(I am a female-identifying, Asian-American student at Davidson.) I visited a Walmart around campus my first year here and was approached by a white man at the register who asked me if I was Korean. After affirming, he continued to talk to me across the register, asking me if I ate kimchi, if I spoke Korean, and other questions about my heritage. He proceeded to tell me about his Korean wife and even showed me a picture of her. He couldn’t hide his pride at having successfully guessed my ethnicity. I felt incredibly awkward, exoticized, and embarrassed to be having the conversation at such a volume/distance that others could overhear.
Despite my depth of professional experience, my manager has on multiple occasions called me “kiddo.”
I work with students and my colleague assumed I would be “uncomfortable” talking to students about their research proposal around slavery, because I’m black.
I have watched colleagues around me cut, dye, and style their hair in different ways. When I do it, it becomes a public spectacle and “hard to understand.”
For months, in meetings or after meetings, I have been told I am “sassy” or “have an attitude.”
I was talking to a colleague about recruiting / sales jobs (which are inherently all about persuading others to ‘buy into’ the candidacy of a new hire or product), and my colleague apologized for using language about “buying people,” because of slavery. Since I’m a woman of color.
I am the only woman of color in my office, and my manager regularly refers to me as “the mean one.”
I keep anglicizing people’s names if I see them as White. It’s like all White people have to be Anglos, apparently. I’m always really sorry, but I do it periodically, and then they have to forgive me, after knowing that’s how I see them. Like, their real name is unimportant to me because it has to conform to the box I’ve put them in.
I’m Latina, from Caribbean descent. So that means people see me as a sex object. The hot Latin woman, the Sofia Vergara caricature. Sometimes, I’ll move my body in a way that is perfectly natural for anyone, but people will imitate me as this hyper-sexualized thing, and it’s supposed to be funny. They don’t realize it’s because they are buying into the racism. I get it from people across the spectrum — white people and people of color. But never from other Caribbean people. We just all shake our heads.
Sometimes I have trouble telling white people apart. And they all have the same names. It’s really hard for me. I’m not sure they notice, though, and if they do I don’t think they know it’s a racial thing. It is.