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Pet Sins July 1999

Asian student rejected by Asian Americans but had positive experiences with black Americans

I was an Asian international student studying in America. I had a converstaion with a classmate (Afro-Asian American) about trying to break the ice with Americans at my new dorm where I spent a very alienated senior year. I always say hello but the dormmates just stare at me without returning a greeting. It was almost always white students who snubbed me like that. Most African American dormmates were NOT like that. They treated me like a human being.

Another South Asian also complained about how she would say hi and people would just ignore her or stare in a hostile way. She said she hadn't had such problems with white Jews. She thinks Jewish Americans generally treat ethnic minorities better because they are ethnic minorities themselves.

The Asian Americans were sometimes superficially polite to me but they were too busy to make it with whites than pay attention to foreign Asian students, the last people they want to be identified with. Sometimes they would ignore me even as I talked to them.

My Afro-Asian American classmate said, "Whenever I move to a new school or a new dorm, I always start out positive and try to be friendly to people. Within 20 minutes, I would be thinking, 'Why did I even try? This place is the same as the last.'"

Sadly I agree.

1996