I am referring to the question How to politely ask people from East Asia to give way.

Essentially the question is valid, it seems that a normal "Excuse me" is misinterpreted by someone growing up in East Asia.

Unfortunately the person asking it did it in such a controversial and insensitive way ("I am not xenophobic, but...") with such an amount of stereotypes ("stretched eyes","blonde and strong body German") that many people felt offended.

Interestingly the first question was still quite innocuous apart from the "not xenophobic" remark, only after the discussion in the comments and the fourth edit the question really got annoying.

How do we proceed in the future if something like that happens again? My suggestions:

  • Remove ethnicity/race references to references of the culture where the phenomenon occurs and try to pinpoint it as precise as possible. "People from East Asia" means exactly that: not Asian Americans or people who have grown up in other countries (Australia, Europe), but people who come from Korea, China and Japan.

  • Stop ongoing discussions or at least move them to chat. It is fruitless to try to convince someone with deeply held convictions to think otherwise and even if it would not be fruitless, is Travel.SE the right place for such discussions? I think not. One, two attempts to explain that something it not ok and then stop the discussion.

  • Not trying in a kind of anticipatory obedience to remove any sentence which might offend anyone. What is really remarkable is that the few Asian people took the question very calmly, it was mostly the non-asians who took offense. It is IMO not sufficient to answer with a general "Please ask in an unambigous way"...the problem was that for many Westeners "Excuse me" is unambigous and they could not understand that it could be not unambigous.

  • Hi Thorsten, I was about to suggest to edit he question, then I thought to do it myself, I then went there and saw question already edited by yourself, lol. Jan 16, 2017 at 3:25


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