Racism against far east asians in the middle east?
Replies: 2 - Last Post: Mar 26, 2012 7:40 AM Last Post By: tangershon
Mar 26, 2012 4:54 AM
Racism against far east asians in the middle east?Hi folks
I am Albert, a student considering traveling the middle east.
As the subject speaks, I would like to ask you if there are obvious forms of racism against far east asian backpackers in this area. The thing is the middle east has been the most exotic countries to me and I was really excited about going on a trip there. Then I met a korean japanese couple last month in Indonesia who told me the middle east would be the last region I might want to go to. They implied about the unpleasant racismish attitude in the area but I just thought it would be everywhere and not a big deal. Back to korea taking this class about Israel and its ethnicity, I got to talk with a Jew professor and mates who lived in the neighboring areas. What worries me is that all of them told me there is clearly racism in Isreal and Jordan, less in Syria and Turkey. Honestly speaking who can enjoy his or her trip if called Chingchangchong or asked where the eyes are? How aggressive and conspicuous would the racism be in general if you travel this area? (I read some of those threads on LP and I think I need to prepare myself and make mind)
Mar 26, 2012 5:24 AM
When I backpacked around rural China and Mongolia I had people stare at me, touch me and ask me very strange questions. I never took it to heart. On the contrary- I think the fact that they found me as interesting as I found them was great. Obviously, a Russian walking around in a Nigerian market would stand out just like a Nigerian would traveling around Siberia.
There is no "indigenous" east Asian population in the ME so prejudice could come in __ ways:
1. There are many migrant east Asian workers in the ME (Thai, Nepalese, Chinese). I guess some people can't tell the difference and may assume you are a Chinese construction worker on your day off.
2. Some people you may meet when backpacking are very simple people (The vendor in the market, the guy who takes you camel riding, etc.). These people, wanting to befriend you or get you into their business and spend your money may say something like "Hey Japan! Hey China!".
I think this is just the result of a bit of ignorance combined with a bit of naivety.
The major prejudice people in the ME would have about Koreans is that they are all hard working hi tech people working for Samsung or Hyundai. Not that bad...
Mar 26, 2012 7:40 AM
2I'm Asian. (At least Jewish) Israelis have been totally friendly to me. I've gotten hit on quite frequently at bars and scored a phone number off an Israeli girl I met on the bus. You won't experience any racism beyond a few NiHao's and being constantly asked where you're from. However, I was just in the Old City today and no fewer than five people (unrelated, intermittent, and all Arab) grabbed at my leonine Asian hair as they walked past me.
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