Avi Zolty
Avi Zolty
Oct 20, 2015 · 2 min read

Perhaps not politically correct, but i’ve always assumed asian-americans to be apart of the “white” demographic.
Not caucasian, which I think people often blur with “white”. But white.
Just like “jews” which also have many of their own cultures and differences within themselves asians are, as you pointed out, a very diverse group of people. However, is race fully cultural? Is it emperical? Is it based where you are born? I’m a jewish, caucasian born in South Africa.

White, literally, is just a comment on the pigment of the skin and Jews, Asians, Europeans and many south-americans I think would all classify as ‘white’ despite all having distinct cultures, languages, values, etc...
White, colloquially refers to someone fully assimilated in America, or an invented/new culture all it’s own. That’s why a lot of racism against other “minorities” come as back handed compliments like “Wow! You talk so white...” etc.
I had a girlfriend who was Korean (raised speaking only korean at home), grew up in Ecuador but went to an American/ Ex-pat school and was as “american” as possible (although she’d kill anyone who suggested as much). In all aspects of life she’d be grouped into the category of “white” from both a cultural and pigment standpoint, but english wasn’t her first (or second) language, nor her nationality or true cultural identification.

I have caucasian friends who are mistaken for asian and south American and asian/ South American friends that are mistaken for caucasian.

At the end of the day I think white is used either to denote skin color or to colloquially group a set of values/cultures together. In either regard, for better or for worse Asian-Americans are grouped in as white.

I agree with your sentiment completely, and am a strong believer that the tech world needs more diversity. I think the indian population is also often excluded from the conversation or grouped in as ‘white’ which begs the question of what people mean when they say “racial diversity”. And if white is a colloquial term donating a culture- who is and isn’t white? And if it’s based on pigment and not culture, then what are we really fighting for? More black and Latino’s in tech? I think maybe being upfront and honest about this would fight a worthier battle for a just as worthy cause. Just my two cents.

Avi Zolty

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Avi Zolty

YC Alum with 3 large acquisitions. Founder @skurt