Ethnicity

By Maria Lee

Maria is 1st generation British Born Chinese (BBC) with parents who hail from Hong Kong. She is a mother of 3 based in Berkshire.



Quite often, I find myself not always having the logic to explain my feelings and realising the root causes after I have taken some time for reflection (and internet research). This is the case with my ethnicity.

When I was young, I used to call myself Asian as that’s the continent which Hong Kong belongs (the birth place of both my parents). It wasn’t until my 20s in a passing conversation with a make up artist friend that I gave my ethnicity any further thought. She had been told that her client was Asian and she proceeded to select her make up assuming an oriental palette until her colleague pointed out to her that it may be South Asian complexion. That’s the first time I gave any thought to how diverse the ‘Asian’ box was.

Over the last few years, as we’ve become hungry for diversity data and as I review boxes for selecting ethnicity, I find myself being more and more defiant if the categorisations are too broad i.e. if Asian is the only box then I will likely choose not to answer.

Asia contains 60% of the world’s population and China (the most populous country in Asia) currently accounts for circa 18% of the population. So I realised that when we scoop the majority of people into a single box, it didn’t sit well with me. I’ve also realised that using the term ‘ethnic minority’ didn’t sit well with me – how can the majority be classified as a minority group?



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