That Time I Was A Racist
I’m Asian-American, but not one of those militant ones who’s always causing trouble with righteous fury over slights both real and perceived. I’m one of the nice, quiet ones who’s just trying to assimilate and be a good American. I tamp down my righteous fury and chalk up most racist crap I get to benign ignorance. All people need is education. Not me poppin’ open a can of Yellow Power on their ass.
Still, some things are so ridiculously racist they can’t help but rile up my righteous fury, like when people say, “All you Asians look the same.” Oh do we!?!! Obviously, we don’t. That’s why when I sat next to an Asian guy at the home office today, I immediately knew it was Andy. I’d just met him, but I never forget a face. Andy was super helpful in giving me a temporary key so I could move around the office. He’s also the one who’s been helping me get set up with dual monitors and a standing station in my office. Andy is the man! Me and Andy struck up a nice conversation. “How’re things going, ANDY? When did you start, ANDY? Do you like it here, ANDY?” I emphasized his name to drill home the fact that I remembered who he was.
Then a funny thing happened.
I looked at the back of the room and saw. . . Andy. Fudge. So who was this other guy I was talking to? It turns out he was Jay, another Asian person I’d met earlier that morning and who I’d already forgotten about. He was polite not to correct me since he just graduated from college and had only been with the company for two months. I didn’t say anything else to Jay after realizing my error. I just turned to my left and spoke to someone else, both Jay and I pretending the awkward encounter never happened.
I was shocked and embarrassed at having made the same mistake so many non-Asians have made toward me. But more than that, it was a blow to my inner Yellow Power Righteous Fury Warrior to know that I was a racist, too. Or rather, that I had the capability to engage in racist behavior. It wasn’t my fault, though. It was Jay’s! I know he was new to the company, but I hate how Asian people never speak up for themselves!
And how they all look the same!