Yt (white) people seem to have a misconception that PoC enjoy being the centre of attention because their ‘unique’ heritage. They think we are privileged to be the topic of conversation when someone asks ‘ Where are you from?’ They, of course, have probably never been asked. Being told you are a ‘unique combination’ makes you feel a dish at a fusion restaurant—not a human being. The colour of my skin and the curls in my hair are not invitation for you to comment, touch or play a guessing game. These parts of my identity should not be the things you are focusing on. I am so much more.
I work at a hair and makeup salon in Canterbury, where all of my clients are middle to upper class white people, who think my hair the 8th wonder of the world. They just have to know:
‘Where are you from?’
‘Where does this curly hair and brown skin come from?’
‘Do you curl it?’
‘You’re so exotic!’ (Ew)
‘You are so lucky!’
I think the last one gets to me the most—how exactly am I lucky? Because I look different? Because when I walk down this very-white street people stare? Do these people know the history of my culture? Do they realise that in a different time, me and my people were definitely not lucky.
‘Where are you from?’ is a question that I stopped trying to avoid, hearing it every week in my workplace has desensitised me to the the probing of white people. But it shouldn’t be this way. Why do they need to know?
Why is it so important to them? These people preach diversity but as soon as you are different to them they’re suddenly confused.
I am Australian, and the way I look or where my family come from will never change that.