I highly recommend listening to this NPR interview. In a multicultural country such as the United States, we could all use a primer on cultural sensitivity. Diversity Inc. reports 7 things NEVER to say to an Asian-American executive. I would like to comment on each, based on my own personality, motivations, and capabilities:
1. “You must be the IT person.” — Dude. Are you kidding me? I know how to surf celebrity blogs, type legal docs in Word, and blog on a site that should be renamed “Blogging for Dummies.” Don’t ever say this to me. Because this non-IT person will drop-kick you so fast that you’ll never be able to type on a computer again.
2. “You aren’t like them” or “You don’t act very Asian.” — What the hell is that supposed to me? Who is them? Are you talking about Taiwanese? Chinese? Taiwanese-Chinese? Taiwanese-Chinese-American? Far Eastern? Japanese? Korean? And what is “acting” Asian anyways? Do you want me to bind my feet and serve you tea? Bite me.
3. “Asian Americans are not risk takers.” — I would risk probation to drop kick you for this one. See No. 1.
4. “Where are you from? No where are you really from?” or “When are you going home?” or “How often do you go home?” — I’ve actually heard this many times in my life. My response is usually quite simple. First, I say, “the Bay Area.” If the inevitable follow up question arises, I say, “the San Francisco Bay Area.” One thing I do know . . . if you’ve asked me this, I already know where you’re from. You’re from and will always reside in the Island.
5. “Oh, you speak English good!” or “Do you speak your language?” — I have also heard these before. Yes, dumbass. I speak English very well. You, apparently, have the written and oral skills of a baboon. Perhaps someone should put you out of your misery so you don’t unwittingly pass your intellectual capacity onto unsuspecting offspring.
6. “You’re not a minority because all Asians are rich and successful.” — I realize I went to law school and am somewhat learned in the art of logic, but think about it. The two are completely unrelated. If you still don’t get it, I can’t help you.
7. “You’re not Asian, you’re from India.” — Look at a map, you moron. Here’s a hint. Look at the continents and see where India falls.