I just had a brutal, knockdown, drag-out fight. With myself. No, not like Fight Club, but more like Me, Myself, and Irene. Lots of name calling was used, and both sides of myself told the other side to quit bitching. Maybe I should start videotaping these blog posts so that you all can see what I go through to make you think and be entertained. What I was fighting about was how I am perceived by society. Normally this would be a fight I would have with other people, but I was explaining to the Sane One the other day how I am a little frustrated about something wonderful happening. Typical dick move, to look a gift horse in the mouth, but since I'm majoring in Equine Dentistry, I felt I had no choice.
Here's my gripe. When I was growing up, how people would describe me would be "the Oriental kid." Or if they were super-PC, "the Asian kid." If someone would ask you where I was sitting in the cafeteria, you would just say, "He's the Asian kid" and the other person would look around and say, "Found him." It really wasn't that hard in Kutztown, PA, but possibly harder to pull off in Shanghai, China. But normally it was always my racial identity that was used to describe me. I wasn't the "scrawny trombonist", I was the Oriental Trombonist. Being adopted, most of us really, really, really wanted to fit in. So back then, if I had a choice between scrawny trombonist and Oriental trombonist, I would have happily gone with scrawny. It just seemed that whether it was intentional or not, my external ethnicity was always present, no matter what the situation was. Korean soccer player only applies if I am on the national team of Korea, which I will never be. Inept soccer player is much more appropriate.
The other day, someone wanted to know which one I was in a crowd, and the other person said "He's the one in the grey sweater." I'M FINALLY OK BEING CALLED ASIAN AND NOW YOU USE DESCRIPTORS THAT AREN'T IMMEDIATELY IDENTIFIABLE?!?!?!? AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHH. Now, this is where I have to get on the Ungrateful Dick Train. It's absolutely wonderful that, really without even any thought, the person chose the colour of my jumper (Fuck you, Mark Neal!) as the descriptor of where in the room I was. But, just like in my childhood, pretty much any room that I am in, I will be the only Asian present. Well unless I'm at a KAD function, in which case all you have to do is put fat in front of it, and then it will be clear.
Person 1: Who's Derek?
Person 2: Oh, he's the fat Korean over there.
Person 1: Oh! Why didn't you just say that in the first place?
Person 2: I refuse to body shame people
Person 1: You fucking snowflake
Basically, you are all free to describe me however you see fit. I no longer have an animus to being described as what I physically am. I am ethnically Korean. I think the Sane One provided a really good guideline for what is racism in describing people. She said that if it wasn't relevant to the discussion and it is mentioned, then it is racist. Like if you were talking about what a moron Tomi Lahren is, and you said "Well, my son's Pakistani friend is obsessed with her." 1. You're lying or he's lying or your son is lying, but either way, someone is definitely lying. And 2. What does the ethnicity really have to do with the comment? I had an ex who would do that all the time. Like somehow a Jewish doctor is better. But then again, that ex really would be obsessed with Tomi Lahren. But that is entirely a different topic. Anyway, I'm very encouraged that more and more people aren't resorting to the obvious descriptor to describe Asians and while I might be a little bit frustrated regarding the timing, now I hope that we can apply it to all races and cultures. It's a pretty awesome feeling to be called the guy in the grey sweater. Which would be a terrible sequel to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.