Monday, February 27, 2006

Separated at Birth (or not)

It happened AGAIN! So The Pumpkin and I are at the kiddie-gym the other day, and the The Pumpkin and another (Asian American) toddler are playing near the trampoline. And a (white) mom asks me, apropos of nothing, "Are they twins?"

Yeah, lady, my petite 16-month-old half-Filipina-quarter-Japanese-quarter-Jewish daughter and the 10-month-old Taiwanese American girl who just happens to be playing near her and yes, happens to also be Asian, are twin sisters. 'Cause, you know, they're both, you know, Asian, and have short hair. Despite the fact that, I don't know, my daughter is half-a-year older and her little friend already weighs more than her, and then there's that pesky little thing about how THEY LOOK NOTHING ALIKE.

The sad thing is, this is not the first time this has happened, and it hasn't even been with just this one other friend. So, any snappy comebacks besides, "Yeah, they're twins, this one just took an extra six months to come out"?

18 comments:

Lumpyheadsmom said...

argh.

If it's any consolation, when my friend's daughter is out with her friend, people always ask if they're twins. These girls look nothing alike, except they both have long blond hair.

Their moms think it's funny.

So apparently it happens to white girls, too.

Marcie said...

I don't think you should be offended by this. I am married to a half-Korean man and (because of this?) I can tell Chinese from Japanese from Korean and so on. But if you have never been around different ethnic groups it may be easy to make the assumptions that woman did. Do you think it could happen vice-versa? Anyway, just a thought. I found this blog today through 'Weigook Saram' and I really like it.

Poppa Large said...

You should holler back, "do they look like twins?" and give her one of those withering gazes that will make them feel very stupid for asking to begin with.

Melissa said...

People are lame. I think they don't think before they open their mouth. And even if they ask it about twins, it still isn't any of their fucking business. On the other side of that, my daughter is always trying to convince people she and her best friend are twins, and they look nothing alike.

AQdoc said...

LOL, because you know all we Asians look alike. The other day, this 50-something guy at Barnes and Noble stopped and watch my 2-year old daughter rummaging through books. He gets my attention and says "I'm looking at your daughter because my daughter is about to adopt from China." I wonder if anyone looked at HIS daughter when she was a toddler and said "I'm looking at her because I'm about to adopt from Russia..."

The guy had no ill intentions, but it shows how ingrained the concept of "All Asians are Alike" is in the American mind. Since this guy was obviously just ignorant and not malicious, I didn't hit back with some witty comment. I just smiled and said "good luck."

JJ Daddy Baby Momma said...

I HAVE identical twins, and people are always asking the same freaking stupid things. I usually say they're identical cousins. And as mine are about as Waspy looking as you could get, when they THEN ask what their names are, I say "Chang and Eng".

Nina said...

I got the same thing all growing up. There were 3 or 4 happa other half-Asian, half white girls in my grade and everyone would always say we looked SO MUCH ALIKE! ALMOST TWINS! um, no.

But whatever, like Marcie said, we're apt to make assumptions around people were aren't familiar with. It's easier to not get too offended.

the weirdgirl said...

You say, "Yep! Same mother, different fathers. I think I'm one of them." Then just let them puzzle that out.

KristieD said...

ha, thats too funny. Reminds me of a night at work recently. We have two black waitresses at the moment. One of them is pretty new and other has been with us for some time. Some of the other girls asked if they were related because they look alike. (they look nothing alike)...the one who had been there the longest asked, "what? we look alike because we're both black?"..the girls asking were afraid they offended her, but she was f-ing with them and it was funny, but the point is: why are some people so dense?

Joey said...

I get this all of the time. People always ask if I'm "Chinese"- assuming that I'm from China b/c I have black hair and almond eyes. It gets quite annoying after some time. White people may SAY that they go through the same thing, but they don't. They don't know what it's like to be "assumed" something. Ignorance is ridiculous. I agree with Poppa Large. When people ask if I'm Chinese or Japanese (apparently those are the only two countries in Asia), I usually ask them if I look Chinese or Japanese... And then they get all excited, "Ohhh. I'd say Chinese." "EHHH! Wrong!"

