Where Are You From?

Apologies for the long drought in blog posts.  I know how anxious you all get in between, waiting breathlessly for the latest installment of my oh-so exciting life.

Anyways, today’s post is not so much a rant as it is me marveling in disbelief at the sheer ignorance of some people.  I was with some friends at a bar last weekend.  3/4 of the group was Asian.  As the bouncer collected our money, he asked us quite casually, “Where are you from?”  We were hopping up and down because it was cold and I personally thought he was thinking we were from somewhere warmer.  Turns out, he wasn’t thinking that.  Here’s how the conversation went down (approximately).

Bouncer: “Where are you guys from?”
Us: “Here.”
B: “No, really, where are you guys from?”
U: “Um…here.  LA.”
B: “Oh, so…where are your parents from?” (And then it dawned on us that perhaps he was asking a completely different question that what we had thought.)
U: “Yeah.  Our parents are from here.  Why?”
B: “Oh…I was going to say, you know, not China, but like Asia…”  (At this point all of us looked at each other with “Is this really happening?” in our eyes.)

It only really struck me afterwards how much the conversation got to me.  I wasn’t angry with him, but I was incredibly astonished that he, a guy from the great melting pot of Los Angeles, would actually ask us that.  None of us have accents or had trouble conversing with him, so clearly we weren’t foreigners.  I know he wasn’t asking it out of malice, but out of ignorance- which is almost just as bad in a way.  You don’t need to know the difference between Mandarin and Japanese or how to use chopsticks, but please don’t assume that all Asians look alike or are from the same part of the world.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that even something as innocent as “Where are you from?  I mean, where you’re really from?” has the potential to be hurtful and insulting.  So think before you ask.  Trust me.  Someone might get angry and punch you.  And nobody likes that.  You’ve been warned, bouncer man!

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One thought on “Where Are You From?

  1. Sometimes I tell people I’m from LA just to fuck with them.

    Correction: That’s what I tell people EVERY time. Because that’s where I’m from 😀

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