Cant cope with my retarded Asian appearance.?

I am Asian. (from South Korea) and living in Amsterdam.

When I was in the UK, I got so much hurt from random people on the street including students at my uni.

They just ignore me or make fun of me.

Today I got told that 80% Asians are looking retarded.

I know I look retarded or better to say looking little bit like a crazy one… I don’t like myself and I don’t want to see myself either. Even when I was in Korea, I got told so hurtful talking behind me.

But I am very talented and my personality is pretty good. I am a product designer and working for world famous design company. Sorry to mention but the work I make is amazing. Very different and innovative. I have a strong imagination and creative mind so I feel so sorry about myself. If I were white, or I looked better than now, I would have had much better life. People usually don’t talk to me before I talk to them and even when I talk to them, they react strangely… I am just nothing in anywhere. So that things make me more immerse to my study and have my own time to develop myself using my skills.

When I went to a design exhibition held by my company, I took lots of pictures. There were so many people in the exhibition and an old lady just started talking about me that all Chinese people copy this fabulous designs and try to steal it. They cannot make their own design because they are disgusting blabla. (whatever.)

I am afraid of my future because of my looking. Imagine that even you have a strong mentality, you get told that you look retarded or make fun of you whenever you go outside.

How can you possibly cope with this situation ? I had a counselor at my uni but that didn’t help at all. I am really sad. I dunno what to do. Because of my talent, I cannot even give up on my life.

Please give me any helpful answer!

You might try using a stylist to help change your look somewhat if it is really that important. The added confidence might help to pull you out of the slump you seem to be in.

Also you can't stop working on your outlook, it sounds like you have a lot of positive attributes that a lot of good looking people would love to have. We all don't have everything. Old expression but have you ever heard " go where the love is" if you are a geek and you get along well with other geeks hang with them, give more value to their opinion of you.

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Welcome to the SDMB, Yumm.

General Questions is for factual questions. Questions that seek advice and opinions belong in our In My Humble Opinion forum.

Moving thread from General Questions to In My Humble Opinion.

Your message made me feel very sad. I can’t imagine what it is like for you. I do know firsthand that it stinks to be lonely, or feel judged by your appearance.

I just hope that the people that you work with are friendly and supportive. I don’t know how old you are, but I got the idea that you are newly graduated from the university. Hopefully, in time, you will have a strong network of friends and associates that boosts your confidence. Do you have a hobby that you can share with others (maybe in a club) outside of your career?

It seems odd to me that you are running into those stereotypes. In the U.S., it seems that people from South Korea, China, or Japan are assumed to be super intelligent, if anything…it’s also not that hard to be considered charming despite (or even because) of a quirk of appearance. Confidence and having a bit of flair is key.

Good luck to you, and continue to be proud of your accomplishments and hard work.

Yeah, I’d think it more likely that people who aren’t used to foreigners would think you sound retarded, due to the odd assumption some people make that your ability to speak English like a native speaker is directly proportional to your intelligence, even if you are speaking it as a second language.

I seriously doubt you look “retarded,” as there’s really not a look to that. It’s a way you act, how you carry yourself. The closest thing I can think of to actually looking retarded would be looking like you have Down Syndrome or something.

Most likely, you don’t look bad at all and are just down on yourself, perhaps due to some unfortunate experiences. Once you think people see you a certain way, you start acting like they think of you that way, and that tends to make them think of you that way.

Would you be surprised to learn that there are likely thousands of people in the world who would give all to be you, or be like you.

The most important opinion about yourself is your own - and it sounds like you have plenty to be pleased with !

When people say horrible and frankly stupid things like that, it is helpful to pretend to misunderstand.

If someone tells you 80% of Asians look retarded, you might answer something like “I’m sorry, why are you telling me this?” It helps if you can look genuinely puzzled. (If you were more confident, I’d suggest replying, “Fortunately, I’m in the 20% of Asians who are drop-dead gorgeous.” It doesn’t matter if you are or not: it would be worth it for the look on their face.)

If someone tells you that all Chinese people are, well, anything, again put on the puzzled look and ask, “are you under the impression that I’m Chinese?”

You can’t fight such entrenched stupidity, but you CAN rise above it. Please know that these are small, stupid, ignornant, nasty people, and whatever you look like, they are in the wrong.

And I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. Most people are not that horrible.

It might help if you could post a picture of yourself. From your writing, it’s hard to judge whether you actually look that different from the average East Asian or if you’re just being really hard on yourself.

If Amsterdam isn’t very friendly towards you, have you considered moving? It seems like Amsterdam, and the Netherlands overall, has a very small Asian population. If you look the part and can’t speak the local languages convincingly enough to change their minds, you’d be all too easy to stereotype. You can fight the good fight there and try to change public cultural perceptions, but if it’s affecting your well-being that much, maybe that fight is just way more than one person should have to deal with alone. A more diverse, integrated – or perhaps a more Asian-homogenous – city might work better for you?

Racism isn’t your fault, and if you have other options, you could move to a friendlier place and limit your exposure to it.

If you choose to stay, the only thing you CAN do is what millions of sufferers of racism before you have done: Toughen up, learn that those idiots are coming from a place of ignorance, ignore them, and move on with your life. Hang out with people who like you for who you are, focus on your successes at work and with the friends you do have, and gradually build your confidence over time. Eventually you’ll just be able to shrug off the people who put you down. Sure, it’ll probably still sting a little, but life goes on. People can be assholes, but how you react to their behavior is a choice that only you can make. Decide to be a better man no matter what they say to your face, and someday you’ll have much more going for you and they’ll still be looking for the next easy target to mock instead of working on their own lives.

