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216 posts tagged ethnicity

Small talk conversation about our high school between me, someone of Sri Lanken ancestry, and two white people. One of the white people said, “Our high school had to bring in a gifted education program to help get rid of Punjabi gangs”. As they say this, they wriggle their eyebrows at me as if to suggest that I am in association with these Punjabi gangs that supposedly have plagued their high school. I say, “I’m not, Punjabi, I’m Sri Lankan”. The white person then says, “Yeah, well, we had those too.”

Initially, the comment and the body language made me feel confused because I wasn’t sure if they were referring to me- they easily could have been stating a simple fact but the body language suggested otherwise. When I clarified myself, they had the audacity to say yes, they were referring to me. It made me feel shocked and angry for a number of reasons. This person judged me to be Punjabi based on my skin colour. I also felt upset that this person was making sweeping assumptions about my supposed links to criminal activity based on my skin colour. GRR I feel angry now, thinking about it. 

You don’t LOOK Jewish!

Said to me in the middle of receiving my mammogram.  I’m a 50 year old female redhead reform Jewish rabbi.

A friend asked me, “Where’d you get that dress from? China?” Guess she forgot that I already told her I’m not from China. 

I’m watching an Improv Everywhere video. One of the (white) actors involved greets a “bystander” in Spanish. (“Que tal?” is the first thing he says, before the bystander speaks.) This has nothing to do with the scenario; it’s just because the bystander is Hispanic. Made me feel annoyed, indignant. 

But you don’t look Jewish!

Yes, I am a very Scandinavian looking woman.  I’m also Jewish. 

I walked into my optometrist office to pick-up an order of contact lenses. Unexpectedly the doctor takes me back and asks me to try on a pair of hard lenses to see if I liked them. I thought this was strange since I wear soft lenses. Then she said, “How does that feel Muhammad?” I’m Filipino and White, not Middle Eastern in any sense. We looked at each other awkwardly as I responded, “They feel weird, also my name is Stanley.”

My ex always marginalized and degraded the fact that I’m Jewish. All sorts of Holocaust jokes were the norm, despite the number of times I told him they made me angry and were otherwise offensive. It got to the point that I was told to take off my Star of David and told not to act Jewish. 

Well, it’s only because she has that Hispanic last name (Martinez). You know, they are always looking for minorities.

My neighbor, when finding out I (and not her son) was awarded a very prestigious and large scholarship to pay for my undergraduate education and study abroad. I worked extremely hard to get this scholarship all throughout high school. 

I’m a Dominican female that people confuse as a “white American” woman. At job interviews, I tell them where I’m from, born and raised in the Dominican Republic, they say “Oooh” with a tone of disappointment. Makes me feel like I was better when I was considered a “white american” woman. At interviews for employment. Makes me angry and frustrated.

A coworker sent me a music video to to indicate how cool and knowledgeable he is about music and culture. He’s back after several years working independently, so he’s trying to familiarize himself with the many new people (including myself) now working here. He thought it would appeal to me because the video is filmed in India. While part of the larger Indian diaspora, I’m not Indian. I’ve explained this. Before he sent me this video, I’ve explicitly said I don’t identify as Indian, so he’s just being willfully ignorant. Made me feel awkward and angry.

What do you mean you don’t like Takis (Mexican chip-like snack)?! It’s like being Mexican and not liking beans!

A Spanish Language and Latin American Culture major to me. I am indeed of Mexican descent. And I also don’t like beans.” Made me feel stereotyped beyond all reason.

I’m laying down on the couch next to my mom. I am a light skinned Puerto Rican and my mom is tan. Her friend (Puerto Rican) just had a baby with a black man and she send my mom a picture of her new baby. Among seeing the picture, my mom smiles and responds to the text “she’s beautiful, thank god she didn’t come out black lmaoo.”

What? You’re not Mexican. You look Filipino. Trust me — I know what Filipinos look like.

- my white friend.

Oh, an expert, I see. So we’re all just some commodity that needs to fit a set of criteria before you deem us worthy of our own culture? And I need YOU to tell me what culture I am? This makes me feel like I can’t be friends with white people (which I know isn’t true).

English is not my first language, but according to my ESL teachers I am ready to take university course; thus, I am taking one university class. During class, the professor alwas remarks how he does not expect much from me because English is not my native tongue. I know I do not speak perfect English, but I am very motivated and he just puts me down with his: “Oh, awesome you know this word” (a very basic one)

It makes me feel I will never be good enough in the U.S

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