness, some out of friendliness, but the smile is just a greeting, it is not an open door for friendship.

I have this instinctive reaction when I see babies, I look at them and smile, can’t help it. So in some parts of town people just notice and smile back, in other parts of town people look at me angrily as to say do not look at my baby. I can’t understand why, maybe they can see I am an alien and they fear alien abduction.

I’ve gotten used to the smiles, I actually love smiling at everybody, I do believe that it is contagious and sometimes it confuses people. So in a recent trip to Germany and I’ve been smiling at people on the street and I got odd looks and some angry looks when smiled at babies.

I asked, I am annoyingly curious and ask questions. They told me that they consider themselves friendly, and don’t see the need to smile to everybody, also they like to protect their privacy.

I believe that not only the culture but the environment affects the smiling, if you are in a go go go city you may not even look at other, or if you are in a sleeping town you may feel inclined to stop smile and greet people.

How are people in your world? would you consider strangers smiling at you nice, friendly or unnecessary and intrusive?

Please share your thoughts.


Uncontacted Native American tribe found in the Amazon Jungle. We need to protect their territory and leave them Alone!!!

5 06 2008

  natives 2 


There was a group of indigenous (Native American) people from the Amazon’s rain forest “found” by Brazilian officials.



 This is worrisome to me, I hope that no one tries to contact them. I know that Brazilian and Venezuelan law have protected territories for them, but those laws are not fully enforced, specially if there is mining or logging to be done.

There is a old story of hundred and maybe thousands of  Yanomamo  Indians (more here) died after a well known group of US anthropologists Read the rest of this entry »

Being Color Blind

21 05 2008

Can people be really color blind? No!! unless you have a psychical condition that does not allow you to see or differentiate colors, no my friend you are not color blind.

That said I believe that there is a possibility of being race blind. This is how I explain this, when I see people, I can see their skin color, their hair texture, their features, those things defined as race, but I do not have personal characteristics attached to those physical traits, I do not have an expectation of how they are supposed to act, speak, think or feel, because of those physical characteristics.

Do you think they care abour race?They can see that their colors are different, but can they see race?
no, that is the social construct that separates…remember divide and conquer? Until they are socialized one way or the other, they don’t see their race or skin color as good or bad.

Would it be nice if we could stay that pure and innocent?

 As I have said before I grew up in a society of mixed people, so mixed that Read the rest of this entry »

What does it mean to be or act Native American

19 05 2008

Native Americans, American Indians, or indigenous people, however you want to call them, they were the original inhabitants of the Americas. Yes, I said the Americas, because I am including everybody from Canada to Argentina. All over this big continent the native peoples were displaced, robbed, enslaved and killed. They were deemed savages because they were different.

People came from Europe and they knew better, they wanted all Read the rest of this entry »

What does it mean to be White or act White?

14 05 2008


I have learned that the term white is given to Americans of European descents that are assimilated to the “American way of life”. I have friends born in Latin America of European parents and that are not considered White, I don’t really understand why.


For some people being white means to be embarrassed or feel guilt for what your ancestors or the ancestors of other whites did. I think that is not fair. I understand that white people in the US have advantages that others don’t, but they have no control over what their ancestors did 50 and 100 years ago.


I also don’t agree with those that promote and practice racism of any kind. I believe that there is an inherent prejudice in people raised in the US, just by the fact of growing in such a racialized society, but it is something that people can become aware, acknowledge and overcome.


I have asked around and have concluded that acting white means that you are acting outside the racial stereotype assigned to you.


But what does it really mean to be white? And how about White privilege?


I read an essay by Peggy McIntosh, where she analyses what it means to be white, here is an excerpt. 

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools, and blank checks.


Photo by Roanne Sharp


This portion brings it home to me, I hope it does to you as well. 

1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.

2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.

3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

7. When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.

9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.

10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.

11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person’s voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.

12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser’s shop and find someone who can cut my hair.

13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.

14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.

15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.

16. I can be pretty sure that my children’s teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others’ attitudes toward their race.

17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.

18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.

19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.

20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.

21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world’s majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.

23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.

24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the “person in charge”, I will be facing a person of my race.

25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my race.

26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children’s magazines featuring people of my race.

27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.

28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.

29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.

30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn’t a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.

31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.

32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.

33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.

34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.

35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.

36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.

37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.

38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.

39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.

40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.

41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.

42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.

43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.

44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.

45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.

46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin.

47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.

48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.

49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.

50. I will feel welcomed and “normal” in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.

You can find the rest of her essay here


What does it mean to be/act Asian?

13 05 2008

Happy Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage month!!!

 Asian American Heritage

This one is another biggie. Asians who are they and what does it mean to act Asian?

For starters Asians come from many countries all with different cultures. Yes, some of them have similarities, but they are different cultures nontheless. When People think of Asian they rarely think about Indians or Iraqis for example.

I have a friend from Korea that explains that the Korean-American culture is very different from the Korean culture and that she would not consired them Koreans, ‘they are Americans’, she says.

Asian and Asian-Americans can be of Filipino, Japanese, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian descent and more, why lump them all together prentending like they are all the same, when they are not.

Here is a map that showes all the countries that comprise the Asian continent.

Map os Asia


   Here are some Asian stereotypes, Please contribute your own:

  • Asians are smart, specially in math ans science.
  • they don’t speak English
  • they are all foreigners. People with Asian features are often asked where are they from, just because they have Asian features, they are assumed from elsewhere.
  • Shy and modest, but at the same time
  • Overly sexual (Geisha)
  • They all have dry cleaning business or restaurant
  • for Idians, they are taking all tech jobs
  • they all practive martial arts
  • Asians are all Chinese

As I said in my latest post I don’t know what it means to act Asian (well I am not) but I learned that there are lables for those minorities that “act White”, Oreo cookie for African Americans, Coconut for Latinos and Twinkies for Asians…here is the proof



Enemy Wanted!

3 04 2008

This another comic by Secret Asian Man I don’t think there is a need for me to add  anything…