“You look exotic. I like it.” are words that came from my high school crush. Back then I believed it was meant to be a compliment but instead of feeling all fuzzy inside, I couldn’t understand why it made me feel very uncomfortable. After all, I only used the word “exotic” in the context of foods/fruits or animals. Looking back at this years later I understand now why those words felt so diminishing. Calling someone exotic is not a compliment.
It’s also not a preference. It is a racial preconception.
It implies that I come from a foreign place when really I was born and raised in Germany.
It makes me feel like I don’t belong and it is incredibly offensive.
People with yellow fever end up reducing an asian persons’ value only to their own fantasy. Asian women are filled with doubt of not ticking off all the boxes which is exhausting and leaves you feeling depersonalized and objectified.
I am not your yellow fever.
I am Jasmin, the co-lead of this months East Asian Allyship month and the founder of THE ROARING SOULS, a community that aims to erase the stigmas that revolves around topics of mental health and social justice by amplifying people's voices from all around the world and by sharing their story.
This is a safe space to feel understood, encouraged to speak up, a chance to clear up any stigmas and most importantly to not feel alone.
Because no matter how people make you feel: You belong.