Shit Taiwanese People Say

Perhaps many of you are familiar with the "Shit [insert specific group here] say (about [insert second specific group here])" videos floating around on YouTube.  A while ago, one that caught my eye for obvious reasons was "Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls" by chescaleigh:

I showed a classmate this video, and she suggested I make a "Shit Taiwanese People Say".  But, being practically inept at making good videos, I decided to do a little written version.  I realize that not all Taiwanese people make these ignorant comments, and I have met a lot of open-minded locals here, but the following comments are things that I seriously hear *a lot*.

So, without further ado, my top 5 pieces of "shit" that I hear Taiwanese people say about black people, or specifically, about me.

4. Black people can't speak Chinese.//黑人不會講中文。

I hear this one all the time.  Usually I hear this after someone around me has already showered me with a barrage of insults, and I give them a look or laugh a little to myself at their stupidity.  They then turn to the person next to them and go "Did she hear what we said?" or "Does she understand?".  A lot of times, the person will reply, "Of course not!  Black people can't speak Chinese!"  Really?  Because I'm sure black people can speak Chinese:


I suppose this belief is due to the image perpetuated around the world about us poor dark people.  Not only do we look weird, but we're not smart enough to be educated.  Usually when I hear this, I say nothing.  It's fun to listen to the ridiculous crap that flies out of peoples' mouths, especially when I'm in a situation where I need to speak Chinese and the person who said the insult is still around.

3. Black people are ugly.//黑皮膚不好看。

I hear this almost daily as well.  I've had comments made about nearly all of my features, especially the size of my nose and lips (especially the fact that they are naturally partially red).  I also get a lot of comments on the way I dress (which is not really remarkable).  Maybe they're onto something though. Remember, black women are the most unattractive women on earth (yeah, sure), which is exactly why a lot of women here get perms to make their hair poofier...just like afro-textured hair.  Hmm...

2. Black people don't shower.//黑人不洗澡。

This one is so funny!  Black people have dark skin, it must be because we shower less, or even more frightening, not at all!  Judging by the body odors I have taken in on the MRT, I'd say that some Taiwanese people tend not to shower as much as they should.  In fact, there are people of every race that lack personal hygiene.  As for me, and many other black people, I do shower.  Every day.  Sometimes more than once a day.  Shocking!
Quick!  Grab your cameras!
There's a black person taking a shower!
1. It seems like she's intelligent.//好像她很聰明。

This one may not seem as bad as the other ones.  In fact, it may look like a compliment, but for me, this is by far the most offensive thing a person (two people in fact, I've heard this twice) has said about me.  I hate the fact that, due to my appearance, sometimes I'm seen here as someone who is "stupid until proven intelligent".  I think this ignorant comment goes along with the ones of shock that are made when I'm, *gasp*, reading a book on the bus or train, or, *gasp*, can order a meal all by myself.  *facepalm*

So, what's some shit people have said about you while you were abroad?


  1. The shower comment is ridiculous considering how Nigerians can be so uptight about bathing. I have family who are not satisfied when they shower three times a day!

    The shit I have heard travelling as a Black African woman are mostly from men trying to sexualise me. "I like chocolate", "You are a really pretty African girl" this was said a lot in Europe, particularly Italy. The only Asian country I've been to is Japan, and luckily I didn't have to hear any shit. Most things people said to me were positive, based on my looks, my hair, my intelligence or my "courage" travelling alone in a foreign country.

    1. Right? Nigerians are obsessed with showers, my mom is a 3x a day bather, haha.

      Ew, objectification isn't any better than rudeness, that's for sure. It's cool that you had a positive experience in Japan, a few people here have told me that I have "courage" to come all the way here alone too.

  2. Stupid until proven guilty.....

    It's not just taiwanese people with that attitude. A lot of non-black ppl have that attitude.

