It's Already 2016, But Asians Living Abroad Are Still Hearing Racist Comments Like These

Seriously, there's no such thing as an "Asian language".

"Why is your English so good?"

That is the question doctor-turned-comedian Jason Leong and his fellow Malaysian medical students remember being asked when they were studying in Dublin, Ireland more than a decade ago.

Sounds like a harmless question to ask, but in truth, it's just one of many instances where Asians based abroad encounter casual racism from the ignorant subset among Westerners... even until today.

Leong's comment was made in reference to a collection of viral photos from the #ThisIs2016 project initiated by Asian students from Bowdoin College in Maine, US

"Do you speak Muslim?"

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

New York Times editor Michael Luo created the hashtag #ThisIs2016 when he wrote an open letter to a woman who told him to "go back to China" in October. Asian-Americans and Asians of all ethnicities across the nation began sharing their stories of the stereotyping and racial harassment they've endured, some of which were compiled into a video.

"Say something Asian for me."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"No, I don't speak Asian."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

The photos, which have been shared by Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike, feature real statements and experiences encountered by the students themselves.

Like Leong, many have been questioned about their command of the English language and made fun of for the supposed "Asian accent":

"I say Hello not Herro."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"'Wow! Your English is really good!' Thanks... I'm Canadian."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"If you're from Japan, how is your English so good?"

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

Some have had their facial features remarked upon and even got manhandled in public...

"I guess you're pretty... for an Asian."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"Your eyes are big for an Asian."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"I was at a wedding when some guests came up to me, pulled my eyes back, and asked if I was Chinese or Japanese."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

... While some had their names made fun of

"Please don't laugh at my name."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"My name is NOT Jasmine Long or Joy Huang."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"Why don't you use an American name instead?"

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association

Asian stereotypes are alive and kicking... even in 2016

"I'm good at math not because I'm Asian but because I'M GOOD AT MATH."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"Are you going to have an arranged marriage?"

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"Do Chinese parents kill their second child if they have one?"

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

So are stereotypes linking certain ethnicities to violent activities

"Are you going to bomb something?"

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

"Your beard is a risky look."

Image via Bowdoin Asian Students Association Facebook

What is it with people labelling Asian people as "exotic"?

Or "interrogated" about their ethnicity and place of origin, even though they might have been born and raised right there in the US?

Being confused for another ethnicity is one thing. Being told to "go back to China" or having your heritage dismissed or appropriated, on the other hand...

And then there are people who stubbornly hold on to the narrow view of Asians

You can check out the rest of the #ThisIs2016 photos here.

Have you studied or worked abroad before? Let us know your thoughts and experiences on how Asian people are perceived in the comments section below.

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