I’ve lost count of the amount of times I am asked, out of nowhere, point blank with no other conversation starter, “Where are you from?”.
Numerous instances where I refuse to answer, or tell them, “Edmonton, Alberta” or “Canada”. They then continue to ask, “Where are your parentsfrom?” and I just roll my eyes, does this person not sense my discomfort? Why does it matter? What makes you think you have a right to know personal information about me, just because I look a certain way?
Just because I am an Asian Woman does not mean you have a right to my identity, or the right to ask me personal questions unceasingly. This often happens with cab drivers or in situations where I cannot outright leave, heightening my discomfort.
Usually if I don’t answer the person plays the Ethnic Guessing Game. It goes something like this, “Are you from China?”
“No.” I look away, and think it will end there.
“No.” This happened tonight actually.
“Oh, well where then?”
“I don’t feel comfortable telling you.” Then, they get insulted. Sorry, I get asked this on the daily and I am OVER it. I used to comply and say that I am Vietnamese or just nod and agree that I was Chinese, if it would end the conversation.
Now, it just irks me and I refuse to play the game.
You want to know why?
Because of fetishization, objectification, the patriarchy, white supremacy. Yes, this has to do with all those things.
Mainly because, when I am asked these questions, it has nothing to do withme, as a person, it’s all about the way I look, not about my actual culture or heritage, it’s just about my look.
Now, I am sure you’ve read enough on the Internet or watched the Colbert Report, to know about this (amazing) Fourth Wave Feminism Movement we have going on, and one of the issues is objectification.
I am TIRED of being objectified and fetishized. Yes, I am a proud Vietnamese Canadian Woman.
No, I will not be your submissive. No, I will not dress up like a Geisha. No, I will not serve you tea and have your attractive biracial babies.
Being Asian is a part of who I am, it is part of my identity but it’s not all of it. And that’s what these questions show, you don’t see a PERSON. You see an ASIAN Fetish, and you think you have the right to bombard me relentlessly with personal questions? Do you know creepy you are being?
So, please, stop asking me where I’m from.
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