Tom N. said...

I am Caucasian. My wife is Caucasian. So our baby daughter looks, well, white.

Before we moved across country, my daughter and I used to spend some of my SAHD time with a friend (who is Asian) and her son (half-Asian, half-Caucasian), who's 10 weeks younger than my daughter. More than once, while we were out strolling about town, some random lady would ask us if the two were twins.

Um, yeah. The Asian boy and the Caucasian girl (with blonde-ish hair) are twins. Because, well, there's a man and a woman, each with a child in totally different strollers.

We just laughed it off, and chalked it up to all babies just looking so much alike when you don't have one of your own.

Tom N. said...

I forgot about this part:

Well, you know, us white people all look alike too. At least, that's what the black cook told me when I was working in the college cafeteria.

:-)

Honestly, I do think it's a little easier to identify the subtle differences in nationality for people who are the same "color" as you than for people who come from a very different background, unless you've been exposed to a wide diversity of people for whom you've known their ethnicity. Otherwise, how would you learn?

OTRgirl said...

I'm white, my husband is Korean. Not only am I white, my Indian friend in college called me 'paleface'. Blue eyes. Light brown hair. When we were dating a LOT of people said we looked 'just alike'. Skinny, glasses, a preference for fleece and jeans? Maybe? But, um, no. People are strange.

Ronbo2k said...

People will say the most illogical things when they're trying to make small talk (I know, `cuz I'm guilty of this as well). In addition, though, people's perceptions/assumptions/prejudices tend to come out most unfiltered when they/we are just chatting. It's hard sometimes to know when someone's assumptions blend over into racism, which makes it hard to know the "appropriate" response. My usual "safe" response is something like "they DO look alike, don't they?" which guesses at their unstated assumption. If I feel their observation is coming from a place of privilege, though (or if I'm just tired of dealing), I tend to lean more toward poppa large's response.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether this is better or worse, but a good friend of mine (white bread as they come) is married to a Filipino, and their 2-year-old daughter is Filipina as they come: gorgeous glossy black hair, deep dark complexion, and almond eyes. She's lost count of how many times she's been asked "where did you get her?" because of course she must be adopted and she doesn't quite look like those Chinese babies...

OTT said...

Just came here from Twice the Rice and really enjoying it!

My surname is a ludicrously common Vietnamese surname - Tran - and I work in the law. Unfortunately, in Australia, rather a lot of Viet-Australians come before the courts for drug offences, and they stand out because they are Asian. I used to work at one of the courts and the number of times security would ask whether I was related to someone appearing in court that day was very aggravating.

Anonymous said...

I am the adoptive Mom of 3 kids. First is African American/Native American/Caucasian, second is Korean/Caucasian, third is African American/Caucasian. Besides all being gorgeous children, they look nothing alike.

The kids run the gamut from blue eyes and straight hair, to afro style hair and dark brown eyes.

Hubby and I are both Caucasian (Norwegian and Irish-German).

We've been asked if 2 of them are twins (child 1 and 2), we've been told on multiple occasions that a child must get their nose / hair / eyes from me or from my spouse, or that a child looks like their (adoptive) grandparent, etc. We've been asked by people that know they are adopted whether they are full bio siblings... it doesn't end.

People see what they are looking for.

One response to help weed out the ignorant-but-willing-to-learn from the complete idiots might be to simply reply with "Why do you ask?". If someone really is about to be a grandparent to a child ethnically different from him or her, it might be worth a minute to do some educating.

-k.

PS Kid 2 and kid 3 love to dress identically (to the underwear despite being different genders). They wrap their arms around each other's shoulders and shout "WE'RE DA TWINS!!!!" Perhaps their souls ARE twins? ;-)

kaitlyn said...

i think its sad for twins to be separated at birth and they someday findout their related!!!