One particular instance was when someone in my class made a remark that she had once been mistaken for being Asian, or mixed race, because she has "small eyes." She continued on to say that she was highly offended by being mistaken from Asian, but came to realize she was accepting of her appearance and shouldn't let judgment get the best of her. While being accepting of yourself is all well and good, her remarks of being mistaken for Asian left a sour taste in my mouth. Why was she so offended, to begin? Is there something inherently bad or ugly associated with Asian-ness? And secondly—because she has smaller eyes, does that automatically mean she looks Asian? Do all people of Asian descent have small eyes?
We must acknowledge the ways in which we continue to categorize and stereotype people based on race and appearance and our own expectations of what race means. In addition, we must challenge these notions that race is frigid and concrete and instead acknowledge the complexity of these issues of identity and appearance.