This is a map of Asia. North Americans, you may notice this map is not solely comprised of Japan, Korea, China and Thailand. People in the UK, you may notice India is not a continent. That is, if those of you who generalize entire continents can even pinpoint India on a map.
Indians are Asian, gasp! And not all brown skinned people are Indian, also, gasp! There are an alarming amount of people, of all ages, from all backgrounds, who seem to be unable to process this.
I’m ethnically Asian. Since Asia is an extremely large continent, I could be from any number of countries. I am neither from India, China, Korea, Japan or Pakistan, yet not so surprisingly, I am still Asian.
Yes, there are commonalities across regions, through the conflation of cultures, colonialism, globalization, transnationalism and movement of diasporas. Sometimes these are all the same thing. Rickshaws, rice and curry can be found across the continent.
But let’s not overgeneralize. You can also find Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims and Hindus across Asia. Cantonese Speaking Chinese Muslims! English Speaking Indian Jews!
No, we are not all the same. Orientalism? (Please look up Edward Said for basic concepts) No thank you.
So let’s not use umbrella terms, regarding Asians as a monolith while simultaneously denying the regional identity of millions of people- and how about we also not engage in xenophobia?
Are you someone that thinks this way? Shame on you! You should perhaps invest in buying a map, and take a look at what countries are you know, where.
Geography, people. It’s important.
I wrote this a few days ago in regard to some tumblrs I see that generalize with their terms. Of course, this issue is more than relevant in real life, and even to this tumblr. I’ve written before that I often try to tag everyone within the region of Asia as “Asian” just so I can add some diversity to the “Asian” tag. Even when I read comments from reblogs and submissions, and well, some of it is questionable to say the least.
So I’m reposting this here, because, well, it’s relevant. If you have issues with anything, please go through the notes beforehand. No where am I generalizing entire countries. For those contesting my use of “North America” and the “UK” please read this.
This is essentially a PSA. And a rant. Anyways, carry on.
Most of this commentary is flawless. I will just add that:
- The region south of the Himalayas is known as a sub-continent, specifically the Indian sub-continent.
Until 1947, it was indeed all considered India. From Ladakh to Port Blair, Baluchistan to Chittagong was all under the British Empire India.
That being said,Much of North-West Kashmir is disputed, in fact it known as Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and remains a bone of contention between Indian and Pakistan.
Parts of Northern Kashmir that border China are also considered to be part of China.
However, these areas were often arbitrarily named due to colonizing powers. You can see this around the world of course, and especially in Africa. Entire ethnicities are split up, or are amalgamated with several others. India alone, as we know it today, has always been home to several hundreds of cultures and languages. The Bengal, or Bangladesh now, too has always had it’s own, separate language systems [entirely] distinct from other regions. I realize that some words may overlap as they are all derived from Sanskrit, but that is hardly enough argument to support India as the “father” of all South Asian countries. Sanskrit has been observed to have commonalities with Latin and Ancient Greek, so everything is really just confusing then. Of course if I start on this now, it may result in (probably for some) a very long, overdue history lesson.