Monday, June 19


Taer took me on a "date" Friday night. (He opened my doors and everything!) We had dinner at Addie's, which is a cute, neighborhood-y restaurant in a little, yellow house down the street. It's not mindblowingly innovative cuisine, but it's definitely yummy; and you can't go wrong with the outdoor seating on a nice night. Or so I thought.

I smiled across the table as I savored my ribeye and Rosenblum zinfandel. I noticed Taer was ready for a little more wine, so I re-filled his glass; and when I was done, he took the bottle from me to fill my glass.

This is when the man to my right, white as Wonder bread, leaned over his table and "knowingly" informed his date that Taer and I were obviously following, "... an Asian tradition."

HUH? What the heck did this ethnically challenged man know about our traditions, Asian or not? When we're eating family style, Taer also puts food on my plate before serving himself. Is that considered Asian tradition too? I call it being courteous and thoughtful. Silly me. Every time we're nice to each other, will people around us think it's simply because we're Asian?

I had gotten used to living in my San Francisco bubble, where it didn't really matter if you were white, black, yellow, or purple. People were themselves. Everyone was different, so no one was different. I'm not saying that I've never experienced racism, nor am I calling this man's comment blatantly racist. But it's ignorant. And it's stupid. I hate ignorant stupidity.

I considered saying something to him. Maybe I could've played the role and announced, "Confucius say, You are an idiot!" But I decided to enjoy our dinner and speak loudly in my American born, law school trained, perfect English. There I go again, being all submissive and Asian.

Being fair, I should note that D.C. is pretty diverse. However, it is very conservative, and people are very set in their narrow ways. This is the first time I've met so many people who don't eat sushi. And this is also the first time I've met so many Republicans. I have a feeling I'll be going through a lot of firsts here. I just hope I'll know how to best deal with them in the future.


Parisjasmal said...

WOW, I almost cannot believe that. When my husband and I share an appetizer or entree he also puts said food in my plate first before he serves himself....we are so not Asian. I am with you--I think it is being a gentleman. Maybe the nimrod at the restaurant not only has a habit of saying ignorant and stupid comments, but more than likely he has no manners.

You know, one time the State Fair in my hometown had an Asian theme to one of their displays and every hour on the hour they would do a "Traditional Tea Ceremony" and they would tell the corn dog eating state fair patrons some information about Asian Culture. You would not believe how many Oklahomans that year became EXPERTS on the Asian Culture! HA. It was embarassing to say the least. Maybe the guy at the restaurant with you was at the Oklahoma State Fair in 1987--and he saw the tea ceremony--and now he thinks he is an expert! e


Parisjasmal said...

I do not know why that 'e' is at the end of my last sentence???

Art said...

We're not in Kansas anymore Toto!!

jason said...

i had to deal with my share of ignorance when living in the midwest. on one particular instance, an african american student yelled out, "sup bruce lee!" as i walked by him in the quad area. i wanted to say something like, "sup wesley snipes!" in response, but thought better of it since he was about twice my size.

random internet person said...

Yeah it is a stupid comment to make, but I think it is sort of an (East) 'Asian thing' to do to put food on each others place. At least people did it in China when I lived there. I'm English, white as Wonder Bread, and we never pass food around unless it's at the beginning of the meal. The Chinese do it all the way through.

Nevertheless, you don't say stuff like that out loud.