Just Call Me Oriental
|Lela Lee – You Rock|
This morning, an older gentleman came to my house to pick up an electric sander he bought on Craigslist from my boyfriend. I’m such a nice girlfriend that I agreed to risk life and limb and wait for this strange man to show up, pay and take the sander while my boyfriend was at work. So let’s call this gentleman, John. Why? Because that was actually his name and even if it wasn’t, you’d still probably believe me if I said it was. Lot’s of guys named John.
OK, so John looked to be in his early 70s or so and after he plugged in the sander to test it and gave me the cash, he asked me, “Where are you from? Are you Korean?”
OMG!!! Here goes the conversation I’ve had with one zillion white people who just can’t accept the fact that Asian Americans are actually AMERICANS!!! AHHHHH! I try my best to be patient with these folks, but come on. It’s 2010. I get it. You fought in the Korean War and I’m grateful for your service to both countries, but does that mean you’re still incapable of accepting people of color as Americans 57 years later? If I had an accent, then ok. I think it’s a little bit of an excuse to ask someone where they’re from. We do that to white people with accents all the time, but I speak English without an accent and any of you know me that my mannerisms, clothing, household, etc are all pretty non-FOBish. I’m clearly an American. Or maybe a Canadian, but we won’t open that bag of worms. You get the point.
Here’s the rest of out titillating dialogue:
Amy: Yes. I’m Korean, but I’ve lived here my whole life.
John: But were you born in Korea?
Amy: Yes, but…
Amy: Seoul but I’ve been here since I was an infant.
John: I was stationed in Korea in (insert name of Korean city north of Seoul), just north of Seoul. I could tell you were Korean. Most Americans assume that all Orientals look the same, but I can tell the difference (no you can’t dude). I lived in Korea and I can tell the features of different nationalities. (WOW! Good for you, cause I sure as hell can’t.)
Amy: Well, there are some characteristics, but you can’t always tell. Especially Chinese and Korean people since Korean people…
John: Well, Japanese people too because you know Japan occupied Korea for 40 years. (So now he’s contradicting himself… you can’t tell dude)
(The next section of dialogue was kind of a blur as I was just trying to get him to leave)
Amy: OK, I hope the sander works out for you.
John: You have a nice day now.
Amy: You too. Happy holidays.
Then John got into his non-Oriental truck and drove away.
I’m not going to rant and rave about this exchange, I’m just going to say this one thing: Don’t have this discussion with an Asian Americans. It bores the shit out of us. And just for fun – you should all visit this website: AllLookSame.com. Have fun and John, I hope you’re enjoying your sander.