Friday, June 23, 2006

Odd Bits

Gee, Think They're Marketing to Us?:

So I was listening to the XM radio that came with our new car the other day [um, I never mentioned the accident that totalled the station wagon the week before our big trip, right in the middle of the kitchen remodel, making us move up our car-buying schedule from in-a-couple-months to TOMORROW since la dra.'s Jetta wouldn't be able to take all our luggage, the baby, and the dog down to my parents' before our flight? sorry! The Pumpkin and I were fine, btw], tuned into the channel that I think is supposed to be "classic alternative" but really just plays stuff from the early '90s. And this station promo runs, cracking my ass up:

"The music that made you cool then, just like the diaper bag and PTA meetings don't now."

Heh.

Failure to Communicate:

Puka wrote on Wednesday about how a cashier at the supermarket heard her Korean-Japanese-American toddler babbling and asked if she was...wait for it...speaking Chinese.

Um...WTF?

I've written here about the whole annoying twin thing before. Puka's story reminded my wife and me of the time, 8 years ago in Rhode Island, that we saw a pair of white parents eating in a restaurant with their TRA Asian toddler daughter, and the waitress asked them, "What do you feed her?" Not like she's taking her order, mind you, but like she's ascertaining the genetic predisposition of Asians to eat rice over bagels (this was a deli). For her part, the kid was happily chomping on tomatoes.

So, anybody got stories?

9 comments:

L said...

When my daughter was a little over a year, I took her into my office to visit my coworkers. She was just happily babbling away, like most 1 years olds do, and this random lady asked me "What is she saying?", assuming that she was speaking some Asian language (I'm Korean) and I was like "Um, nothing. she's only 1".

Apparently if they can't understand baby gibberish from an Asian baby, then it MUST be because they are speaking in a different language.

honglien123 said...

When my son was 2 weeks old (about 14 months ago) we were in line at Kaiser to let the nurses know that we had arrived for his doctor's appointment. There was a white lady waiting in line with us and she said, "Oh, what a beautiful baby! What nationality is he?" Biting my tongue because I knew she meant ethnicity and wouldn't be satisfied with "American", I said "He's half Vietnamese, quarter Korean, and quarter Japanese." And she goes, "Oh, so Asian!"

She was trying to be funny (I think), but oy. And this was in Oakland! The most diverse city in the world as far as I know.

weigooksaram said...

A good friend of mine is white, but married to an Indian-American man, and they have a toddler about the same age as my (half-Korean) daughter. We were all at a birthday party, and someone asked me if both kids were mine.

Robin said...

I don't know. It works both ways, I think. I'm white (married to Korean with three kids) and while I was in Japan just vacationing, at a restaurant a waitress asked me if I "could" eat rice. This happened over and over. Somebody must have told the Japanese that white people "can't" eat rice. I was stumped at first, and then let myself become amused.

Anonymous said...

America's a weird place. Multi-cultural, yet divided and provincial. And ironically the level of common cultural awareness is low. I like to think people are well-intentioned when they ask dumb questions. Is it excusable, though? Don't know. Maybe it depends on who's doing the asking. Maybe it's a simple question of etiquette.

R2Dad said...

Our family just returned from NZ, which is a very un-PC country. We were at a park information center and this old white biddy was going on and on with every imaginable stereotype of my chinese wife and our hapa kids. I just wanted to smack the geezer, but she was so old and sweet and clueless. The problem is, no one is given proper instruction on how to, in an unoffending way, address these ethnic issues. Including white Americans like me. The communciation-culture problem for non-Asians is it's so easy to do wrong. Not that if there was a manual men would read it, but the education process is so filled with land mines, most of which I have inadvertently stepped on from time to time.

Sprog Mamma said...

When I was a nanny in Seattle, I was constantly asked if the kids I was caring for were mine. They were Caucasian kids with brown hair and green eyes. Duh?

I agree with Anonymous above, America is diverse but also segragated in many ways. I was raised around Vietnamese, Filipino, Guamanian, Chamorro, Thai, Chinese and Japanese kids. But will freely admit I know NOTHING about Laotian, Cambodian, Korean, Mongolian and other Asian races, I was never exposed to them.

In Italy, I am told all the time that I am not American, or I cannot be American. Then I am asked where I am really from. Seattle, Guam, Vietnam, none of those answers cut it. The Italians want me to say I am from China but I have never been to China. My great, great grandparents are from China and they relocated to Vietnam. Sheesh.

HapaSC said...

I was in the FT. Lauderdale airport and a family was there to welcome someone home from Iraq. As an Army brat, I was feeling a little patriotism and caught myself staring. Unfortunately, a girl with the US flag (mid-twenties) turns to her dad and says "did you see that Chinese guy?". They then started waving their flags enthusiastically at me as they walked pass me laughing.

I was tore up! I'm hapa, but look full Asian. I guess that means I can't be patriotic... and surely couldn't know what it feels like to have a loved one deployed in a conflict.

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