This is a bit of an anomalous situation, but once…my sister and I were on a horseback riding tour in Wyoming, and somehow it was just the two of us with the guide. He was a typical white cowboy-type, kind of dashing in his way, until he opened his mouth to say, ‘What are you guys?’ (Humans?) In this situation, where we were literally in the mountain wilderness alone with him, how sassy could I afford to be? So I just replied, ‘We’re Chinese-American.’ He seemed perplexed for a second before relaxing. ‘Cool,’ he replied. ‘I love sweet and sour chicken, I eat that all the time at this place in town.’ Was this a strange flirtation attempt couched in the language of…food? What was I supposed to say, ‘I’ve eaten mayonnaise before and it’s pretty good?’ Here’s a hot tip: don’t treat someone’s ethnicity as something edible. If you have to reach that hard to find something with which to connect, just use, you know, your shared humanity.
[to] customer service guy, fun fact: my race is not a conversation starter and I don’t care that your ‘best mate’ is getting married to an asian girl.
When I posted this status on Facebook about how a customer service rep unnecessarily remarked on my race, I was kind of surprised by how it blew up with ‘likes’ and comments — but also not that surprised.
Among my friends, including those on social media, it’s pretty common knowledge that these types of comments are unwarranted. But I was reminded that it’s not common knowledge for everyone.
To backtrack, I was at a Verizon store getting a phone upgrade. This guy was helping me along and we were making typical small talk. Then, out of nowhere, he asked if both of my parents were Asian. I was unsure of where he was going with this but answered, yes, only to have him tell me he was surprised I didn’t have an accent.
As those words left his mouth, I felt myself cringing. Really? Did you really say that? I told him, politely, that there are lots of Asian-Americans like me without accents and that his comment was a little offensive.
He seemed taken aback, shocked, even; he immediately apologized and said he didn’t mean offense. Okay, I thought, well good. Glad that’s over. But then he continued the conversation by telling me that his best friend was marrying an Asian girl, as if that were a way to redeem himself.
As it to convey, hey, I’m a nice guy. I didn’t mean any harm. My best friend likes your people, so I can relate and it was okay of me to say what I said. I wasn’t so much upset as I was flummoxed by his cluelessness. He was only making things worse without even realizing it. Continue reading ““What Are You?”: Let’s Talk About Asian-American Encounters”
If you’ve never delved into the deep and wonderful world of live music performances on Asian music shows, do yourself a favor and get there. The relentless pace of newly released material is really unparalleled, meaning you won’t be without a glimpse of your faves for long.
On deck today: my current jam, featuring my favorite androgynous Chinese-American star, Amber Liu. This performance is sure to give you some good 90s throwback vibes, featuring a bit of vogue-ing, a bit of wacking, and lots of flared pants.
Happy mid-week, ladies! Continue reading “Weekly Dance Break: Four Walls”
Editor’s Note: Did y’all hear we were mentioned on my favorite podcast, “The Read”? Check it out if you haven’t yet, Kid Fury and Crissle are hilarious and whip-smart. Now read on for some linky-spamspam! Continue reading “Weekly Link Roundup: 10/30/15”