Don’t Google Image Search Asians

Two weeks ago, I posted a couple of thoughts on the Asian American community. During the writing process, I did a Google image search for Asian – the results were almost entirely pornographic in nature. Since Google’s algorithm shows results based on popularity, my search results suggest that when people do an image search for Asian, they are almost always looking for pornographic images.

This got me to thinking – what are people looking for when they search for other communities? I use the term community very loosely – any group of people that can be described using any word, whether accurate or not. I did an image search for a bunch of people, mostly by nationality to see what was popular. Here’s what I found:

  • Asian: mostly naked women
  • Swedish: mostly half-naked women
  • American: mostly flags and eagles
  • Norwegian: mostly airplanes and cruise ships
  • Indian: men with feathers, women with dots
  • Italian: ancient architecture and flags
  • Pakistani: fancy dressed women
  • Irish: leprechauns and clovers
  • Canadian: lots of red maple leaves
  • Chinese: dragons and characters
  • Japanese: strange fashion and characters
  • Mexican: banditos, mariachi and tacos
  • Korean: mostly pop stars
  • Danish: breakfast pastries
  • Turkish: scantly clad women and flags

You get the idea. It’s strange how we carry certain expectations and intentions when searching for information about other people. It seems that Asian women are mostly seen as sexual objects by people on the internet. Sweden is full of tall blonde bikini clad women. Americans are really patriotic. Some of the results are stereotypes (Mexicans and Irish), some are descriptive in a relatively neutral way (Italian), and others are merely a linguistic accident based on a company/food name (Norwegian and Danish).

Let me know what you find when doing an image search for a type of people.


3 thoughts on “Don’t Google Image Search Asians

  1. That’s so sad/funny about the Asian search. I also used to get a little insulted by some white men I saw around me in the US, who insisted on always dating Asian or other non-white women. That made me feel objectified. Was I, as a South Asian woman, just “exotic” rather than a human being?

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