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Monday, December 18, 2006

We all look the same.... 

Oh, my. This is a little embarrassing...

I just found this site through Kimi's blog.

It's a site called "All Look the Same". It's a quiz that shows a dozen and a half faces non-mixed Asian-Americans in NYC. The test subjects are either Chinese, Japanese or Korean. The quiz tests to see whether or not you are able to tell the ethnicity of the subject, based solely on a photo of their face.

As some of you may know, I often joke that "We all look alike". Seriously, I've had Kristi Yamaguchi's Dad (and other random people, for that matter!) tell me that I look like Michelle Kwan. I jokingly told him, "Jim, we all look alike! People in the Mid-West used to tell me that I look like your daughter!" (We look nothing alike. And yes, she's Japanese, and I'm Chinese.)

Trina & Michelle - do we really look alike?

Of course, I joke when I say this, but honestly, I just don't pay much attention in trying to guess the ethnicity of people. Perhaps I'm just being naive in thinking that it shouldn't matter, as I see all people as "the same". Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Perhaps that's just a cop-out. Maybe it should matter to me.

Anyhow, it's no surprise to me that I scored very low on this quiz. The evaluation of my score was "hopeless".

I'm a bit relieved to know that Kimi (who is half-Japanese) scored low as well. I'm trying to figure out what this says about us, if anything...

If you have a moment, take the quiz and let me know how you do. It's quite an interesting idea.

After thinking about this overnight, and especially after reading Bruce's blog on the topic, I feel the need to be very clear about something...

What I am saying is that I am not good, or don't try to be good at looking at an Asian person and guessing which ethnicity they are. And, when I say this, I also want to make it clear that I am proud of my Chinese heritage, and that I'm not ignoring it. I just don't make it a habit of trying to guess someone's ethnicity. Just as I wouldn't look at a new Caucasian friend and try to figure out what their original European (or wherever) descent is.

With that said, I'm wondering if the question that this site is trying to suggest is whether or not the average Joe-Blow (say in the Mid-West) thinks that literally, All Asian people look alike. Bruce mentions in his blog that he is often confused with one of a handful of Asians American Pastors in his church. Okay, that would become really old, really fast.

Here's a line from Bruce's post:

When a white person comes up to me and says, "Hey Rodger", mistaking me for Rodger Nishioka" I always want to say, "Hey Chandler, how's Ross?" But alas . . . I do not.

Bruce, just once, and maybe just once, I'd really love for you to say that.

I used to teach 80 kids at a high school in Union City. They were predominantly Filipino. For the record, I had no problem "telling them apart" and knew all of their names within the first couple of weeks. (with the exception being the set of identical twins - always had a hard time with them!)

So, what's my point here?

While it may be true that it's difficult to tell the ethnicity of one Asian-American from another (we are all living in the Great American Melting Pot, after all) that is not to say that "All Asians look alike".

I really don't look a thing like Kristi Yamaguchi.


Nice post. I scored a Nine which puts me in the "OK" category. It was also 50% so does that mean that I think only 50% of us look the same?
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