    1. So true. Recently today in first period I had to deal with a guy tell me that all immigrants are stupid, steal American jobs, and do crime. Also that we should go back to our own country and "That the government would make laws to prevent immigration and revoke citizenship up to 60 years back" You can imagine how that conversation went. The worst part is you can't convince them with truth. The Bible says foolish people are not interested in knowledge but rather expressing their opinion. The whole time while he tried to convince me how I was stealing "precious American jobs" by going to school to be a nurse he was more interested in expressing his opinion than listening to reason. I laugh because more than 89% of my nursing class either are immigrants or first generation American. (I'm first generation American). He said "Whites are much better for a field that requires intelligence." In all honesty after what I see in Nursing Homes and Hospitals white nurses either A. DON'T KNOW JACK! B. Believe they are superior compared to other nurses of ethnicity. C. ARE BOTH

    2. @ Kesia

      Normally, that would be a situation where your blood pressure went up, but you really do just have to laugh.

    3. I was heated the rest of the day. I just decided not waste my time with the kid. Can you believe he called me stubborn, hardheaded, and ignorant for not agreeing with him?

    4. Sounds like he was just trolling in person to see if he could fuck with you.

    5. Right, I've gotten these sort of comments from all kinds of people, not only Taiwanese.

      @Kesia - I'd like to write that guy off as a troll, but I've gotten serious comments from people who have said things along the same line. I'll never forget a comment I got in high school from one of the top people in my class. At the time, my class rank was higher than his and he said he was ashamed that a black person out ranked him. It's despicable that people seriously think they're better than you just because they have lighter skin, are not an immigrant, whatever.

  3. How do you cope? With all sincerity, I'd really like to know.

    I'm coming up on a multi-year stint in Korea, and to be candid, it's beginning to take a toll. I think that I'm beginning to internalize the things that I was able to rationalize and pretty effortlessly brush off a year or two ago. For instance, I've stated sweeping my fro up into these staid, not terribly flattering buns simply because I can't take another Korean person jeering at and ridiculing my hair. And that's just a mundane example of the ways in which I've consciously and unconsciously altered my behavior while living here.

    I've met great people, and forged friendships which I genuinely cherish, but the othering is starting to affect me in a way that I hadn't anticipated. And in turn, I know that I'm probably not sending the best vibes out into the
    ether. And this only reinforces the whole toxic cycle.

    So really, what do you DO? Or am I just not being sufficiently Zen and detached?

    1. Honestly, I don't have a specific answer. I can't really say right now that I'm coping 100% with everything. I still have my really bad days, but as much as possible, I just try to be myself. As unpopular or as much of a target that it might make me, I'm not going to change my style, appearance, or attitude to make people happy.

      I think it's important not to compromise your sense of self. My fro is very unpopular here, and people make fun of it all the time. People also make fun of my braid outs, or puffs, or when I wear a hat. It doesn't matter what I do, there's always going to be someone out there that's going to have a problem with it. I had someone make a rude comment at me because I was tying my shoe (I'm dead serious). Everything I do is "weird" or "crazy" just because I look so different from everyone else.

      But, that's okay. I know there's nothing wrong with me (and there's nothing wrong with you!) so don't change anything. :D

      Plus, there are still lots of nice people out there that won't mock or disregard you. In fact, they will think the fact that you're so different is really cool. I've had strangers come up to me and talk to me because they think it's awesome that I live here. Not everyone (fortunately) is ignorant.

      So, in short, my advice is to be yourself. You'll be more comfortable that way, and if you being you makes other people uncomfortable, that's not your problem to solve. :D

    2. @Kesia,

      Gosh! I hate it when people use race to define intelligence. A cousin of mine is African American and he's a LPN. Its sad to say that he has to show doctors what to do.If I'm lying, I'm flying..this is no joke. Sometimes, he even have to show EMTs what to do. In some cases if it weren't for him some of those patients would have died. Some of his workers are jealous of because of it. He believe that someone is trying to sabatoge him for it.

      My late grandfather would tell me " Without common sense you're still lost" and that is true. I laugh when people use color to define intelligence because its far from the truth. An intelligent person wouldn't use stereotypes to evaluate it. There are people who can't read or write, yet they still manage to out maneuver the person who has the booksense. In the case with some of the people you and Nicolettes described.. commonsense seems to be lacking in their department.