From a practical point:

Ever see what the make-up people do with an average-looking subject and turn them into drop-dead gorgeous “Super Models” to sell everything from breath mints to automobiles?

A bunch of that is lighting, but a bit of shadow here and there can strengthen this, DE-emphasize tha.

I’m guessing you’re male, and have never considered anything beyond a new hair style, but look into it, if your appearance is causing you that much trouble.

Good luck!

Kill everybody prettier than you.

There are lots of different counselors out there. Just because you don’t hit it off with one doesn’t mean that another might not have something to offer. It might be worth looking into one who specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, which helps stop the negative thoughts that might be holding you back.

As for racism, or people talking about your looks, remember, they’re not really talking about you, they’re telling you about themselves. If what they’re saying about themselves is that they are racist idiots, then you should walk away and find better people to talk to.

Don’t waste time talking or thinking about mean people. Go find nice people - they’re out there! - and hang out with them instead.

Good luck and welcome to the Straight Dope. Feel free to join in and talk to us here.

Which UK university did you go to? Sounds like a hive of scum and villainy.

It is best simply to dismiss such base and vulgar persons. If you were south Asian they’d shout similar cultural bigotry at you. If you were black they’d throw the n-word your way. If you wore glasses they’d call you a nerd, etc. Cheap laughs for the simple-minded; their ignorance will eventually pay them back in time as any serious person shuns them.

Hopefully you’re not under 5’ 7"! :eek: :smiley:

Intelligence and strength of character are sure to show themselves in one’s features. Well, I’m 50 now so I know what I’m talking about. I can effect stupidity, timidity, strength, even brilliance just by adjusting my head, eyes, jaw and mouth.

This. You can probably do few things better than mastering this kind of composed “I don’t quite get you” repartee; keep it up for long and you make your opponent look like an utter classless fool.

Good luck, and remember that there are many, many people not so stupid, short-sighted and hurtful, no matter how many of these jerks you encounter.

Tell them that it is better to look retarded and be intelligent than it is to look intelligent and be retarded. And then walk on.

You don’t look retarded, you look Asian. No surprise.

Or, act like you need to educate them. After all, they are the ignorant ones, not you. Ask them outright if they mean that you look like someone with Down’s Syndrome to them. Then explain that, the epicanthic fold in your eye is hereditary, as it is in several parts of the world. But that for those of European ancestry, it could mean that a person has a congenital problem that caused the fold. Or, of course, that perhaps the European has some Asian ancestry.

They will quit harassing you if you can prove that you are more intelligent than they are. And that is clearly the case.

Good luck to you.

Working in the design and computing industries In San Francisco and Silicon Valley I came across many very odd-looking/nerdy-type people. The thing that I saw that worked for many was to not try to hide, hoping no one will see you. I’ve seen this strategy employed and it’s never good. So, stay away from the nerdy hoody-wearing coder look. Instead, if you’re odd looking, try to create either a really severe cool hairstyle and/or some really design-y glasses. Both of these moves will do two things. 1) make that the focus of what people see. 2) Make you look very confident and comfortable with yourself. The change this can create both in other people’s minds and your own can not be overstated. Short version: own it.

I’ll add that quite a few very successful Asian people I know (some of them very, uh, odd looking) adopt the grey-black-white look. Almost anything they own is in that very limited palette. The important point is that they adopt a very specific look. It also keeps you out of jeans and t-shirts. You might want to try to find a stylist. If you’re ever in SF, I know of someone who does this. Either way, the first thing I’d do is look through fashion magazines and try to find a look that you think you’d be comfortable with. A cool haircut and glasses is a great place to start though.

I hope you find that helpful.

Retarded??? I’ve never heard that.

When I was young, people said “mongoloid” to refer to those with Down’s Syndrome. That always confused me.

Magellan01, that is excellent advice.

I have seen dressing in a very stylized manner work for many different people with unusual looks. Develop a look that is individual and people will see past your looks to your style.

But what a shame to have to do this. Sigh.

Several of the facial features which Downs’ produces are much more common in East Asians than in whites, hence the “mongoloid”. It’s a now-outdated shorthand.

Yumm, you say that you had problems with people “talking behind your back” back home. That happens to everybody. I’m remembering an incident where someone came to congratulate me on having started dating our coworker Fran; I asked who was his source, as I found Fran likeable enough but was not dating him. His source was Laila. “Oh, the same woman who, just last week, was telling everybody Fran’s gay? She really needs to make up her mind!” (I’m female)

As for the lady talking to you about the Chinese copying things, do you realize that wasn’t any kind of attack on you but rather the opposite? Unless she said “you Chinese” (which is not what you report), she was talking about Chinese companies… which yeah, do make a lot of copies of other people’s designs. Are you telling me you didn’t know about Chinese design piracy? Not only that, but you took personally a general anti-piracy rant?

The dude telling you Asians look retarded needs his facial-analysis software recalibrated. It’s his own extra-moronic version of the always-moronic “all you [insert ethnicity here] look the same to me!” (have you considered visiting an optometrist?)

I don’t know whether you need to change your looks or not, but you do seem to need a thicker skin.