Some people have become savvy to asking, “Where are you from?” and now lead off their question with “You’re not a typical…white American, so [what are you/what is your background/etc.” What am I? I am a human being, though I wish I was a unicorn so that I could fart rainbows and poop cotton candy. What is my background? I guess it depends where I’m sitting or standing.
No matter how smart someone tries to be about it, and I know some people are well-intentioned, it is still frustrating and infuriating to be posed such questions. By asking me such questions, no matter how politically correct a person tries to sound, my Americanness is being qualified. I will never be American enough, because my skin is not pasty and prone to sunburns. The truth, is if we want to be specific, then white Americans are not “typical” Americans either, because the only true "Americans" are those native to these lands.
Notice though, how there are “African Americans,” “Latin Americans,” and “Asian Americans,” but we never refer to someone as “Caucasian American.” Where is he from? He's American, but he's Caucasian American. That’s weird. What are people even looking for when they want to know what lands my parents and ancestors hailed from?
For some reason, we live in a world that cannot see past skin color, and even the most liberal of minds who see and think this way are living in a box. I read a headline that said something about being excited because an American black woman is marrying into the royal family. That’s great and all, and I don’t want to minimize that person’s excitement, but why is Meghan Markle’s race the reason for that? Why is it her race that seems to be the biggest draw and conversation? What about, how great is it that Prince Harry found such an incredible humanitarian to be his life partner--someone whom his mother probably would've loved? Not to mention, by focusing on Meghan Markle as a black woman denies who her father is. Meghan's father is "white" so does he not exist anymore, or do we just ignore that? Yes, it’s a big deal the royal family is getting some color into their bloodline, but it’s frustrating that that becomes the focus.
In fact, my husband and I are different races, but I often forget about that (or rather I just don't even think about that) until someone points it out, because I don’t see us as segmented parts of the world—I see us as two human beings who fell in love with each other and chose to be life partners together.
So, I wish people would stop asking me where I’m from, what I am, what my background, or ethnicity is. What does that really tell you? That I might be allergic to alcohol? I’m not. Well, maybe a little bit, because I do get “Asian glow.” It’s not that my family heritage and ethnicity are not an important part of my identity, it’s just that my race doesn’t actually tell you who I am. It doesn’t tell you my interests, my passions, my beliefs, my best assets, nor my biggest weaknesses. It does not tell you who I am.
BIG LOVE & HUGS