    3. I live in Korea, too. I am now on my fourth year. People have generally been kind to me. I don't get that are you form African question anymore. I get Indonesia or American or they just ask where I am from now. I have been told from other people, that I am nice but I also give off this do nut F*** with me vibe at certain times. My students prefer my afro puff, but right now I have braids because I was dong hot yoga challenge and I wasn't dealing with my hair. Plus, I am working out more and I just don't feel like it. Where are you in Korea?

  4. Me, 18, living in FL, meet this blond hair, blue eyes Mimbo from Idaho...

    Bimbo: So where did you fly from? (everyone was from other states/countries)
    Me: Im dominican.
    Bimbo: *blank stare*
    Me: An island... next to Puerto Rico?
    Bimbo: Oh! So WHAT are you?
    Me: Dominican... as in... hispanic...
    Bimbo: I didnt know there was black latino people. So you speak mexican right?
    Me: You mean... spanish...
    Bimbo: Yes! That!
    Me: mmmm, yes I...
    Bimbo: *Cuts me off* and like do you have stoves there? what's the music like? do you guys have like spanish versions of our music?
    Me: It was a pleasure talking to you, Im kinda running late...

    1. Me: It was a pleasure talking to you, Im kinda running late...

      Running indeed!

    2. LOL "do you have stoves"?? Why is that even a question?? If you told her you were next to Haiti what her questions would have been there.

  5. While I was n Taiwan, I never heard Taiwanese say those hurtful words while I was around. I love Taiwan because of the people in 三重市, the food, culture, and peace I had in Taiwan. I am so sorry you experience such hatred from ignorant people. Not all races are like this.

  6. I live on Hainan island south of Guangdong province and sure I cannot deny that I hear my fair share of strange things. But, overall they are positive and I take it in a positive way. What bothers me are the articles on "Chinese racist towards people of African descent" written by none other than white ESL teachers.

    You also included that you meet a lot of friendly people in Taiwan who are interested in you as a foreigner. So why can't I read more positive articles about the Black experience in East Asia? Come on, if it wasn't so nice here why would we come at all? I find that the moments of pure bliss being able to live in a foreign, different world from my own are much more note-worthy than some uneducated countryside wiseass with his/her one dimensional worldview..

    I also sadly think that many people of colour don't have the courage to venture abroad because of "shit white people say about racism abroad with a smug superiority complex". Take a chance, do something different and have faith in humanity, if you are strong enough you will enjoy it. If you want to run into a corner and cry every time you hear you are a Black person well maybe you have other issues to deal with before...

    1. @Simeon-I also sadly think that many people of colour don't have the courage to venture abroad because of "shit white people say about racism abroad with a smug superiority complex". Take a chance, do something different and have faith in humanity, if you are strong enough you will enjoy it. If you want to run into a corner and cry every time you hear you are a Black person well maybe you have other issues to deal with before..

      WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!! I love to travel outside the U.S. and I always here stories about how bad it is for black people once they leave America. And its not just white people who do it either. I've had a fair share of blacks do it also. I get all these stories about racist things that happened to so and so (its never first hand stories which is odd) and how they will never travel. Pick a country and you will hear about someone's bad experience from a racist. If I were to listen to these people then we can't go anywhere outside the US because everyone hates us along with people here in the US. Yes, there are racist EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD, but don't let it control your life! You don't like me because I'm black? Ok. Your loss!

  7. I will be attending a Study Abroad in Korea and China through my Masters Program. It will be a 12 day stent in Seoul and 22 days in Beijing where we will link up with the Beijing Institute of Technology. I also added two more destinations to the trip as well. I will be staying with a friend from my undergrad days who lives in Taichung, Taiwan for 7 days; as will as 7 days in Japan, staying with a close family friend and old team mate who is stationed in Japan.
    I have been teaching my self Mandarin for almost 3 years now and I can not even begin to explain how excited I am about this trip, for educational reason and for the opportunity to meet so many new people.

    I came across this page doing some research just to know what to expect, as I am Black and born and raised in Houston, Texas, I am also military but I will most likely down play that fact as it could make me a target while abroad. Any who the comments that I have read here are in no way disheartening, as one of my favorite things to do is prove people wrong in matters of ignorance. So I will do my best to show the world that African-Americans are not what the media portrays, but in fact friendly, educated, and amazing to be around!!

    I look forward to being able to add my experience to this page when I return.


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