More or less, but politely and diplomatically. I told her my parents were college-educated and changed their careers to find stable employment here. I told her my parents, after 30+ years of living here, consider themselves American and Indian. I told her my family in India was middle class and lived in a developed town. I told her about population density.
lizznitch replied to your post: At least you had the opportunity to educate her a little and inform her of things she was not aware of. I hope you took advantage of the opportunity! I also do this, minus the “you’re glad to be here!” part…but it is out of a sense of curiosity…
lizznitch replied to your post: …as I was saying, curiosity to learn about others & their heritage and culture. I have a hard time now trying to ask this b/c I know that there are so many instances like this & there is a lot going around about asking people & seeming ignorant.
I don’t have a problem with answering those background questions. I know people are legitimately curious and typically sincere, and I try to answer questions to the best of my ability.
My issue is largely with her lack of tact. Don’t let poverty! be the first thing out of your mouth after you learn someone is from a different country.
This isn’t limited to poverty or ethnic background. During my undergrad freshman orientation, a kid from Minnesota learned I was from Dallas and immediately asked if my neighborhood was really dangerous because he heard there was a lot of crime in Dallas. Oh.
I omitted this from my post, but perhaps this paints a better picture— minutes before the woman spoke to me, she asked an overweight man how much he weighed. Her immediate follow-up comment: “I’m sure you can understand why I would ask.”
I realized this woman didn’t have much tact. As soon as she began asking me questions, I knew I was in for a rocky ride.
woman: So, where are you from?
(Uh-oh, I think I know where this is going.)
me: I’m from Dallas, born and raised.
woman (not-quite-satisfied): Oh, me, too! Where is your family from?
(Here we go.)
me: My parents were born in India and moved to Dallas in the early ’80s.
woman: I bet you’re glad to be in the United States now!
me: Well, I was born in the United States, in Dallas—
woman: Oh, yeah, but I bet your parents are glad to be here! Isn’t there a lot of poverty in India?
me: Not everywhere.
woman: Oh, really?
Believe me, I’ve had tons of practice with the where-are-you-really-from routine. I’m not alone. I knew this woman meant every word innocently, but I think that was precisely the problem.
The ignorance she wielded so casually did not allow her to consider that:
- not every immigrant is running from crisis.
- other countries do things very well, too.
- some immigrants and their children feel connected to two countries.
- some immigrants and their children feel connected to no country.
- people on the other side of the world can indeed lead happy, fulfilled lives— not because they are *~so destitute that they find joy in the simplest things~* but because social, cultural, educational, governmental, and other factors create a fertile environment for quality of life.
The solution is education and exposure. Meet and interact with people who are not like you.
I was tagged by ac-z:
Rule 1: Always post the rules.
Rule 2: Answer the questions the person who tagged you asked and write 11 new ones.
Rule 3: Tag 11 people and link them to the post.
Rule 4: Actually tell them you tagged them.
1. What is your favorite breakfast food/meal?
A bowl of Mini-Wheats (with fruit in the middle) in skim milk.
2. What turns you on creatively/spiritually/emotionally?
Creatively: knowing I took an idea and made it real. Seeing an opportunity for me to do something better or make something better. Performing a creative exercise for the sake of improving [a specific part of the process] to become a better artist (and knowing it’s happening).
Spiritually: seeing and feeling the joy of people who are completely at peace and in love with their belief system, whatever it is.
Emotionally: making long-lasting connections with people, remembering old times with them, and being completely aware of special moments as they are happening. The energy from forming a new crush, sharing details and stories and making yourself vulnerable, and wondering if this might lead to a relationship. Knowing someone likes me back, either as a friend or romantically.
3. If you could go anywhere in the world right now without a single worry about anything, where would you go?
London, Hong Kong, or somewhere in Australia.
4. What do you want your life to be like in 10-15 years?
I want to be a happy husband, father, physician, and artist/designer. I want to find someone who loves me and I want to start a life and family with her. Professionally, I’m leaning towards pediatrics, so, in 10-15 years, I expect to be done with graduate medical education and into my practice. I fully intend to remain involved in creative exercises and would like to find a place for it in medicine. It could be visual art, sure, but it could also be writing, product design, or structure/ philosophy/ process.
5. What profession would you like to attempt for a day?
I would love to be a comedy writer for a television program.
6. What type of music do you like/who is your favorite musician?
I like a lot of different styles of music. I invite you to explore my music tag on Tumblr or my starred tracks playlist on Spotify. I also like exploring new music, so share!
7. What is a regular day like for you?
- wake up at 7am, catch up on Tumblr and email in bed
- shower, breakfast
- drive to school (30 min)
- school, lunch
- volunteer at hospital/ nursing home
- drive home in rush hour Dallas traffic (90 min on bad days)*
- take a nap
- dinner, homework, reading, email, Tumblr
*dear college kids: live close to campus if you can!
8. What sound or noise do you love?
The background noise in an airport before your flight.
9. Deceased or alive, famous or not, whom would you like to meet/see?
Ballet with Cate Blanchett.
10. What is your least favorite word?
Whilst— but I won’t hate you for using it.
11. Are you a morning person?
It’s my turn to ask questions! I would like to read the responses of any of my followers to the following questions:
1. Do you have any recurring dreams? What are they?
2. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner— each meal is in a different city and with a different person. Where and with whom do you eat?
3. Favorite time of year?
4. Name a place you enjoy that is not a conventional “favorite place.” For example: I like grocery stores and airports.
5. Describe your ideal weather.
6. What are the fundamental things you need to be happy?
7. Name one skill you wish you had.
8. Describe your favorite teacher and why that teacher is your favorite.
9. Have you had any long-lasting hobbies?
10. Would you rather hear a beautiful song or read a beautiful story?
11. If you had to limit your wardrobe to a palette of five colors, which colors would you pick?
Tell me if you do it!