Somehow I feel the educational system has failed her

One of the unexpected perks of living in Houston is how friendly everyone is. My young cashier and I exchanged the usual pleasantries as she was ringing up my stuff at the grocery store today. Blah blah blah, she asked if I was enjoying the rain, I said it rained a lot here and that I was still getting used to it since I just moved here. She asked where I moved from, I told her Virginia.

Then she asked me where I was from, originally. Occasionally I get questions like this (but not in a long time, come to think of it), no biggie (though I was a little surprised since Houston is such an international city). Anyway, the convo went like this:

Her – So where are you from… originally?

Me – I’m Chinese.

Her – So, were you born in Japan?

Me – Umm, no, China. Well, I was born here in the United States, but my parents were born in China.

Her – Oh, you were born here so you are not Chinese.

Me – Umm, no, I am Chinese, since that is my heritage. But I’ve just never lived there

(Bagger, who is an older man, jumps into convo)

Him – The Chinese are smart people. Are you smart?

Me – Ummmm, I like to think so, but not sure.

Him – I bet you are smart.

Me – Oh, um, thanks… (and then I scooted out as fast as I could)

It was just a very, very odd interchange.

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5 responses to “Somehow I feel the educational system has failed her

  1. Wow, that woman was a true idj!
    “I’m Chinese.” “So, you were born in Japan?” ahahah

    We all know you’re smart, TWB! Well, smarter than a cashier anyway…. πŸ˜‰

  2. I love that: “where were you from… originally…?” I’m half Vietnamese and half American, so I get people trying lots of different ways to determine my heritage. Them: “What’s your background?” Me: “Um, marketing? What do you mean?” Them: “Where are your parents from?” Me: “Oh, you mean my _ethnic_ background….” I can very much relate! I’m just glad you can fill out more than one box these days for the US Census. Woo-hoo!

  3. Whenever anyone asks me where I am from originally I say, “Virginia.” They usually always follow that up with, “Oh I mean where are your parents from?” And then I follow up with the China, blah blah blah.
    At least the bagger does know that those Chinese are smart – he better watch out!
    πŸ˜‰
    oxox

  4. I know what you mean. It does become arduous as well being a white male. People always want to know where I am from. I say Massachusetts. They say no what is your ethnicity. I saw American. They say no where are your parents from. I saw Masachusetts. They say no what is their ethnicity. I say American. They say where are your great-great grand parents originally from. I say Ireland. They say I hear the Irish are very lucky. I point to my hot wife and say obviously! They say I hear that Irish like to drink. I tell them “yeah boooooy!” They look at me funny. I stare at them for a long hard while and ask em “what are you looking at punk!”

  5. boom is a funny one πŸ™‚

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