This morning, my latest column for Cracked was published, about the subtle racism that I experience regularly as an Asian-American.
Not surprisingly, some people didn’t quite get the point of the column. And so, I’d like to clear a few things up. Specifically, I want to respond to the comments that I’m whiny or angry or playing the victim by writing the column in the first place. To clarify then:
- One of the points of the column is to explain why your question about my origins may not be interpreted so innocently. I’m not whining about it, I’m not mad about it. I’m simply stating the indisputable fact that if you ask a person of color where they’re from, it can feel like a loaded question to them. That is something that no amount of rebutting on your end will refute. And for the record, if you’re asking it in an attempt to start a conversation (especially with a member of the opposite sex), that’s pretty much the dumbest thing you can do. Seriously, find a more creative opener. You’ll have a better chance of hooking your target.
- If you’re a stranger, and you ask me where I’m from, no, I’m not going to think you’re racist. As long as you’re not an asshole about it, I won’t get mad, and I’ll be happy to answer your question. It’s only when I call you out on a questionable comment and you refuse to back down that I’ll get annoyed. And even then, I’ll probably just let it go. I have bigger steaks to grill … or whatever that metaphor is.
- Ultimately, it’s my job as a writer to educate people. I’d be a pretty shitty writer if I bottled up all my life lessons within myself, wouldn’t you say? Either way, my sharing my experiences doesn’t mean that I sit around all day feeling sorry for myself. No, I just want you to learn something. Because let’s face it, I’m pretty goddamned smart, so if you’re resisting my writings, then you’re the exact person who could stand to learn something from me.
So let’s be clear here: I’m not being whiny, I’m not playing the victim. I am sharing my insights, so that we can all understand each other a little better.
On the the other hand, do you know what is pretty whiny? This:
“Ohhhhhh, I’ve just been told some of the things I say might be questionably offensive. Noooooo, I just can’t stomach that possibility. Woe is meeeee. Well, hmph. I’m just going to lash out instead and accuse the other person of being angry or whining or being a victim. Man, I’ll do aaaaaanything to cling to my fragile sense of self-identity.”
See? That’s pretty fucking whiny.