The realities of being British Born Chinese

It’s not an easy gig

BBC is not just a popular broadcasting corporation.

It is also the way we British Born Chinese refer to ourselves. And though we are a small group, we encounter a number of race related issues every day.

Basically English

People will often make casual racist remarks around you, assuming it’s chill because ‘you’re basically English’. Which is somewhat true, except if we’re not friends and you don’t know anything about me, don’t ask if I play piano at grade 8 or make a comment about all Asians owning a Louis Vuitton suitcase and a Canon camera.

For one, there are many different types of Asians and the particular group you are referring to is Chinese. And secondly, whilst any BBC will agree that they can laugh along with certain stereotypes, it’s definitely not going to go down well if you question why I didn’t get all A’s at GCSE.

Schooling

Going to a private school meant that there was definitely a lack of diversity. Being the only Chinese girl in the class – it went without saying that it was me who had to show the new Chinese pupil the ropes on their first day. This automatically groups you together and forces you to be friends with those of the same  ethnic background. Not to mention, peers and teachers will always get you confused with the other Chinese kids and make various excuses such as ‘you have similar hair’…

Parents

You’d think that living in England their whole lives they’d be accustomed to the Western lifestyle. Yes and no. We sit by the waters of Whitby as they tell me I can’t marry a white man whilst divulging in their favourite meal: fish and chips. Though my parents are probably cooler than me (Mum owns Yeezy’s) they still took me to my first drinking party and allowed me to only sip diet coke the whole night.

Where are you from tho?

‘Yorkshire’

‘No, I mean where are you from originally’

‘Yorkshire’

‘I mean where are your parents from?’

‘Scotland and England’

By this point people just give up and start guessing what ethnicity you are.

‘How do you say your surname?’

The question I get asked more than ‘How are you?’. Not only is it a boring one, but after the third time I’ve had to correct your mispronunciation, I’m just starting to assume you’re kind of racist.

The all Asian club nights

Whoever thought this was a good shout is twisted. Get them all in one place and we’ll make a killing they must have thought. And they were right, because it’s basically a given that everyone will buy tables and a few bottles so that they can take a million selfies for Insta just to show off to their mates about British uni life…

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University of Kent