When was the last time someone asked you where you are from?
When? Everyday at work! And up to three times during an 8 hour shift, if I'm lucky enough to get stuck on the cash desk or fitting rooms. The perks of working retail is the oh-so-wonderful customer service part, which requires you to interact with the them in order to sell merchandise and with that comes the part where strangers feel this unspoken, but totally non-existent, right to address and ask you whatever the fuck their heart desires!️ Shit’s even more exciting when you're black with a shaved head dyed blonde.
What happened/how did they say it?
It always starts with a compliment! And is followed by questions like: ‘what foundation do you use?’ and ‘it must be so difficult to find one!’; where you born here or are you an immigrant (of course they wouldn't use the word immigrant because that would be totally inappropriate) Then I usually say something like: ‘Nah I came here as a nine-year old.’ Then the white lady goes: ‘oh realllly you're English is so good!’ I'll be honest, my favourite ones are the people who cut the bullshit small talk and get straight to it.
What was the person like?
Predominantly white middle-aged Australian women. The type who'd most likely throw a tantrum and write a complaint on the David Jones Facebook page about using a black model for a campaign cause she couldn't relate or wear the same colour foundation.
How did/does it make you feel?
Pretty shit; very uncomfortable. It feels like I'm not supposed to be here for some reason
How did you respond/how would you have preferred to respond?
I'm at work so always very polite, although I'll sometimes give short answers to indicate my disinterest in the conversation.
What connotations do you think the question has and what do you think it says about Australia in terms of the way we understand cultural identity/ nationality?
Ignorance is the first thing that comes to mind! White Australia only understands what is beneficial for them.