Where Are You From?

Where are you from? Pretty simple question. Good conversation starter. We get asked all the time.. and we reply, simply, New Jersey. And if it ended there... then no problem. Have a quick Jersey related convo, you've been there.. something about the Giants.. and we move on. But the conversation has actually never.. ever.. gone that way. 

And we already know what the next question is going to be. 'No but really, where are you from?' Now in our brain we are contemplating whether you are just trying to start a conversation and because you are white and have never actually experienced racism you don't know that you are making us very very uncomfortable. Or are you going to be an actual racist and are going to tell us to go back to our own country. 

Thankfully that is the worst we have ever had to experience.. but we know it can get so much worse and we don't know when that day will come that we will be spit on or punched or worse.. our children standing there next to us. 

Now I know what you want to hear.. but why is it my job to satisfy you? So we may reply with New Jersey again, America is also an answer. And you would think this person would get the clue and except our answer and move along.. But nope. And the thing is this is my country, born and raised. Spent about a decade out of America and then came back. My kids know no other country yet for the solitary reason that they are brown, they too will have to deal with this question. 

Here is the final question. 'But where are your ancestors from?' Now they know they will get the answer they desire. After all it is all about them isn't it? Worried, saying a prayer under our breaths but with feigned nonchalance we say Pakistan. And finally they are satisfied. A smile spread across their face. There have been instances where they have said Namaste to us.. not a Pakistani thing. You are now confusing us with Indians. We smile back because all our lives we have been taught to be non confrontational. Shrug it off.. 

I don't often post about politics or race.. and my pronouns are all over the place.. but this happened to us last week while we were on spring break but this time it wasn't just something annoying that happens to us often. For the first time it was actually scary, made my sad and angry. No ones ancestors are from here except the Native Americans. Do white people get asked that question? 

I am keeping my comments turned off for this one. 
Today is also the first day of Ramadan. 

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