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Americans & Racism: Foreigners

Racism is not a joke. Never take it lightly.

Lillian Hui

Racism is not a joke. Never take it lightly.

Lillian Hui, A&E Editor

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We all know that there are things we should and should not say, whether it’s a cheeky remark or even something that may seem funny to you but isn’t to others. Have you ever thought about what it feels like to be the butt of the joke? Especially when something said is offensive to someone else?

Put it this way, say your friend is known to be the kind of person who speaks before they think. And he or she says something not so nice about a foreigner, something along the lines of the said person not being able to speak English properly.

So begins the long line of questioning: was it really just a joke or was there something else behind the meaning of the statement?

Racism is a strong word that shouldn’t be thought of lightly nor should things about racism be said lightly. Of course with today’s society, even the simplest statement can be made into a racist comment if taken the wrong way.

What happens when a person tries to make a joke but it ends up coming out the wrong way? No one is trying to point fingers at any offender of this but it’s true, not everything you say is funny. In fact, it can and may possibly be offensive to the person you direct this at.

Just recently, celebrity news website TMZ made a remark about South Korean girl group EXID’s improper English. The news site has been under fire for the past couple of days after mocking member Junghwa Park for her English.

Don’t forget that this appearance made by the girl group is most likely one of their first appearances in America ever. Imitating someone because they have a strong accent and aren’t sure of the English sentence structure isn’t right. Neither is comparing them to an Asian that was born in America.

It’s like saying you’re making fun of someone for their inability to do something when it’s their first time. No one is perfect and no one ever will be, so what gives you the right to criticize someone when you’d probably be the same if you tried speaking their language?

Paramus High School sophomore, Tiffany Lopez, said she found it ridiculous that foreigners are made fun of when they speak English.

“They can speak another language fluently so the fact that they’re trying to speak English is what we should respect and admire.”

She further explains, “They take the risk to do so even if they know they aren’t amazing at it. If we spoke in other languages, they’d find it funny but there’s no reason to make fun of the accent. It’s the fact that you were able to say a sentence and communication is what counts.

Another student at New Milford, whom wishes to stay anonymous, states, “I feel remarks about foreigners’ differences are a form of outcasting as well as a form of assimilation. In any wave of immigration a wave of stereotypes erupt. Although they cause pain they push individuals to want to become more, or better American.”

This person also added that if he had to deal with racism in a way, he would “Defy the stereotype involved to prove how one doesn’t match the stereotype.”

Also, just recently in February, former Italy soccer coach Arrigo Sacchi, was under fire for his statement about the Italian soccer team having too many colored players on the team. This sparked conflict from all over the world which then led to Sacchi’s defense in saying he is not racist at all and just felt there were many foreigners in Italy.

We shouldn’t jump to conclusions to judge people for their differences because at the end of the day, we’re all human. We shouldn’t be racist just because someone speaks differently or looks different. A foreigner is still a person, just like you. So the next time you want to judge someone for not speaking proper English, think about how you would sound if you spoke another language.

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Americans & Racism: Foreigners