Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Deliberate Misunderstanding

Since I have the stature, figure, and coloring of a Portuguese matron, I stand out around here. So I often get questions from people who are curious as to my ethnic origin. The state of race relations and political correctness being what they are, though, people always try to find ways to ask without asking, and I do my very best to give straight answers to their questions.

"Where are you from?"
"Oh, I'm from California."

"No, I mean, where is your family from?"
"They're from California too!"

"Where is your last name from?"
"It's my married name; I got it from my husband."

"What I mean is, what country are you from?"
"I'm American."

Look, if you want to know what my ethnic background is, ask. But know that ethnic background cannot reliably be inferred from surname origins or geography questions. Better questions would be, "Where do you get those beautiful good looks?" or "What's your ancestors' ethnic background?" Just ask what you want to know.