Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

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mr friendly guy
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Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby mr friendly guy » 2017-03-13 03:04am

Remember that thought experiment we had in high school (or at least in WA ones). The story of a boy and his father were in a car accident and then the son was brought to the hospital needing an operation and the surgeon says "I cannot operate on him because he is my son." Remember how everyone came up with solutions such as the boy must have a father and a step father, or he was adopted and it took a while before the obvious solution came up, that the surgeon was the boy's mother. I totally sucked at that one. In my defense I was only 13 at the time. After that thought exercise in year 8, I became more cognizant of my subconscious bias. Lets try this in real life.

Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?
By Helier Cheung
BBC News
11 March 2017

By now, most of the Internet seems to have seen the video of a BBC interview being interrupted by two small children.
International Relations professor Robert Kelly's interview about South Korea was briefly interrupted when his two small children walked in.
He managed to keep his composure, and his wife ushered the two young intruders out.
The video has been viewed hundreds of million times - and delighted hundreds of thousands of people on social media.
But it didn't go unnoticed that many people - including some media outlets, had assumed that Prof Kelly's wife, Jung-a Kim, was the nanny.
It's sparked a wider discussion about assumptions about race, gender, and mixed-race couples.
Was it reasonable to assume Ms Kim was a nanny?

Some families in South Korea do hire nannies - especially if both parents work long hours.
But many people feel the assumption that Ms Kim was a helper, rather than the children's mother, was grounded in racial stereotypes about the roles played by Asian women.

Not everyone thinks this is fair. Some have argued that the look of panic on Ms Kim's face, and the way she speedily ushered out the children, suggested that she was the nanny - and concerned for her job.
But others say she behaved as only a mother would - and that she was obviously anxious that her husband's interview not be disrupted further.
Either way, it's fair to say Korean speakers would have known she was the mother - because during the video, the daughter appears to say: "Why? What's wrong?" and "Mummy, why?"
What sort of assumptions do people make about Asian women?
Conscious - or unconscious bias, does happen sometimes.
When I was at university in London, most people I met assumed that I (as a British Chinese student) was studying either medicine or economics - when I was actually studying English literature.
It was a little annoying, but not a huge deal. But sometimes assumptions can be more hurtful.

One journalist of Indian descent says when she went to work at a regional newspaper, the receptionist mistook her for a cleaner, and asked her: "Are you here to clean the kitchen?"
And Kumiko Toda, an academic of Japanese descent, says a majority of people who meet her for the first time ask her where she's from - despite her growing up in the UK and having a British accent.
It also seems to have affected how some strangers interact with her.
"I was surprised when chatting about street harassment with my friends who are white - they had quite different experiences," she says.
"They said they did not experience nearly as much as I did and the comments tended to be less patronising, although just as bothersome in other ways.
"I wonder whether my ethnicity and the perception of East Asian women as being submissive has something to do with the frequency and the nature of the harassment I experience."
Are people still surprised by mixed-race couples?

Another factor that may have led to the assumptions that Ms Kim was a nanny, is the fact that many still assume, consciously or unconsciously, that people tend to date others from the same ethnic group.
Once, I was at a concert with three male friends - two white English, and one British Chinese - and everyone I spoke to assumed that I was dating the Chinese guy.
Tiffany Wong and Jonathan Smith, a couple in the UK, say they experienced some discrimination from strangers when they started dating, although it was very much the exception rather than the norm.
"We have had people shout stuff at us - once, when we were walking down the street, a guy yelled 'it's so sad you're going with an Asian girl' to John," Tiffany says.
Some of their colleagues and family were also initially surprised when they realised they were dating someone of another race.
"When I mention my fiancee at work, people normally just assume she's Caucasian, and they might be surprised to learn she's not. It's not offensive - it's just that their first thought is that you date someone from your own race," John says.
Does everyone make assumptions though?
Some have argued that assuming that Ms Kim was the nanny is a sign of white-centric bias.
But others have argued it's a chance for people to revisit their assumptions.

And assumptions about race can be a two-way street.
Helen (not her real name), a Filipina nanny working in South Korea, says she has noticed that some "Koreans are very particular about skin colour" and appear to discriminate against some people with darker skin.
Meanwhile, Andrew Wood, a BBC journalist who worked in South Korea for two years, says he was often mistaken for a US soldier while he was there.
"Taxi drivers would rarely stop for white men on Friday or Saturday night as they allegedly assumed white men were drunk soldiers who would vomit in the back of their cabs."

