Friday, June 27, 2003


Scene: W Hotel. Thursday night. Out with a girlfriend. (although, this scene has taken place at many locales, many times).

“Where are you from?”
“East Bay.”
“No, I mean where are you originally from?”
“East Bay.”
“I mean, like China, Japan, Korea?”
“I’m not from any of those places.”
“I grew up in Walnut Creek and now I live in Emeryville.”

Frustrated with my answer, the ignorant man leaves.

In a city like San Francisco, where liberalism is rife, awareness is heightened and laissez-faire is the attitude, ignorance still prevails, even in its nightlife. My girlfriends and I earnestly attempt to frequent various mixed scenes, Asian, White, Black, even a little salsa, straight, gay, house, hip-hop, trip-hop, shi- shi, not so shi-shi, et al. In all honesty, it is not because we impel ourselves to be open-minded, broaden our horizons or be culturally advantaged but, simply because we get bored attending the scene. Nonetheless, even with all different social climates San Francisco offers, sometimes it all feels the same.

Commonly, the question of my ethnic background is asked. This applies to all the scenes. At white parties, I get asked where I’m from, or even worse they try to guess. “You’re Japanese, right?” or “Ah-ri-got-do.” Yikes. This even happens at the Asian Parties, “You’re Korean, right?” except they usually guess right.” Ostensibly, there are certain pervading questions that, without fail, will be asked during the course of an evening out.

1) “Where are you from?”
2) “What do you do?”
3) “Where did you go to school?”

Admittedly, I do the same. But I try not to. Really hard. Sometimes, it needs to be asked in context with the conversation, sometimes you’re just really curious, sometimes you just need a filler (filler n. used to fill up time during convo., Candy’s Dictionary). In any case, it is truly refreshing when you can initiate a conversation without milling the routine inquries. Sometimes, I feel like I’m at some convention without one of those “Hello my name is _____” tags except, its worse because after you fill in your name, it needs to be followed by job, age, and residence.” What if those stickers just read “hello.” What about a simple “Hi”?