So you’re ethnically ambiguous?
Get ready for strangers playing Russian roulette with your origins, as if where you’re from is a game, even when you have your headphones on and it’s bloody 7am on a cold winter’s day.
“Konichiwa? Sawadeeka? Annyeonghaseyo? Nihao? Alright, be a bitch.”
There will also be enthusiastic randos coming up to you to ask if you’re from such and such a place?
“Oh, hello! Excuse me, but are you from Nagaland? No? But you look so much like it…”
When they finally get a terse answer from you– let’s be clear: it’s not because you want to satisfy their curiosity but because it’s clear that they won’t let you go until they get an answer– shit gets real.
“Oh, so you’re from Hong Kong? Do you know Jackie Chan?”
“Oh, Hong Kong! I have a friend, Johnny Appleseed, who’s from there. Do you know him? He’s real nice. You guys should meet.”
Shit could get even more real when you least expect it.
“Man, Hong Kong. I heard they don’t have TVs there.”
“Hong Kong. You guys are part of China right? So that means you guys kill girl babies?” (Yeah, shit for brains, and that’s how I am here.)
“You from China? I heard your pussies are bushy as fuck and are sideways. Is that true?”
or, my favourite
“You know what I love about your people? Who? I mean, you Asians. It’s that you guys put your families first and that you are really in touch with nature. I mean, just look at zen and Buddhism.”
Now that we’ve covered encounters with strangers, let’s talk about the people who’s meant to have your back. I am referring to the people who live in the same town as you.
Fucking. Bloody. Malarky.
They also get in on the “guess the origins” game.
“Oh, your skin is so dark/fair/something-that-is not-theirs! You’re not from around here, are you? OH! You are? Then you must have grown up out of town! You didn’t? Are you mixed? No?”
“Where are you from? The States? Wait, what you are from around here? You sure? Maybe there’s someone in your family from abroad? I swear you are mixed.”
Once that’s down, they get on with picking on your language even if you speak it perfectly.
“See you are mixed–well, not mixed, but you know what I mean. You know what I am talking about. Your pronunciation! It’s so…clear and enunciated! What, your parents are professors?”
Sometimes even family members get tempted to give you their two cents, usually about your body.
“Growing up abroad has really changed your body. You’re so big now, you really got to diet or you’re going to be obese when you’re older. What? Oh, yes, you grew up here. I forgot. You just look so…dark. I forget sometimes. You know how it is.”
“You got all those freckles on your face. I have this great lightening cream. Wait, you like them? You’re going to regret it when you’re my age.”
A perfectly fine house party between friends and roommates can turn hella awkward especially during Halloween because they forget that you’re from the country from which they appropriated their costume.
“I am a geisha, can’t you tell? What do you mean geishas don’t dress like this. I even got those chopsticks in my hair. I got this dress from Chinatown. What? You’re saying this is a qipao that Chinese women wear? No one cares, you get the general idea. So freaking glad it’s just for the day, can you imagine wearing this all the time? No wonder they get all sorts of weird diseases all the time, putting eating utensils in their hair. Sure, ok, no one wears this all the time. Fine, I get it. Who called the PC police up here? OH SHIT, you’re from CHINA?! Ok, not China. But bro….! I’m sorry!”
Never-ending BS, from all sides.
Putain de chintok
Stuck-up slanty-eyed bitch
Pawn of the western media
Now that you know, steel yourself. Face the day with your head high.
Open the door.
Image © Lyubov Ivanova/Getty Images