So… your boyfriend is same race as you right?

So… is your boyfriend same… race as you?

My co-worker, when hearing me talk about my boyfriend, turned and asked:

“Is your boyfriend… a New Zealander?”

I didn’t know how to respond.

What did he mean?

Aside from sending me a message that I: a girl who grew up in this country since age of 7 and also represented this country in another nation, was NOT a New Zealander,

Did he want to know how me, as an asian immigrant could date another person who is (gasp) a different race than me?

Or did he simply want to ask if the boy I was dating grew up in NZ just like me, and thus, a New Zealander?

I replied:
“Yeah… he is. Well – half- English… So… A New Zealander?”
(If you think about it, WHAT THE HELL IS NEW ZEALANDER)

“Oh, so not asian.”

I didn’t say anything else. I didn’t know what else to say actually. I would have loved to come up with some kind of retort, but I just went my way.

The thing is:

I knew he didn’t have any ill intent.

It was just one of those things you assumed. People tend to go out with another based on common interests. If you have the same culture and similar upbringing, hey, you have something there already.

I once asked a lady about her husband when she told me she was married. She was a bit taken back and said “Oh, it’s not a husband.”
I was so ashamed.
I just assumed she was married to man.
I wanted to apologize to her over and over again but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it and continued as if nothing happened. So I totally understood how you tend to assume things due to the sheer number of them.

It’s true that there are more people who date/marry same race than those who date/marry someone from a different race. So – this guy, thinking I went out with an asian dude, had a lot of chance to be right.

It gets tiring very easily though.

Having to explain – No, I did not date him because I want to learn english off him.

No, he isn’t interested in learning my native tongue either. In fact, he doesn’t really care what race I am.

No he doesn’t have an Asian Fetish (You will be amazed at how many rude people ask if the reason my partner loves me is because of something other than my personality. Really? Do you guys think my partner is this shallow?)

And finally, No. We are not going out because we want to have half-babies. (No really. I am not joking. Apparently this happens)

The sad thing is, those above answers, some people answer yes.

When I had my arms around my partner in an Asian country, people looked at me as if I was “Foreigner hunter” (It’s the grass is greener on the other side philosophy. Asian girls who just go crazy for white dudes. Don’t ask me. It’s some media portrayal that exacerbates this.). They thought I was going out with my partner just to learn english or to have half white babehs. When I was speaking Japanese to a friend in my Japanese class with my partner in tow, he got the looks of “Oh, he is learning Japanese from that Japanese chic.” It sucks.

What needs to be done?
We all just need to stop ourselves from jumping to conclusions so easily. In this day and age, anything is possible. We can’t just judge one person so quickly.

Take a minute and think how you would feel to be asked if the reason why you were in love with your significant other is only because of their eye or hair color.
“Oh, you are dating a blonde? Is it because you want blonde haired babies?”

“Is your partner has the same eye color as you, right?”

“Oh! You’re partner is really smart. Are you dating them because you want to be smart too?”

Sure, inter-racial romance may be a phenomenon that’s quite new, but come on world. It’s 21st century. Let us not be so quick to judge.

Help me

“Someone please help me,”
She cried hysterically, turning to one person to another.
A man stopped, heard her plea and continued on to the pizza parlor.

“Please, can you help me?” She reached out to the teenagers sitting in their van, smokes and beer in their hands. They leaned in to hear her better away from their thumping music. After they heard her plea, they shrugged and replied:
“Nah, sorry eh.”

“Please, please help me,” she cried, wrapping her black shawl tightly around her body.
A woman in her biker shorts with music blaring loudly in her ears. She took one piece off, listened to her plea, shook her head and marched off in long strides.

Her plea, for $10 dollars.

Perhaps if it was for glass of water. A phone call. A place to hide. Maybe she would have met with a smile. Just that maybe.

“You can have my watch, my coat, anything, I just need ten dollars.” She ran to another man on the dark streets.
He glanced at the watch. Suspicious, he shook his head and walked away.

Tears streaming down her face, she grabbed the next person by the arm.
They jerked away and pushed her with anger.
“What the hell!”

She stumbled onto the floor and huddled her knees close to her and started to wail. Those that walked by quickened their pace and looked elsewhere.
One muttered angrily to her partner,
“No shame at all, making the city look like it’s overrun with homeless people!”
Ashamed, she buried her face in her hands and sobbed quietly.

“Are you alright?”
A young boy asked.
She immediately looked, her mascara smearing her face black.
“Please help me. I just need ten dollars.”
“Oh.” The boy patted his jeans frowning. Triumphantly he drew out a card.
“I would need to get it out from a shop, do you mind coming with me?”
He asked innocently.
She got up on her feet and followed the boy into a small shop.
Others looked curiously, some with dismay at a scene of a young boy leading a grown woman to a shop.

“Here you go.” He smiled as he gave her a twenty dollar bill. She thanked him profusely. She offered him her watch but he politely refused. She promised to pay him back with his address, he also politely shook his head. As he left to continue his way, she ran the opposite way.

——————————————————–

So, this happened right outside our house yesterday. I was appalled to see that these people ignore this poor woman’s plea. She looked so miserable by the time we helped her.

I come from a family that something like the above situation has happened in the past. Where my mother was chased out of the house, penniless and without shoes. When I saw this woman, I saw my mother in her and couldn’t quell the rage building in me.

Yet, there are people who pretend to be homeless, pretend to be in desperate help. Heck, my friend even had her lunch thrown back to her when she thought she was helping out a homeless man! So fair enough, these people probably thought she was going to go buy drugs or something with the money. More money given to these dishonest people, the more we fuel this behavior.

So, what can be done about this?

Unfortunately the argument is two fold.

Many economists and non-profit organizations say not to give money to the homeless people as they either: A: with no place to save the money, spend it all, repeating the same cycle. B: Spend it on drugs or alcohol. C: have a home and family secretly back home and they buy a new car.

Some: and few who used to be homeless, argue that giving money to that homeless man to buy the drugs to forget the fact he’s in the streets is helping him. if the person rather spends the money on drugs than food, it is their choice. When giving money to them, you should be aware that this money could be spent in a way that you may not approve of.

My view is that don’t dismiss people who seek your help just because they are wanting money. When people ask for money it shouldn’t automatically make you ignore them, you should use your judgement. Heck, if you are suspicious, then just ask why they need that money. Give them your benefit of the doubt. Sure you may have helped that person buy drugs and they are toasting to their acting skills, but if the person really needed that money, you have just helped someone.

What’s your take on giving money to people who ask?