The Asian Named Susie

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My name is Susie. I am a Korean-American living in the southern United States. You can probably imagine the things a person of a minority background deals with on a daily basis. I joke about my ethnicity. I make jokes and I laugh about it with my friends all the time. I make the funny accent voice and mess around to get a laugh. I’m good at it and people think it’s funny. I don’t think it’s a matter of hilarity because I am different. I simply embrace the fact that I AM different. It doesn’t bother me when people I know make a joke about it either because we both know that it is not meant in a hateful or derogatory way. It is a joke. We all make jokes with our friends!

There are some assumptions though since I am an Asian Woman in a predominantly Caucasian world. Some assumptions are funny and some are sad to say the least. I’m not sure what my father was thinking when he came up with my name, Susie. It is a very well-known name and yet it is also a very unused name today. Think about it for a second how many Susie’s do you know? Now how many do you know that are under the age of 60? If you know one then you get a Lollipop! Comment your address and I will personally mail you one with a congratulatory note. Back to the point Susie is everywhere. Susie Homemaker. Susie is in songs, Oh Susie Q. It is an edible cake, Susie Qs. Everywhere, but I have to say I do not know any Asian Susies, well, except for one.

People are always asking me what my “Asian” name is and they almost seem disappointed when they find out that my legal name is Susie. I was born in the United States to a Caucasian father and he named me plain old Susie. Thankfully though because apparently the other choice was Ladonna. Don’t even get me started on an Asian Ladonna. Miracles happen people…everyday! Ha ha. So here I am Asian Susie in the South. Irony is not lost on me. I like to play with it though. When I go to a new doctor’s office or a job interview and they call my name I sit and look around for a second like I’m waiting for the real Susie to get up. Then at the last minute I’ll stand and just smile as everyone gives me that, “wait a second here” look. It never fails to give me a good chuckle.

Yes, racism exists. Yes, I have been made fun of more times then I can count. Yes, I have been offended and I have been hurt. The thing is we all do and say things without intention at times. We all make stupid comments out of ignorance. I have been called an Oriental more times than I can recall, but I don’t correct every person every time it has ever happened. It is not my job to create understanding through correction. Ridding the world of racism is something that has to be done on a societal level by everyone not by a single person. One person can choose to help but the solution will take more than that single soul.

I like to let people know that I get it though. I see the humor in my life and I want to embrace it by letting them know that I am not any different than they are. Laughter does more to unite than correcting mistakes does. People tend to feel impressed upon if you go around correcting them all the time. Educating others doesn’t have to be done with hatred and disdain. We can open minds and hearts by lightening them and what is easier at lightening a persons outlook than by getting them to laugh?

I don’t like eating at Chinese Buffets. I use to eat at them all the time. They are everywhere around here. I do love me some steamed rice though. I was at one once and a very hefty “white” man came up behind me while I was getting a plate. He was definitely in my bubble and making me very uncomfortable because of his proximity. While I was standing there glancing back and forth over my shoulder at him he tapped me and rudely asked, “What’s this?” while pointing at a dish on the bar. I am a jackass at times and this was one of those times. I turned to him and said, “I don’t know, do I go to KFC and ask you what they’re serving?” Now before you tell me that I was a B with an itch on the end, there were little name plates above all of the food items. So you know that whole literacy thing could have helped him figure his mystery out. I was irritated, he was rude and made an assumption, and honestly it wasn’t the first time something like that had happened to me in a restaurant. I am always getting stared at if I eat somewhere like that. It’s like being on a safari and I am the lion eating a Zebra. They just can’t look away.

I love all people. I do not love ignorance. I can’t abide it. There is something about an open-minded person that is just refreshing. I get this feeling of the future that we could all have when I meet someone who is open-minded and yet I fear ignorance will pave its way through our future. I can’t tell you how many guys I have gone on a date with who were more excited about taking an Asian girl out then they were about being with me. No second dates for you buddy. Sorry. I could just imagine them running home to tell their parents about the “Asian” like they had aced the SATs. My date was less than eventful by the way, guy. Thanks.

I like steamed rice, not fried. I own chopsticks that are made of metal. Yes, chopsticks come in different options. I prefer not to wear shoes in my home. I am bad at math. I am ridiculously clumsy. My skin is darker than some and my eyes are slanted. I am of Asian descent but that doesn’t make me who I am. I am a woman who was raised by Caucasian grandparents after my father passed away and my mother abandoned me. I was not born in Korea. I was born in Colorado. I have three children who speak English and like French fries when they are allowed to eat them. I am different but it’s not because of my skin or the shape of my eyes.

My life, environment, and choices have made me who I am. My skin simply holds me all together.

Good night everyone. Let’s laugh and love each other a little more often.

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