…because not all of us have our Peking ducks in a row

This Post is Kind of Racist

I’m ashamed to admit this, but my parents – well, my Mother – after having lived in Canada since the 1970s, has a problem differentiating one Caucasian from the next.

Take, for example, this elderly couple, who were our neighbors in Vancouver (that’s B.C., Canada) from the early 1980s till my parents sold their house in the late 1990s.  (I know this isn’t really them, or even the right nationality, being that it’s “American Gothic” by Grant Wood, but this is how I remember the elderly couple).

My Mother had no problems recognizing them, if they were outside their house gardening or puttering in the shed, but take them outside of their natural habitat and into…


My Mother suddenly fails to see any resemblance between these people and her neighbors.

I remember once the wife – we’ll call her Mrs. Wells – was sporting a jaunty, fashionable hat and standing in front of their house.  My Mother turned to me and asked, in a harsh whisper, “What’s happened to Mrs. Wells?  Who is this other woman?”

Some of you Caucasians reading this may be feeling guilty, because all of us Chinese look the same to you, and whenever you see one of us that you know, you’re wildly searching the annals of your fuzzy Caucasian memories trying to recall whether we’re a Ding or a Dong or a Wang or a Chung.

Well, feel guilty no more, Caucasians, because this is how my Mother, and many other Chinese of my Mother’s generation, classify you folks.  I’ve even put it in chart form for easy reference.  This form only applies to MALE Caucasians.  Don’t even get me started on classifying the women:

You might think this chart is a joke, but in the early 90s, one of my Dad’s American friends visited Taiwan and China.

And at a McDonald’s in Taiwan, he was mistaken for this guy:

…and asked for his AUTOGRAPH…

…which he gave.

And I’m sure, somewhere else in China, somebody is mistaking our friend Kenny:

For this guy:

Being Chinese-Canadian and on both sides of the (ethnic) fence, I can understand why we might have problems telling each other apart: our two nationalities sometimes just don’t interact often enough for us to “get used to” seeing each others features.

Growing up I brought friends home from school, and my parents tried hard to distinguish one Caucasian friend from the other.  One friend was dubbed “the short one”, another “the red-headed one”, still another the “studious one”, or the “chatty one”.  But this kind of meant that it was difficult for me to have two friends with similar characteristics.

When I started to date, this problem was magnified.  There was a stretch, during my University days, when I hung out with several successive men who wore glasses.  And although these men looked completely different (one was tall and wiry with thinning brown hair, another was a squattish French-Canadian with bright blonde hair) – the glasses really took my parents for a loop.  Suddenly, both men looked remarkably the same.

I know the same problem exists for Caucasians when looking at us Chinese (or Asians in general).  And being that there is less of the Chinese culture in the West than there is the Western culture in China and the rest of Asia, Caucasians are harder-pressed to distinguish one Chinese from another.

So, to help you along, I’ve compiled side-by-side comparisons of similar Caucasian and Chinese people.  I find that it helps to have a basis of comparison that you’re familiar with when dealing with features that are foreign to you.

Jet Li vs.



Andy Lau vs.

Mon Pere Pierre Trudeau


Pompadour Pioneer Mao Zedong vs.

Gotta-have-more-cowbell Walken


And finally, Whacky Jackie vs.

Gerard Depardieu, sacrebleu

Related Posts:

My Favorite Chinese Stereotype: The Chinese Lotus Blossom vs. The Dragon Lady

Lies My Superstitious Chinese Mother Told Me & the Longevity Panties

Things My Elderly Chinese Parents Say to Me

Teaching My Elderly Chinese Parents the Computer

For the Caregivers of the English-impaired

29 comments on “This Post is Kind of Racist

  1. fstopfun
    July 24, 2012

    haha too funny

  2. cristycarringtonlewis
    July 17, 2012

    I had to share this one. Too funny!

    • lostnchina
      July 17, 2012

      Thanks. The resemblance is uncanny, isn’t it? Who would’ve thunk Jackie Chan is Gerard’s long-lost half-brother.

  3. cristycarringtonlewis
    July 17, 2012

    Hilarious post! And Jet Li is fine!


    The Taller Than Average Brunette Girl With No Facial Hair, But With A Muffin Top, Camel Toe Toe and Green Eyes. Also A Flatulent Vegan In Case Odor Helps.

    • lostnchina
      July 17, 2012

      Thanks! And your description will make it very easy for me to find you in Caucasian-y Florida (not).

      • cristycarringtonlewis
        July 17, 2012

        No, really…it would be super easy. It’s a ginormous camel toe. Uber hard to miss. Just ask people on the street and they’ll point you in the right direction.

  4. Reblogged this on A Spoonful of Suga and commented:
    awesome post from the lovely Suzanita

    • lostnchina
      July 17, 2012

      Thanks, MrM. Hope you’re doing well…

      • Im alright dear how are things for you ?

        • lostnchina
          July 20, 2012

          Pretty good, but in a big creative writing block. :-(

          • I’m glad things are going well for you, sorry to hear about the writers block. Id love the opportunity to work with you again on some post maybe that will stir something up ?

            • lostnchina
              July 20, 2012

              Great idea! What would you suggest. Another interview type thing? It would be interesting to see a situation from the point of view of a guy and then a girl.

  5. gingerfightback
    July 17, 2012

    Just brilliant!

    • lostnchina
      July 17, 2012

      Thanks… and you’re the Caucasian with the red hair, right?

  6. WSW
    July 16, 2012

    The post so nice, we read it twice.

    • lostnchina
      July 17, 2012

      …and I hope it’s marginally better than minute rice.

  7. lostnchina
    July 16, 2012

    Reblogged this on lostnchina and commented:

    This post was originally published in October 2011.

  8. Jean
    May 26, 2012

    You must have spent time making and gathering these photos for cross-racial similarities.

    I always believed somewhere in this world, at some point in time, not necessarily same century, there is a double of ourselves. I chatted with people who have been confused for someone else because of their likeness to another person.

    In Toronto at rush peak subway hour, I saw an East Indian version of my partner who is German-Canadian. That was freaky.

    • lostnchina
      May 31, 2012

      Actually, Jean, I first thought of some cross over Chinese celebs and their distinguishing features, then I thought about which corresponding Caucasian celeb would look similar. It’s actually uncanny how people from different races look like each other, you’re totally right!

  9. Pingback: That Chinese Chick Can’t Cook Rice « lostnchina

  10. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger Award « lostnchina

  11. I am so glad to have found this blog! Love your blog…..I am the lucky lucky mother of 3 adoptive children from China and I do business in China. I own a children’s shoe company (my own brand) and I manufacture in China. I devour personal stories of china and the older generation of Chinese. It brings the life and culture a little closer to home for me. Please keep writing!!

    with my appreciation

    • lostnchina
      October 28, 2011


      Thank you so much for your kind comments. You must have your hands full with three children AND a business. Where do you manufacture? I’m in southern Guangdong and fairly close to Hong Kong.


      • I manufacture in Guangzhou and fly in an out of Hong Kong. I have connections in Shenzhen as well. My blog is still being set up but stay tuned for my musings! Oh did I mention I am Canadian!


  12. breezyk
    October 27, 2011

    This is awesome! haha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on October 27, 2011 by in China, Humor and tagged , , , .

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,148 other followers

%d bloggers like this: