Tuesday, February 9, 2010

But where are you really from?

Schema Magazine, a Canadian website that says it's about "being more than ethnic," brings us 6 "But where are you really from?" stories from 1.5 and 2nd generation immigrants. Here's a snippet from the introduction:

A seemingly innocent question, one that many people would never even imagine to
contain layers of subtext or carry with it a history of exclusion and authenticity. "But where are you really from?" rarely appears in a conversation all by itself. It's the sum in a complicated equation that reaches deep into personal identity, diversity and belonging.

Many of us know that feeling, that combination of anger, resentment, hesitation and confusion that bubbles up from your gut whenever someone asks you the question, "Where are you from?" Yes, it's a simple question, and, yes, you know that the answer can be simple as well, but that's not the problem. Before you even open your mouth to respond, a very familiar thought runs circles inside your head, "No matter what I say, this person will not understand."

The six stories are numbered VI-I on the right. No adoptee stories (but that could change, see below!), but the "cultural navigator" stories of these young adults are quite interesting. For what it's worth, my favorite is number one -- what about you?

The magazine is also seeking more submissions to its "But where are you really from?" series. Looks like they could use a story from a Canadian international adoptee (hint, hint, Mei-Ling!)


Mei Ling said...

I notice a lot of people say they are proud of being Asian-American in those interviews.

As an adoptee, though, it adds an extra layer of complexity, and even gets very tiring...

malinda said...

I think that extra layer is what people need to hear about -- you can write about it from an adoptee's perspective. . . .

mimifrancoise said...

I get that all the time a few minutes after they hear my accent. How I respond depends on my mood or how it is asked or how intrusive I think the question is.
The only one that got to me was a man who asked me(after a few minutes of conversation)" What language are you speaking?" to which I responded I thought I was speaking English".
This was one of the most amusing question. And my answers vary..from Africa, or up
North, or Fort Worth.

LisaLew said...

mimifrancoise - Your English is perfect but I could listen to your lovely french accent all day.