back to top

This Quiz Called "Who's Your Token Asian?" Totally Nails The Struggles Asian Girls Face In The West

Are you the overachieving nerd or the Asian sidekick?

Posted on

An infographic titled "Who's Your Token Asian?", created by a 20-year-old Asian-Australian student, has been widely shared in several Asian diaspora groups this past week.

Joy Li / behance.net

It is part of a series titled Living as an Asian Girl, which Joy Li — a student at the University of Technology, Sydney — created for a school project.

The poster presents the "lose/lose situation that Asian women face as they must continually choose between different societal expectations or risk being isolated by both sides," Li told BuzzFeed News.

Li — whose family migrated from China to Australia when she was 1 year old — said the series was born out of her experiences living as an Asian-Australian woman and "is a representation of the contemporary lives of Asian girls living in Western societies."

Joy Li

"I had always considered myself as an 'Australian' without the need for the addition of 'Asian,' but I was perhaps ignorant to have thought that," she said.

"Asian-Australian women — or from any Westernized background — need to be supported, and for them to understand themselves, they need to understand their own history, family structure, cultural background, as well as the gendered and racial structures that influence the way they see themselves and are seen by others."

Living as an Asian Girl includes two other posters. The first is titled "Dear Joy, I ____ You," which takes everyday phrases that are uttered in Li's household and arranges them according to their frequency, tonal value, and emotional impact.

The other is titled "A Sad Ballad for Asian Girls," which Li created by collating Twitter searches related to "Asian women" and "Asian girls" and charting her personal feelings toward the opinions of these people on a scale of black to white with undefined grey.

Joy Li / behance.net

Li said she was initially hesitant to put the project online because it was something personal, but has since received messages from Asian women in Australia, the US, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand about how they can relate to the themes.

"Something I’ve been working on is the importance on having an opinion and I hope in the future it will manifest into something greater," Li said. "So all is good, except my parents still don’t understand it."

You can buy prints of the posters here.

Kassy Cho is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Kassy Cho at kassy.cho@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Promoted