#StopAsianHate

#AAPIHeritageMonth: Why We Should Stop Asking #POC Where They’re From

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All my life, I’ve been asked ethnically probing questions, and often times people aren’t even correct in how they pose them. They’ll often ask things like, “Where are you from?” I often ask my own question for clarity sake. You mean, which state was I born in? You mean, how long have I lived in California? Or do you really mean, since I’m a Person of Color, what ethnic origin made me a brown person?

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. It’s a month where I reflect on my own experience as a multi-ethnic Person of Color that doesn’t call herself a “Latinx” or an “Asian.” Where are you from?—is a question I’ve been asked at least a million times. What the real question is: What is your ethnicity? Ethnicity is different than nationality. People can be ethnically from a different country than their nationality. My nationality is American. My ethnicity and the ethnicity of other People of Color are no one else’s business. Our ethnicity isn’t relevant to our qualifications for being the right job candidate, and it shouldn’t be a subject of casual conversation. So, why is our ethnicity constantly asked on every single job application? On many applications, they ask if you’re Hispanic or not. I am forced to answer this question with a “No” because I identify with more than one ethnicity. Once I answer “No” on many forms, I’m prompted to pick from other groups of ethnicities. I’ve often seen this option: “Two or More ethnicities (not Hispanic.) See the screenshot below from an actual LinkedIn application.

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