If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between East Asians and South Asians, you’re not alone. Plenty of people aren’t really sure what the difference is and have looked to Yahoo Answers or Reddit to pose this question.
But as it turns out, it’s pretty simple. It’s all about geography.
East Asians are people who are from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan or Mongolia, whereas South Asians are from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka or Maldives.
But there are also Southeast Asians, which is where things can get confusing. People who are Southeast Asian come from countries that are south of China, but east of India. This includes eleven countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, Indonesia, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia and Timor-Leste.
Just to help make sure we’re all on the same page, here are some of your favourite Asian celebs and where their backgrounds fit in:
The 63-year-old star is from Hong Kong, which makes him East Asian.
The outspoken model is Southeast Asian, since she is half-Thai. Teigen is also German and Norwegian.
The British singer is South Asian because his father, Yaser, is Pakistani. His mother is English and Irish.
The “Baywatch” star is from Jamshedpur, India, which means she’s South Asian.
The kickass star from “Sense8” is East Asian since she was born in Seoul, South Korea.
The “Fresh Off The Boat” star is East Asian because her parents are Chinese-Taiwanese.
Asians are often lumped together, despite coming from a variety of countries that have their own cultures, customs, languages and religions.
In North America, when most people picture Asians, they automatically think of the fair-skinned, dark-haired look of East Asians without giving it a second thought. Interestingly, in the U.K., this is the exact opposite.
On Reddit, one user explained this phenomenon:
But while people from India, Japan, Bangladesh or Malaysia can all be considered Asian, do yourself a favour and take the time to figure out the difference.
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