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"WhereareyouREALLYfrom"-Racismorcuriosity?

girl
girl not yet a woman

I'm Asian but raised in Canada. Upon first meeting me, people usually ask me where I'm from. I say Canada because I grew up there. Usually the response to that is "Oh, but you don't look Canadian". 

So I say, well I moved to Texas when I was in high school. But still that's not enough. Then it starts becoming this family tree probing of my origins. Why do people feel the need to grill you about where you're REALLY from? 

"Okay, but where are your parents from?" We just met??? 

"No but where are you REALLY from?" I just told you???

"No I mean your nationality" Canadian is my nationality do you mean ethnicity??? 

I realize I could just cut to the chase and feed into their curiosity by immediately revealing my ethnic background.

Conversation:
Stranger I just met: "Where are you from?"
Me: "I'm Chinese"
- end -

But somehow, I feel morbidly curious as to why it matters so much. When I do reveal my ethnicity, the response is never really stimulating of any sort. 

"Oh I love Chinese food"

"Oh, I thought you were _____"

"Cool" 


Have y'all faced this kind of interrogation before? Why do you think people (Americans in particular) are so curious? What do you do? Am I the only one who's annoyed? 

3 replies

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  • Natasha
    Natasha 💪🏻& 👊🏻 just like NYC
    3y ago New York, NY, United States

    I think it's generally people who lack knowledge and don't understand the difference between ethnicity and nationality. I think it's hard to not take such questions as racist but try to use them as a way to educate people!

    I think it's generally people who lack knowledge and don't understand the difference between ethnicity and nationality. I think it's hard to not take such questions as racist but try to use them as a way to educate people!

  • Patti Pokorchak 30

    Just curiosity. I'm a proud first gen Canadian of German-Ukrainian heritage and have travelled a lot. I'm just curious where people came from. It helps establish a bond and common connection sometimes. I don't think it's racist but human curiosity of where did you come from.

    Just curiosity. I'm a proud first gen Canadian of German-Ukrainian heritage and have travelled a lot. I'm just curious where people came from. It helps establish a bond and common connection sometimes. I don't think it's racist but human curiosity of where did you come from.

    • Bethany Heinrich
      Bethany Heinrich Mogul Influencer
      3y ago New York, NY, United States

      I agree. I think it's out of curiosity.

      I agree. I think it's out of curiosity.


girl
not yet a woman

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