The last time someone made a humorous comment about my race (Korean/Asian or if you're The Ferg - Native American) was actually yesterday courtesy of yours truly. I told Porkchop I was going to come pick him up in a rickshaw. Lame. Overdone. Stupid? Whatever.
The last time someone made a serious comment about my race (Korean/Asian), was, let's see, yesterday. And three more times before that this summer. Here are the scenarios starting from the most recent:
The Fat White Guy (Yesterday)
I'm shooting photography for a local cornhole competition (gross) as a favor for a friend; pro bono.
Total life sucking hours: 7
Perks: 1 free beer (thanks Mahaffey) and veggie burrito; use of sweet Canon 30D camera
So I'm making my rounds with an extra camera and a camera bag in tow, trying to capture as many emotional moments that cornhole is known to conjure up in a competition. Believe me, it's serious stuff, folks. I see a guy in a black shirt and visor, probably mid to late 30s with a visible beer belly, waving his hand at me. I assume he wants his photo taken as this is the same gesture I've responded to all day. He immediately shakes his head with unmistakable irritation as I poise myself to shoot. I lower my camera and walk nearer to him, hearing a hum of undecipherable mumbling. I eventually make out some words with questionable clarity: "...when you put two and two together, you're just perpetuating the stereotype."
I stop. Is he saying what I think he's saying? No, no, couldn't be. This guy doesn't even know me. He's kidding, he's got to be kidding.
"Excuse me?" I narrow my eyes at him.
He shrugs and says again, "You're perpetuating the stereotype, you know," he nods toward my camera equipment and then at me, looking almost angry; definitely serious; definitely unhappy. "I just thought you should know that."
Stunned and pissed, I say sarcastically, "Thank you SO much for letting me know," I put my hand to my chest dramatically. He shrugs again. I will myself to walk away, wishing I had the sharp ass-kicking wit of best friend Big Mouth or the actual ass-kicking fervor of yes, I'll say it, Jackie F-ing Chan. Why do all the great comebacks come to you post-incident? Honestly, it's probably a good thing I didn't retaliate (not like I could because I was shocked into speechlessness). Although, it did take EVERYTHING in me to not key his Japanese-made Acura. Ha!
I guess what was most perplexing was that he chose to offend me with a comment that was completely irrelevant to the situation. All the people who stopped to talk to me asked where the photos were going to appear, logically assuming I represented the media; not that I represented an eastern tourist.
The other perplexing observation was that he was really irritated. He was acting like I was offending him with my cameras and my Asianness. How do you respond to that? I just don't get it.
So, my question to you is, how would you respond to someone who sees your cameras and your Asianness and tells you that you're perpetuating a stereotype?