Thursday, January 16, 2014


Some people have asked me why I get so worked up when people are "fascinated" by my culture or background. What they clearly don't understand and are ignorant to is the difference between understanding and learning about another culture vs. objectifying another culture.

Hey world, I am not a "Chinese" "Girl" who cooks "exotic" "Chinese" food and speaks an "exotic" language.
Ethnicity and culture are not "cool" things you get to learn about but a strong part of of what makes up a person. I am no more defined by my skin colour as the hat I am wearing today as what my background culture is. Learning about a culture is more than saying shouting a couple of words of its language to a person walking by, liking some ethnic dish, or wearing a cultural clothing as a hallowe'en costume.

Learning about various cultures HELPS you understand A PART of what that person is made up of, it doesn't make the person who he or she is.

I am NOT an object that happens to be walking on the street or working next to you that you are "fascinated" with. I am a person just like you. Do you like Daft Punk BECAUSE YOU ARE FRENCH? Do you listen to the Beatles BECAUSE YOU ARE BRITISH? Do you dance to Elvis BECAUSE YOU ARE AMERICAN?

I like shopping as much as it's because I am Chinese as I am Canadian. No, I like shopping because my name is Lynn and I like to analyse things and i'm frugal and a minimalist, and my brain can't work in clutter mode and shopping allows me to look around, and analyse things and learn about culture and ensure i buy what works out for me price and practicality. Now if you had gotten to know me as a person, you might know that, but instead, you can just attribute it to the fact that I am "Chinese", whatever that means for you. In a similar vein, just because I grew up in Canada doesnt mean I love the cold.  Can you imagine a Canadian tell another Canadian "stop complaining, you're canadian, you should like the cold! You should be used to it!" Yeah clearly because i am from somewhere it makes me a super human who LOVES cold weather.

Next time when you make a comment based on someone's culture - think about what you are saying. No one is walking cultural artefact.