We all categorize. It simplifies and brings sense to our lives. But when we realize how we categorize, and the slots we fit people into as opposed to the slots they fit us into, the conversation is enlightening.
My friend is Thai, but was raised in the NYC. Now he lives in Thailand, but feels like an American, while people assume he is a native and approach him to converse in Thai.
“What, you mean you grew up in NYC?” she asked.
“Yeah, ” he laughed, “can’t you tell?” He asked, ironically waving his hand from his gelled hair to his stylish jeans.
“You know, ” I interjected – missing the ironic sarcasm, ” metrosexual men with styled hair live here, too.”
“Haha…I’m glad you didn’t even see my hair and eyes, just a metrosexual guy with a certain cut.”
“Wait. What are you talking about? Style, right? Oh…race.”
“If you want to pick up a Thai guy, you’re just the right kind to attract them. I’m not.’
“Whatever! You’re just as American as me. And cute, too.”
“Megan, my family, my race, is Japanese.”
“Oh….yeah. I forgot…”