Dear curious people: This is how I want you to ask about my race.

'What’s your ethnicity? Are you Korean? Cambodian? Sometimes it’s so hard to guess.'

This past summer, I worked in customer service.

While I absolutely loved my job and the interactions I had with people, there’s one conversation I’ll never forget.

As I was helping a woman with her items, she asked, "What’s your ethnicity? Are you Korean? Cambodian? Sometimes it’s so hard to guess."


Photo via iStock.

"Guess" – the word stuck to me like it was pasted with hard glue, now forming a solid mount on my chest that I couldn’t remove.

Appeasing her curiosity, I replied, "I’m Chinese" with a feigned smile. While I was reduced to an object of someone else’s fascination, the customer’s curiosity was sated.

During another instance, I was asked, "Is Megan your real name?"

I felt my heart sink when the words hit my ears.

The man continued, "I have Chinese students who come to America and change their name. Were you born with the name Megan?"

I thought, "Megan is the only name I’ve ever been known as. Of course my name is Megan."

Withholding the anger at this man’s assumptions, I replied, "Yes, sir, my real name is Megan," trying to dismiss the conversation. He eventually stopped asking me questions when he sensed I didn’t want to reply to him.

To confront me about my ethnicity, imagine putting yourself in my position.

On a first encounter with a new person, would it really be OK if someone asked, "Is that your real name?"

While I understand that some people might view these questions as a means of friendly conversation, they simply aren’t appropriate.

I enjoy discussions about ethnicity and identity, but there are better ways to approach me about my race.

Photo via iStock.

Here are some tried and true methods or phrases I’d love to hear you use:

1. "Hey, I have a friend who studied abroad in Asia, and I’m interested in traveling there. Could you tell me which country you’re from?"

By mentioning your friend or maybe even yourself as a person who has studied abroad, I’ll understand the context of your question. I’ll also have more respect for you because of the thought put into phrasing it.

2. "I recently learned this fact about Asian culture, and I think it’s awesome. Are you from China?"

Again, this question is considerate (to me) because you’re explaining why you’re asking the question beforehand. Oh, and bonus points that you even know that fact about culture.

3. "Hey, I was wondering if you could tell me how you identify yourself."

Oh my gosh. Yes. I love this question.

Here’s why: You’re opening up the discussion for me to tell you how I choose to identify myself. I’ll probably hug you then tell you, "I’m adopted and identify as a Caucasian person. However, I was born in China."

These are questions that are respectful and courteous. They don’t make me the object of your curiosity. They remind both of us that I’m a human.

Here’s the thing: I do want to talk about my identity. But the way you ask about it matters.

Some questions can come across as hurtful. But when you rephrase a question, you’ll have me hooked into the conversation right away. In fact, if I were asked any of the above questions, I’d probably give you a hug. I’d love to have a discussion about identities with you!

Please ask questions that are open-ended because they’ll give me an opportunity to share my cultural identity with you.

Even though I was adopted from China, I was not raised in traditional Chinese culture. I was raised right here in the United States by two European parents. So my reality and my identity are complicated. Give me the space to explain.

Now, who’s ready to chat?

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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