His Roommate’s Girlfriend Started Engaging in Unusual Practices to Honor Their Asian Culture, when They Asked Her to Stop She Accused Them of Colonization, Was This Racially Motivated?

Jack and his wife, Lily, both of Chinese ethnicity, were living overseas with a college friend of Jack’s and his girlfriend, Anna, who is not Asian. They encountered cultural conflicts arising from Anna’s limited understanding of their culture and beliefs, causing a rift in the shared house. Here is what Jack had to say:

Cultural Differences

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Jack (28M) and his wife, Lily (25F), were living overseas in a rented house with their SO’s college friend, Tom, who had moved in with his girlfriend, Anna, during lockdown. Anna was not Asian, which made a difference in their cultural interactions.

She Started Acting Strange

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At first, Anna seemed nice, but she started acting strangely a month after moving in. She suggested that Jack and Lily practice their “real” religion, which she believed was Buddhism, even though they came from Christian families. She even bought incense and a Buddha statue, despite Lily’s migraines. When they politely explained that they were not Buddhists, Anna insisted and promised that she didn’t mind.

“Speak Your REAL Language”

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Anna also suggested that they speak their “real” language, Cantonese, after overhearing Jack’s family talking to them in a mix of English and Cantonese. Lily explained that she couldn’t speak Cantonese, but Anna was disappointed and accused her of throwing away her heritage. However, Lily’s father was only comfortable speaking English.

She Pushed Unwanted Food Choices on Them

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Anna also bought raw internal organs for Jack and Lily to cook, even though they didn’t eat them. When they told her that they didn’t eat that, Anna was again disappointed and suggested that they hadn’t found the right recipe yet.

Hell Notes Everywhere

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Things got really weird during Chinese New Year when Anna ordered decorations, including hell notes for deceased ancestors, banners with their names written on them, white banners for deceased people, and kabuki masks, which were not Chinese. When Lily told her to take down the decorations, Anna snapped and accused her of forgetting her roots and being colonized.

She Was Not Colonized

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Lily explained that she didn’t celebrate Lunar New Year outside of her home country for personal reasons and that Anna should have just asked instead of forcing stereotypes down their throats. When Anna burst into tears and brought in her boyfriend, Jack stood by Lily, and they clarified that they had never been asked and that Anna’s behavior was inappropriate.

Inappropriate Behavior

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Lily had faced similar situations before, and her comments about how it was inappropriate had always been shut down. She felt that Anna had hit her limit, and she wanted to make sure that she wasn’t the one in the wrong.

Sensitive Mixed Heritage

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Anna was of mixed heritage, Caucasian and African American, which added another sensitive layer to the situation. Lily hadn’t talked to Anna about the incidents, but she had told her not to do it again because she didn’t like it.

Better Communication

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In the end, Jack and Lily realized that they should have communicated better with Anna and explained why her behavior was inappropriate. They also understood that Anna’s actions came from a place of good intention, but her lack of understanding of their culture made it difficult for them to accept her gestures.

The Internet Responded

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This commenter wrote, “Not woke? She’s straight up racist. Ask her if she’d be buying you beans and a sombrero if you were Puerto Rican. Seriously though, she needs a frank talk about what racism is. Yes, I know sombreros are Mexican and not Puerto Rican. I said this because OP received a Japanese Kabuki mask.”

More Internet Responses

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Another commenter posted, “Say it louder for the people in the back! She is being both racist and it feels like she is fetishizing their identities. OP is not the jerk and the roommate needs to tell his gf to stop.”

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