Skip To Content
    Posted on Dec 11, 2017

    15 Asian Brazilians Talk About The Moment They Realized They Weren't Counted As "White"

    "I wandered around a lot until I conformed to not belonging anywhere."

    In Brazil, if you're Asian or of Asian descent, it isn't always obvious to recognize yourself as being anything other than white. Many Asian Brazilians often "pass" as white and can take advantage of many privileges that affords. However, Asian Brazilians still frequently encounter racism and have to deal with questions about their identity, self image and self esteem.

    On behalf of BuzzFeed Brazil, I reached out to a Facebook group of Asian Brazilians called Perigo Amarelo and invited them to share their experiences of living in Brazil as an Asian or person of Asian descent, especially in terms of racism they've encountered and how they've navigated their identity. Here are their stories:

    1. I got quiet, and she said, 'Girl, you know you're not white, right?! You're yellow.'

    2. "I was 10 years old ... some guy at the bakery made a joke about dick size at my expense."

    3. "So, your dad is Japanese and your mom is normal?"

    4. "I played along and tried not to take it personally — until it got to the point when I started to cry."

    5. "When did I first realize I wasn't white? When I found this image."

    oberlinlibstaff.com

    "I was doing research on WWII, when I found this image." — Gabriel Yuzo

    6. "I always compared myself to blonde kids."

    7. "Me luv you long time, Hey there, Jackie Chan... I've heard it all."

    8. "I was afraid that other kids would say my food was 'disgusting.'"

    9. "Nobody cared, and I realized that they looked down on me with such indifference."

    10. "I kept asking myself, 'Don't I have a nationality? Am I an outsider everywhere?'"

    11. "I wandered around a lot until I conformed to not belonging anywhere."

    12. "When I did an exchange program, it was the first time that people asked me where I was from."

    13. "She said that if this boy I liked didn't like me back, it must be because of my lack of curves as a Japanese girl."

    14. "They made a point of showing off how I was different from the other children."

    15. "I thought that I didn't have to deal with racism, that it was just certain people's 'jokes' that bugged me, and I had to learn to laugh along and not be an unpleasant person."

    This post was translated from Portuguese.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form