A long time ago I discovered some Filipinos didn’t like to be called “Asian”. Since I didn’t ask why, my ignorance drew its own conclusions.
At first I figured they were annoyed because most Americans knew nothing of America’s colonization of the Philippines. (From 1898-1946) During that period Filipinos, for better or worse, were “Americanized”, and the term “Asian” rejected their cultural assimilation.
Then I thought it was about the distinction of nationality.
For example, Iraq is in Asia, but no one called Saddam Hussein “Asian.” Furthermore, people from Asian countries from Israel to India aren’t called “Asian” either; they’re referred to by their nationalities.
So the term “Asian” lumped together all the people from the continent’s “far east” disregarding their distinct nationalities. The term “Asian” implied a continental culture that doesn’t exist, or only existed in the imaginations of Americans, making the term more American than foreign.
Then I thought it wasn’t that complex. “Asian” was just a term that avoided mistaking everyone from the “far east” of the continent for Chinese and Filipinos resented the political correctness.