I’m not from around these here parts

In the first and second grade, I lived in Salem, Oregon. This throws most people for a loop when they find out that this isn’t the first time I’ve been to this glorious nation. (Yes, I’ve seen a dollar bill before. No, this is not the first time I’ve seen my breath, thank you. That’s very nice, but I like to think that I speak English very well.)

I don’t have to tell you that my class was full of tow-headed Jacqueline’s and Jeremiah’s and I was the only Pacific Islander there. I brought a mango for snack time and when Bobby Moore cackled, I saw someone else’s tonsils for the first time.

And reading this makes me believe that Pat Robertson must have made his way to Salem and taught my classmates that playground game of overt Asian racism in which you take one finger and pull the corner of your right eye up and say, “My mommy’s Korean,” and use your other hand to bring down the left eye and say, “And my Daddy’s Japanese,” then with that stupid, twisted face, you yell, “SO WHAT AM I?”

Robertson: Too much plastic surgery gives people "Oriental" eyes

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Comments

  1. I’d expect no less from Pat Robertson.

    My parents have lived all their lives in a small town. I’ve had to teach them to use the word Asian rather than Oriental. They don’t do it on purpose. They just never met any asian people and didn’t know better. Racism…even unintential racism…is something that takes time to combat.

  2. Wow, after having viewed that clip I am very glad that I was raised in a society (small as it was) where someone who had a different feature (facial, skin colour, disability of some sort) was generally NOT pushed aside and made to be some joke on the playground.

    I know the eye pulling “joke” happened at our school, but thankfully some of us were befriended by a girl who was half Chinese, and within a few months the joke wasn’t as funny anymore, by the end of a year, I don’t remember it at all. Apparently we as young children were able to distinguish between making fun of someone, or just having fun. I wonder how many of us (being those kids from school) still think that way?

  3. Jenny, you make a good point. It’s hard to combat ideology that’s been ingrained for so long.

    And Pat Robertson’s really the Dark Prince. Who would suspect him?

    Angel, it makes me wonder because those kids have kids of their own and what is passed on? My brother-in-law still says “mulatto” and “chinaman,” so I worry about what his children inherit.

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