Being Chinese and living in America, I have experienced my share of prejudice. Sometimes you do not really notice it, and other times it is obvious. But there are also ways in which I have shown prejudice and judged according to stereotype. In Los Angeles there are so many different races and ethnicities that it is impossible not to observe the way different people interact and think of one another. As Ruchlis shows, prejudice can present itself in various forms, whether through anti-locution, avoidance, discrimination, physical attack, or even extermination. I have not witnessed extermination, but I have certainly witnessed or been apart of the others. This paper will talk about one way in which I have experienced prejudice and one way in which I was the perpetrator of prejudice.
I remember being the recipient of prejudice when I was younger and in a part of town that I was unused to frequenting. Because whenever Asian tourists come to L.A. they always carry with them a lot of cameras and take many pictures everywhere they go, locals can make fun of the way Asians behave whenever they visit foreign places. But since I live in L.A., I don't behave in the same manner as visiting Asians. Nonetheless, because I look Asian and sometimes travel around time with a group of my Asian friends, outsiders might look at us as if saying, "Where is your camera?" I am sometimes very worried about the way people perceive me.
One day, being out with my friends, we went into a shop where apparently the owner did not like Asians because as soon as we entered, he disappeared. This was a clear case of avoidance -- for while we waited for some time to buy water and the man who was supposed to be working the cash register refused to come over to us, he had no problem waiting on a Mexican couple who came in some minutes later. The man himself was Mexican, and my friends and I decided that this was a Mexican only shop -- so we left without purchasing our water. We could not be certain, but we all felt that the Mexicans looked at us on our way out and smiled and made jokes about us! But we had no way of knowing for sure -- they might not have done any such thing. Nonetheless, we were all angry.
Now, perhaps I am misjudging the man and the situation altogether: maybe he was too busy restocking shelves to really notice us -- even though there were four of us and we were being loud girls! Then again, maybe it was the fact that we were noisy (and maybe even rude and flippant in our demeanor) that he did not stop what he was doing to wait on us. Perhaps he was sensitive to the fact that he was different -- I cannot say. I felt offended at the time, but I no longer do -- because I myself have behaved in a similar way -- and I do not know if it was because of racial stereotyping or prejudice or just annoyance with people altogether or just simply being in a bad mood one day -- but I have also shown what could seem like prejudice, and it was in the same exact manner, too.
Once when I was working, a group of young black men came into the store. Sometimes such groups can be irritating because they say things beneath their breath to one another right in front of you and then they laugh and you do not know what they are laughing at or if they are laughing at you. One day when I was supposed to be working the register, such a group came in: they were noisy in the way they entered the store, and already they were snickering. I did not want to have to face them, so I backed away and busied myself…