Not-too-serious post about race, pt 4
Part 4 comes to us from my friend Iris. She’s ethnically Korean, and was born and raised here in the US. I swear, she must deal with these situations once a week, and they are always hilarious to me. (See parts one, two, and three of our ongoing discussion of race faux pas)
I went on a date and the guy was from a small town in Texas I think and also an insufferable date in general, but this really took the cake. We had talked about where we were from, where we grew up, where we went to college, etc.
The conversation went:
Dude: What’s your background?
Me: I’m korean.
Dude: Wow, but your English is so good!
Me: You know that doesn’t have anything to do with my ethnicity, right? I was born here
Dude: Oh. okay (clearly didn’t get the point but wanted to move onto some other topic about himself)
Another time here in Vegas, I was grocery shopping at a store called Smiths, which is just like Kroger in TX, and an older white gentleman ran up to me and goes, “Excuse me, Excuse me!”
Man: Would you mind trying the sushi over there? *points to sushi sample stand in the bakery/deli section*
Me: Um..what? Why?
Man: I just want to know if it’s good. If YOU (big emphasis on YOU) say it’s good, I’ll know it’s good.
Me: But I don’t like sushi.
Man: YOU DON’T?????
I was so caught off-guard that I ended up just trying it and saying it was good for the sake of the poor sushi demonstration guy.
And yeah, the Asian food story-
At my job when I had just started, this guy noticed me and came over to start a conversation. The typical where are you from, when did you start, what dept are you in, etc. Then he goes, “Do you go to Chinatown often?”
Me: No, I haven’t been there yet
Him: Oh, you should! The food is so good there. I love Asian food. I was just there with my Asian friend, John. We had ramen.
Him: Yeah, actually I love Asia. I was just traveling in China before I started working here.
Me: Oh, I see.
Him: Asian culture is so cool, I just love how nice the people are, I want to go to Japan next.
I think that guy has an indian girlfriend now if that is relevant.
It’s always interesting when people try to ask what my ethnic background is. Sometimes I’m a dick about it.
What’s your race? Human
What are you? A person
Where are you from? NY. No, i mean where are you FROM? Rockland County, NY
It was awesome when I met my ex’s mother. She is from a small town in Florida and was trying to be very careful.
“So Iris, are your parents from the old country?”
I felt bad, so I just said yes, they immigrated from Korea in the 70s. I can always spot well-intentioned ignorance from far away, so i try to help them out.
The most awkward thing for me is that I hardly consider myself Asian, but obviously I am ethnically Asian. I think oftentimes strangers approach me with some kind of motivation of goal or connection or conversation topic related to Asia/being Asian and it takes me a long time to realize that, since I don’t assume that’s the primary reason that people talk to me. It happens a lot, though, especially in dating. LOVE when guys come up to me and tell me how much they like anime or sushi and assume that’s an “in” to talking to me.