Being asked where I'm from has been something I've had to answer regularly ever since I can remember. On one hand I am so proud of my heritage and I can totally understand the curiosity, as I am mixed race and have that ambiguous-brown-girl, 'lemme guess where you from' look. But when being asked by a stranger it's often invalidating and brings on a lot of insecurity about where I belong; being half black and half white.
It never really ends with just my answer of Afro-Nicaraguan and Anglo either. After that, I will generally get 'Sorry where?' or 'Oh wow really? I did not see you as black!' or the classic: 'That's SO exotic'. It's just straight up draining having to then explain where Nicaragua is, and that there are actually black people in Central America, or to have them tell me that I look like another ethnicity and that they would have never guessed. It makes me feel like I'm an object with a 'nice mix' that doesn't really fit anywhere.
It depends on the situation though. If it's relevant, someone I know or another person of colour asking, I'm generally more than happy to answer because it comes from a place of shared experience. It’s not that I don’t want anyone to know where my family is from when people ask me, it’s purely the reason for asking that bothers me the most. It really shows how we are brought up in Australia to view everyone that isn't white as the other even though we live in such a multicultural society. People judge too much from face value, so if they see a brown, black or asian person, automatically they’re seen as an outsider until proven otherwise.
Another aspect that is important to consider is answering that question with: 'Australian'. Up until very recently I used to call myself half-Australian – instead of Anglo – which isn't completely correct. I believe that saying that is a result of colonisation, and erases the fact that everyone who isn’t Indigenous is on stolen land. So I think it’s important to be aware and decolonise your response to the question 'where are you from?' because even though I am technically from Australia, being born and living here; as my mother and her parents were, my ancestry is not from here. It's (mainly) Nicaraguan, African, and European. And that's what people want to know when asking that question, right? My ethnicity, not where I live. So I make sure to hold that to all of the white ‘Australians’ that ask me because if I have to tell them where my genetics are from, so should they.