How It Feels To be White In A Foreign Country

Hi friends,

You must be wondering how I am faring in a foreign country such as Brazil? Well, I now understand how it feels to be white.

Now, I have lots of white friends. I never knew how it felt to be white and always took pity on friends when they looked at me quizzically when my mom or relatives would speak mandarin. Jesting about the gringo is common; though the white friends can´t understand it. Of course, I have Indian friends too, but it just feels way different being white.

In Brazil, hardly anyone speaks English. According to my newly adopted Brazilian brother, you only learn vocabularies such as “dog” and “cat” in school. Thus, my Portuenglish is often returned with a empty look “what the hell are you saying? Are you from outerspace?”.

And of course, “JAPONAISE” is the common comment about my race. If anyone says I´m Japanese again, I will seriously choke the life out of them. I said, “I´m from LA but I´m Taiwanese”. “Thailandness?”- they reply.

OMG. Stab me!!

Thus, this is how it feels to be a multi-cultural, tri-cultural German born Taiwanese American. How does this relate to being white? Well, I often see my white friends have these typical quizzical looks when a restaurant worker or some non-english person would say something.

Now, I see it in the mirror. I, myself, carry a constant quizzical mask. The mask says “what the hell are you saying?”

It is in South America that I finally realized, “dayam…I´m American and I´m proud of it. Yes, I´m a confused American that happens to be Taiwanese and was born in Germany, but I´m still American in culture. I love my ghetto personality.”


I am going to miss Brazil because the people are incredibly warm. They are naturally positive, they smile and laugh for no reason. Well, reasons I can´t understand. They are laid back and can take hours to get out the door, but they enjoy relationships and talking. I have learned a lot from Ecuador and Brazil, the people are SO unlike Americans. They live simply, save and recycle, and they seem a lot more content than…well, me. So this is what I´ve learned from them- relaxe and enjoy the sun.



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