So BBC interviews an expert on South Korean politics, and the interview from home is interrupted by the man's 2 children which made me laugh. A woman rushes in quickly and shoos them out. Tweets occur. Apparently a lot of people thought she was the nanny instead of the mother. Personally the mother was the first thing that came to my mind. Even "progressive" channels like the Young Turks had people thinking it was the nanny.

At the risk of sounding SJW lite, there most probably due to erroneous assumptions about ethnicity. I have experienced this when the Eurovision vendor asked me where I am from after buying an AUSTRALIAN flag from him. He didn't like my answer of Australia because he kept on asking where I am originally from.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby mr friendly guy » 2017-03-13 03:16am

Too late to edit, so I am going to repost.
*************************************************************

I am going to elaborate more. In the age of nation states, unless you're a racist, most people would identify by their nationality rather than ethnicity. There are some exceptions, in my experience Persians identify themselves by ethnicity (Persian)rather than nationality (Iranian), but most Australians would say Australian as their identier as opposed to Anglo Saxon or Anglo Celtic. A national identify is more important in most things than ethnic identity. If I am in trouble overseas it will be the Australian government that will have my back, and not the government of Singapore where I was born, nor the PRC where my grandparents came from.

However for certain people and countries, nationality and ethnicity are very tightly entangled and I am going to come out and say it, some countries just do not have the "experience" of an Australia, US or Canada with immigration from different places. Even if you are a racist, in Australia it most probably wouldn't be strange to you if an Australian is not indigenous or white. They will still be racist arseholes though.

However I am going to say it most probably would be strange for some European countries without this experience. if a German national who wasn't ethnic German were to say one day people would look at Germany as not just white, butt hurt right wing snowflakes would accuse them of calling for genocide, cough Paul Joseph Watson cough. It would never occur to them that this person means that they will have people of that country's citizens not being just a particular ethnic group. Instead they think white genocide.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby ray245 » 2017-03-13 03:41am

Generally speaking, you tend to see more Asian nannies working for a white household than white nannies working for a white household in S.Korea. It's also hard to see in the video that the children are of mixed descent. Common stereotypes shaped many people's initial view, even if they aren't trying to put down any particular ethnicity.

It's kinda the same with Joseph Schooling from Singapore. There were a lot of comments about him being a new migrant sports talent despite the fact that he's a 3rd generation Singaporean because most people assumed there is no way a Singaporean can have such an English-sounding last name.

It's the same with South African Chinese. Most people unfamiliar with South African accents would probably imagine the person to be Chinese-American or Australian American before they can even imagine there being a sizable South African Chinese community.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby His Divine Shadow » 2017-03-13 05:24am

He looked old, she looked younger. So I was wondering if it was a nanny or mother, also knowing nannies is common with rich uppity looking british people like this. Would've fit my stereotypical view of an upper class family where the children are raised by employees more than the parents who are busy thinking Arrested Development was a documentary.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby AniThyng » 2017-03-13 07:24am

I tend to agree with the interpretation that the kid was clearly comfortable barging in on dad and this was the one time he really needed to be undisturbed, usually it would never be an issue, and the mom would have been pretty flustered and embarrassed. Maybe exacerbated by the Asian notion of saving face...at least to me it's perfectly normal for the mom to look so flustered.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby Zixinus » 2017-03-13 10:13am

I think the greater issue that people find it more notable that small children walked in on interview-over-Skype (or whatever was used) than the actual subject the interview was about. You know, the actual impeachment of a president? The opinion that this is a triumph of democracy?

There is nothing really to say about this other than an expectable goof when you do interviews over webcam with people at home. It was a bit funny. That many news reporters thought she was a nanny just shows how desperate has modern journalism has become for clicks and how little research they do.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby ArmorPierce » 2017-03-22 11:14pm

The reason why people assumed the woman was a nanny because of the way she was crawling on the floor and appeared to be freaking out. I didn't even notice that she was Asian until when it was later mentioned.
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Re: Why did people assume an Asian woman was the nanny?

Postby SAMAS » 2017-03-25 02:40pm

Neither did I. I saw the dark hair, but nothing made me think "Asian" at the time. I kinda guessed "Nanny" too, but that was also due to her general state that came across as more of a Nanny thinking "I'm so fired!" than an embarrassed wife/mother trying to get the situation under control.
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