Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Race, and Why I Might Keep My Maiden Name

I am really tired of people telling me that racism isn't a problem anymore, and that everyone should move on. Seriously, are these people listening to themselves? Living in Singapore, race is incredibly apparent. I've been over this before, but in case you were curious, expats (Westerners in particular) float in their own bubble, while ethnic Chinese Singaporeans sit on the top of the pile. On the bottom lay Tamil Indians, who are generally foreign (cheap) labor workers. Above them are the housemaids who are Filipino or Malay or whatever else. You get the idea.

Race plays a role in how I, and everyone else in this world, get treated.  My parents get more "really nice, polite, chatty taxi drivers" than I ever will, and they overall seem to get better customer service. I may get cheaper prices when bargaining, but that's about it.

I can't even imagine what it's like to be another minority even more stepped on, like Filipino in Singapore or African-American in the USA. I found this article really disturbing, read it here. I'm sure there were several factors at play when using a job-search site, but come on, really?

I've got a "white" sounding name, and when people meet me they are often surprised that I'm Chinese. They generally then say I look half Chinese, implying my mother is Chinese (and often that she married my father to move to America, but maybe I'm reading into things). On paper, my name is as neutral as any white girl's, which is useful.

If I marry an Asian and take his surname, my name would instantly identify my race. Could this hurt me getting a job? Who knows, but it's something to think about.  What if you have an Asian-sounding surname but are White? Apparently YouTuber Shane Dawson started using that surname because his real surname, Yaw, made him sound Asian and he thought it was hurting his chances of employment.

Make of that what you will.

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