People of color are often asked, "What kind of ____ are you?" in relation to their ethnicity. It's quite a different question than "Where are you from?"
Example: An American is asked which country in Asia they're from. Or they're asked, "What kind of Asian are you?"
Doesn't that kind of sound like someone is asking what brand they are? Even if it doesn't to you, it's quite a loaded question — one that Alex Dang ponders below.
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So he said to me: "What kind of Asian are you?" And I said back
That's a loaded question.
What kind of Asian do you EXPECT me to be?
Because any way you slice that egg roll,
I'm still pretty much whatever you want to see.
I've played many a Far East stereotype:
awkward math genius,
cold and calculated Kung-Fu expert,
assistant to "Dr. Jones, you crazy!"
You want me to drive? How so?
I can give you
and Blinker left on for about half a mile
I am the foremost expert on
all things Asian.
The Mejii era and the ban of the Samurai?
Confuciusism versus Daoism? I'll give it to you with no slant!
What's the difference between Asian stereotype
1 and 2?
WELL LET ME TELL YOU.
Let me tell you anything YOU
want to know about my culture
Let me tell you in a Mulan-esque soliloquy
of me staring in the mirror asking
Who IS that girl staring that I see?
Let me tell you about Jackie Chan
and Bruce Lee and how they are related
BY BLOOD to me
Let me tell you about being so marginalized
it's to the point of "I really CAN'T believe
Let me tell you about derogatory terms
and origins of words such as chink and gook
Let me tell you about the struggle
of Asian parents not knowing the language
so we ate pet food because it was cheaper
Let me tell you about the job of interpreter
when you're still playing with LEGO blocks but
you're English is already that much better
than your guardians
Let me tell you about honor and dignity
Let me tell you about a society that
projects us as nothing but the secondary role
and never the leading man.
Let me tell you all the things you don't want
Like how chink comes from
the clanking of metal to railroads
as the slaves built train tracks for
this country to be connected.
Like how the zipperhead down the street
is called that because of the way our heads
split open when struck with assault weapons
or how the Jeeps ran over and left marks
across corpses and someone clever thought
that we were only good to unzip.
Like how every time you lump an Asian person
into one culture is systematically making us
assimilate into an America we thought was
better than our war torn home and every time you confuse me
with some other nationality that I might share similar
features to is stripping away my individuality
And I still feel the shame of being Asian
the heat and pious dedication
of June 11th 1963
the envy of blonde hair
and blue eyes
And I still remember thinking where all the
boys that looked like me on TV were
the broken words
of my mother and father stage diving
off my tongue
the anger I felt when those
kids thought I'd get them sick
And I still feel the ash of the incense burn
when I prayed for my family
And I still remember thinking my skin
was what I was worth
And I still feel the ironwork of my bones
grow stronger with every train of thought
And I still feel pride
And I still feel heritage
And I still feel Chinese
And I still feel Vietnamese
And I still feel American
And I still feel