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Racial issues in Alabama a problem for exchange student?

Right now, I am an exchange student in Okinawa, and one of my Japanese classmates is leaving on a year-long foreign exchange to Alabama very soon. I am from Idaho, so I don't have much experience with the complex racial issues of that area, but I am concerned for my friend, especially since she comes from such a homogenous society; she has never been exposed to anything like this before. Are there any tips that people from the area (or anyone for that matter) can give about her living there? Will an Asian student (maybe a rare race in Alabama?) have problems adjusting? Of course, problems with cultural differences are a given in foreign exchange, but this situation may be especially difficult, more complicated than just plain culture shock. Alabama, especially, has a very volitile history, so we are all worried for her. She is very kind and still a bit naive; she may not understand all the emotions at play. Any information would be greatly appreciated; this is new territory for us!

Update:

To be honest, I really am very ignorant about the South. I've heard there are a lot of racial issues there, from people that have moved to Idaho from the area, and know that many important events in the civil rights movement occurred there. I really don't want to assume anything though. The reason I'm asking this question is because I have so little information.

Before asking this question though, I did look up the percentage of the population that's Asian: only 0.8%! Students may not have been factored in though.

9 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Your friend should enjoy her stay here. Contrary to what many buttholes in the north seem to think, southern people are very open and friendly. She shouldnt have any problems with racism from whites, its pretty much the opposite of what the media would have you believe. Tell her to be prepared for a major culture shock at first, but if she comes with an open mind and a good attitude, she will have a blast. No offense to the Alabamans, but she would have done better coming to Louisiana.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Well, I don't think she would have a problem with racism, more so than culture shock. Alabama has a small Asian community, but I am only basing that on the areas I have been too there, which is down near Montgomery and Hope Hull. Though, in the Hope Hull area there is now a Hyundai plant (the first in the US), so there are a lot of Koreans that were initially assigned to the plant, but most of them have now left and returned to Korea or moved to other plants throughout the world. She should be sure to bring some of her favorite things with her so she will not get too home sick. There will not be very many Asian stores (maybe in Birmingham, not sure), but if she is in one of the smaller towns, there may not be any and only a few Chinese or Japanese restuarants. Even so, if there are any, they will taste different than back home. As for racism, I didn't see much, if any between the Koreans and the whites and blacks in Hope Hull, so I really don't believe racism is going to be a real big issue. I believe she will probably have more problems with the culture shock than racism.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Little known fact: Asians, especially the older generations, are the most racist people I've ever met! It's a weird kind of effect and I don't know why it happens but there is definitely a preference when it comes to Asians of who your child should date: Asians first, Whites second (if any other), Latinas (for boys only), Blacks and Latinos (sorry Latino boys) last. It's a hard thing, but it takes a lot of time to break this mindset. The reason is that the Asian communities are very tight. Tighter than White and Black communities. That's good because you have strong cultural ties, but it also creates these situations where you have to worry about the "Face" of the family. It clashes hard with American culture where you are your own person and in a way the priorities are reversed. In American culture you act good for your own self and personal honor and your family teaches you so that you can do good for your own self image. In Asian culture you are taught good things and do good things for the image of the family. My sisters and I resented this all our lives. We broke the mold and were very rebellious. I'm sure our parents went crazy raising us. It's not the fault of your parents, it's just the way they were raised. They have different paradigms... different foundations. To the Asian, family is everything. Asian families depended on each other for everything for survival. So it's only natural that putting on a good "Face" for the family was and probably is still important because good representatives of the family get treated better by the family. I think this unfortunately leads to the bad things in Asian families such as gossip and over-bearingness. My advice is to just roll your eyes at the childish rumors and gossip. I'm very proud that you are able to stand up for yourself and be your own person. You'll find that the Gossips will pass and move on to other things/people when your relationship is old news. I think your friend is a great guy for walking you home every day. Don't be so quick to turn him away. He sounds really nice :-) Anyways, it's not easy being Asian. First no one ever pronounces your name right. Secondly the 'Asian' things your parents do can be really embarrassing. My dad used to rush for the first bit of free food at costco. SOoooooo embarassing as a kid. Now that I'm older I think it's hilarious and awesome because, well, he's my Dad :-) You'll learn how to love your parents right and they'll learn to respect your wishes. Just takes time. Let me know how things go.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, I've never been to Alabama, but I'm from Arkansas, which is another Southern state. I kind of doubt that your friend will encounter any more problems in Alabama than she would in any other state. After all, there's racism in ALL states, not just Southern ones. Not only that, but when I was in college, I saw quite a few Asian students on campus and they seemed to do just fine.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I live in Alabama, she shouldnt have a problem. What city is she moving to? When i was in high school, we had plenty of exchange students. Nobody ever messed with them, i dont know if youve ever seen that TV show two a days on mtv, but thats where im from and there was ALOT of Asian people in that area. Sure there is racial problems in your smaller towns, but Alabama is nothing like it was along time ago. Dont worry too much, she should be fine... you can email me if you needed anymore info....

    Source(s): OH yea GRAFFITI..... that was so funny------
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  • 1 decade ago

    Have you ever lived in Alabama or are you basing this off what you've seen/read in history books? I ask because I lived there and did not experience anything. But I'm black and from America so I'm not sure what your friend will experience.

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  • NONAME
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    HOPEFULLY SHE WILL BE IN A MOSTLY WHITE AREA.SOUTHERN BLACK PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT THAN BLACK PEOPLE IN IDAHO....IF THERE IS ANY.IT WILL BE A SHOCK IF SHE IS IN A PREDOMINATE BLACK AREA.I KNOW I SOUND LIKE A RACIST BUT I AM NOT.I LIVE IN SOUTH CAROLINA...CLOSE ENOUGH TO ALABAMA.WHEN I WAS LITTLE I WENT TO AN ALMOST ALL WHITE SCHOOL UNTIL THIRD GRADE.....THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED.I SWITCHED TO AN ALMOST ALL BLACK SCHOOL.IT WAS A BIG CULTURE SHOCK....AND I ONLY MOVED 20 MILES. I HATED SCHOOL EVERY SINCE.ONE TIME WE HAD A N EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM ENGLAND THAT WENT HOME SOON AFTER SHE GOT HERE.LIKE I SAID HOPE IT IS AT LEAST MIXED RACIALLY.THE SOUTH HAS ALOTTTTTTTTTTT OF BLACK PEOPLE

    Source(s): YEAH, MOSTLY THE ONLY ASIANS U SEE ARE THE ONES THAT OWN THE CHINESE RESTURANT.NOT A DIVERSE AREA.....WHITE AND BLACK.......AND SOME MEXICAN
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  • 1 decade ago

    of course. Sorry to admit, but that's one of the most racist states in America.

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  • LMAO!!!!!

    An exchange student from probably the SMARTEST country in the world going to one of the DUMBEST states in America.

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