Your [insert ethnicity here] gift

So because I enjoy poisoning my mind, I was browsing around on Gawker.  Instead of doing the ninety million things I am supposed to be doing.  Hey, welcome to my life.

There is one post titled “Gift-Giving Horror Stories” and it includes some doozies:

From UsernamesAreAllTaken:

The first Christmas my boyfriend (now husband) were together, his mom got me the following:
1. a book called “Snow Flower and the Secret Fan” (complete with a picture of a geisha on the front),
2. Memoirs of a Geisha
3. Chopstick Set

yup, i’m asian. I know. they are very very very white.

From gypsypirate:

My bf’s parents gave me:

1. a wok. (first year)
2. a 20 pound bag of rice. (the next year)
3. one of those huge multi-gallon jugs of soy sauce. (the third year)

I’m Asian. He’s Caucasian. My bf didn’t understand why I was so upset.

Nobody has yet given me Memoirs of a Geisha, although quite a few people have recommended it to me. I had to leave the library yesterday for that very reason. I have had Lisa See recommendations from white adoptive parents. I hate Lisa See. They never want to be my best friend after I tell them that.

I would actually enjoy the 20 pound sack of rice and the big soy sauce. Got chopsticks, threw the wok out when I moved. I gave somebody a 15 pound sack of rice this year. Also I often give my mom one.

Once somebody gave me a set of handmade Chinese brushes. Like art brushes, yo. This year I received two sushi sets from a colleague, purchased at some ritzy department store. Hope the thrift store enjoys them.

What [insert ethnicity here] gifts have you gotten?

Thank goodness for education

Scene:  Sports apparel store in mall.  My mom wants to buy a shirt and is debating the merits of the various sports teams.  In English.  By the way, my mom is completely fluent in English and has no discernible accent.

Clerk:  Hey, are you guys Japanese?  I took Japanese in college.  We have Fukudome t-shirts.

Me:  Gee, that’s great you took Japanese.  No wonder you can pronounce “Fukudome.”

Price of the t-shirt Mom bought (for a hockey team):  $24.

Look on the clerk’s face:  Priceless.

(For the record, my mother wanted a Pippen shirt.  On the way home, she talked at great length about how Michael Jordan’s superstardom was in part due to Pippen’s team spirit and talents.)

My cultural competence

I ate a large serving of green bean casserole yesterday.  Then I said it was delicious and asked how it was made.  (“Oh, all it has in it is Velveeta cheese and Ritz!  You just mix them all up and pop them into the oven!”)

A law I could get behind

According to this feature in the Toronto Sun, Miley Cyrus was banned from China for her racist actions.  Not only that, but her merchandise is also prohibited.  (How did I miss this?  It apparently happened shortly after the event.)

Foreign minister Yang Jiechi has stated, “Miss Cyrus has made it clear she is no friend of China or anyone of East Asian descent. We have no interest in further polluting our children’s minds with her American ignorance.”

But apparently we do. Uh, yeah. Write your senators, people!

Word substitution

From USA Today:

Infants follow the gazes of robots who adults treat as people, a study shows, but ignore ones they don’t. The study offers clues to how children learn to think of others as people, not things.”Children learn from us all the time, even when we think they aren’t watching,” says psychologist Andrew Meltzoff of the University of Washington in Seattle. “One of the things they are watching is who we treat as thinking beings.”


By the way, I saw that kid again recently.  Somebody kept trying to give her to me because they thought she was my child.  You know, because I might not understand English very well and I said, “No, she’s not mine.”   She was doing her darndest to avoid my gaze.

Oh, and Arnold Palmer

Congress passed a measure Thursday that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-Americans who volunteered to fight for the U.S. in World War II even as their loyalty to the country was questioned.


The highest civilian honor awarded by Congress has been given selectively since 1776, when George Washington was awarded the first. Other honorees include the Wright Brothers, Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama. The Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of black fighter pilots, received the medal in 2007.