Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Asian Enough

About a year ago, I read a book that I really enjoyed. It had all of the elements I loved, including diversity. There was one part that always seemed off though, and it was that the main character (half Japanese, half American) kept getting offended by the smallest things. At least, at things that seemed small to me.

Someone asked if she knew of any good Asian restaurants in town. She got offended, wondering why they would assume something like that. My first thought was, because you’re Asian? Plus, she’d already proved in the beginning of the book that she did know good Asian restaurants. Then she met the parents of her boyfriend, and they commented that her name was unusual. Both she and her boyfriend got offended. Again, my first thought was, but it is unusual. It’s a Japanese name.

It kind of bothered me that this book, one that I really loved, kept showing this person getting offended at every small comment someone made.

Oh how naïve I was back then.

Over the past few months, as I’ve been focusing more on diversity, and paying attention to how people treat me because of my Asian appearance, I’ve noticed that I’ve started acting the same way. I’ve started to get offended by small things that don’t matter, or jumping to conclusions that aren’t even there.

For example, I posed this to Facebook a few weeks ago:

Was that what the family meant? Probably not. In fact, many of my friends pointed out the flaw in my logic.

And that’s the moment I realized I’d fallen in the same trap. By focusing on my differences, I had a hard time realizing that not everyone is focused on that. Not everyone is out there, thinking about the fact that I look Asian. Of course it’s going to be something they notice, but it doesn’t mean that they’re going to be obsessed with it, or even given it a second thought.

Which means I shouldn’t either. I prefer living a life where I assume the best of people, rather than the worst.