“What is your obession with race?” That’s what many Europeans and Asians have asked me. I’ve lived in at least 4 different continents, and I’ve criticized and defended the issue of race and identity in the US. Outside the US, it’s true that most countries have a clear connection between “race” and nationality. China is a huge perpetuator of this idea. There have been countless YouTube commenters who say I’m somehow a traitor to my last name or worse. If you think racism doesn’t exist in Asia, Europe, and Africa, it does.
One thing I’ve noticed in many countries is the language used by various people of different national origin, especially by Chinese Mandarin-speaking populations, when refering to other groups of people. Apparently many Chinese, and even older Taiwanese, descent people in the US will call others ‘foreigners’ or 外國人 (Thanks Google Translate!). Many times, it’s used exclusively to refer to Euro-Americans in the US. I’ve always told family members that we’re all American, but why do you call them 外國人 as if you’re from China? Although in Europe, 外國人 refers to anyone who isn’t of East Asian descent, including African, West Asian (Middle Eastern), South Asian, and Latino descent. I think it’s about time Americans of all colors updated our language (as we’ve historically been doing through being “politically correct”, but maybe that’s just progress).
I know for Latino Americans (I don’t use ‘Hispanic’ because it implies relation to Spain more directly), there are many terms for Euro-Americans, including ‘gringo’, but I wonder if any other groups in the US have their own non-offensive terms to refer others.