Sunday, March 4, 2012

Where are you from, and what’s that on your face?

Lulu: This is relevant to your interests: Carolyn Hax discusses the “Where are you from?” question. Tired of being asked, ‘No, where are you really from?’

Ashley: Wow, yeah. I did used to get annoyed at that, because it gets tedious having the same conversation over and over.

Lulu:Agreed. People are trying to show interest and just inanely commenting on anything and they don't think about whether you've had that conversation over and over. I rarely make those kinds of comments, but it's out of an opposite kind of insensitivity

Ashley: You don't care about other people!!!

Lulu: It doesn't occur to me to ask!!

Ashley: It’s one of the things I like best about you!

Lulu: hahahaha

Ashley: But yes, in general I would just say the overall region (she could go with "pacific islands" or even "asia", probably?) and then deflect further questions.
"Oh, WHERE in Asia?"
"We moved around a bit. I lived near Beijing for a while." You know, if "near" is like Boston to San Francisco...

Lulu: People always ask where even though they wouldn't know what you meant if you responded correctly

Ashley: And in that regard, I'm with the LW, because she knows which will be the confusing part of the answer, and that's where conversation stalls or you get stuck in explaining your weird cultural customs and how to pronounce your name. And then you find yourself giving a lecture on palatalized consonants, and then no one is happy! She just needs to find an appropriately generic response and then practice it until it's just like, "My name is blah. What's your name?"

Lulu: Does it help to be like "Ha ha, everyone always asks me that"? I feel like that would make me feel ashamed, as a questioner, but then, I like to be original.

Ashley: I've said that a few times too, but it didn't seem to register. I don't find the question offensive, like she seems to, though, so Carolyn is right that she seems to be taking a lot of offense at a fairly innocuous question. I think it's boring but I don't find it offensive, so my responses aren't meant to embarrass or anything, but just to avoid me having to explain my whole life story again.

Lulu: That's what she says she wants too - a way to end the conversation.

Ashley: But she seems too offended based on the side remarks in the letter.

Lulu: I'd say it's not fair, but it's also not necessarily offensive in that people are just well-meaning dopes. It's not even really a race thing, just an anything-unusual kind of thing.

Ashley: There's always something...

Lulu: I always have to explain my lazy eye and my crippling social phobia

Ashley: ….

Lulu: I had blue hair for a while; if you dye your hair blue you end up having a lot of blue hair conversations,
but you brought that on yourself, really. Same with tattoos. You can assume if you see a tattoo that the person wouldn't mind discussing it, since they proudly placed it on a prominent body part, but it’s not an assumption you can make about ethnicity / accents / injuries / genetic abnormalities / etc.

Ashley: I imagine it is tiring to hear the same comments over and over about your dumb tattoo you got when you were 18

Lulu: YES I branded my forehead with PANTERA RULES. NO I don't have strong feelings about Pantera right now.

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