Yesterday was a shitstorm of a day for a variety of reasons. When I got to the youth center on Colfax where I work, my patience was spent. During mandatory homework time, I ended up supervising a dreadful game of Set for kids who didn’t have any homework. Three of the boys were continuously giving each other a hard time, disrespecting by calling each other, “Boy” in an uncomfortable slave era tone and referring to each other as “she” since clearly being a female is far inferior to being a male, such as themselves.
I had the energy to call them out on about 1 in 20 of the jabs. I was exhausted when I walked in the door to the center. At one point, one of the boys laughed and pointed to the other and said to the third, “Look, his eyes look Chinese.” Because Chinese eyes are fucking hilarious? Well, it got awks when one of the boys looked at me and made the connection that I’m Asian. Who knows, maybe they thought I was Chinese. Probably they don’t know there are various countries on the continent of Asia. Usually I would react to this in a more professional manner. But yesterday, being in an absolutely shitty mood and in no condition to practice positive youth development, I flatly said, “Maybe if you stopped being so mean to each other so much, you wouldn’t find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of offending someone you don’t really know.”
A few hours later when I was eating dinner with the teens, one of them who I haven’t seen in months asked me, “Are you Asian?” I wondered where that came from. I had just said, “Guacamole.” Maybe she was surprised I didn’t call it wasabi?
On my drive home I wondered why there were so many Asian encounters in one day, when there had been none in so long. I wanted to correlate being exhausted and in a bad mood with looking more Asian, but of course that makes no sense.
What if every human’s appearance depended on their mood? No need for mood rings. There’d be no hiding. If you were embarrassed, your face would look British. Guilty? Your face would turn German. Angry? Asian. Sad, Anglo…and so on. Race face.