The problem with the question, “Where are you from?”
I always answer the same thing. I’m from Maryland. Born and raised. And people do little to hide their disappointment. “I meant like, where are your parents from?” You’re just curious as to why my skin is brown. Why? In most professional settings, it really doesn’t matter.
But when I do answer that I am Pakistani…the conversation that ensues really drives me crazy. “Oh I have a friend who’s pakistani, his mom makes the best food.” Really? Fascincating. Do introduce us. “My accountant is Pakistani, he’s a really cool guy.” That’s cool. I guess. “My friend who’s a photographer once shot a Pakistani wedding and it was sooo beautiful.” Wow, what made you think I needed your approval of my culture?
Imagine if it was the other way around. If I told every Kentuckian (sp?) I met that I just ate at KFC last night and it was really delicious. Or told every New Yorker that my high school teacher was also from New York and that, “He’s a really cool guy.” How weirded out would they be? How much do they care?
I’m not even sure why I’m writing this…I guess it’s just to say that my reluctance to say that I am Pakistani has nothing to do with me being ashamed of my culture and everything to do with your sheer stupidity.
Okay I’m done.