So What ARE You Anyway?

I used to get asked this question all the time when I was growing up.

“What ARE you?  Are you Chinese?  Japanese?  Indian???”  I guess Koreans still weren’t well known to munchkins back in the ’80s.  I could’ve easily said, “Alien” and they would’ve believed me.

The best guess I ever got was Mexican.  At least they didn’t guess black.

This is a picture of my 3rd grade class.  I’m the one with the ridiculous suspenders and gigantic flower headband.  I used to chase the boy two spaces over.  In fact, I chased him so hard I ran straight into a metal beam (the kind that holds up the awnings on the playground).  I think his name was Sean.

I believe this was the year that all of the Asians in the entire school were in one class.

Total:  4 Asians

(Actually, it’s 6 if you count the mixed kids.)

When they weren’t trying to figure out what planet I was from, they were trying to decipher who was related to whom (i.e. which Asians were related to each other).

“Are you guys related?”

“Yes, I’m related to every Asian in this school.  Even the ones with different last names.”

These were fun times.  I especially liked talking to my “brothers” and “sisters” in my made-up nonsensical Asian-ese language and piss people off.  Look who’s laughing now!

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7 thoughts on “So What ARE You Anyway?

  1. oh man, we could trade stories of growing up with white people. oddly enough my first crush was asian…ah, joseph, where art thou?

  2. haha…i grew up in atlanta, GA. and Ft. Worth, TX. and when i say atlanta, i mean marrietta….not “Hotlanta”.

    there’s a panoramic picture of my entire school when i was in 2nd grade and my sister was in 5th. we’re the only two asians in the ENTIRE school and you could only see the back of my bowl-cut in it because i turned around to look for her. i was drowning in a sea of whiteness…

  3. the best is once they figure out that i’m korean, the more ‘keen’ ones get a sparkle in their eye and ask me if i’m north or south korean…and in my mind i want to just tell them that i’m from the north and then shoot them

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