All of us who are dating someone who is slightly more different than average will, at some point, encounter people who will ask strange, offensive and even racist questions. Along the way, we all learned to deal with them, learned to ignore them or repeat predetermined answers. But there are still these few questions, someone could not prepare for because you could never think that anybody ever could get the idea to ask these. Here are three of these ‘special’, ‘creative’ questions.
- ‘Are you happy that we are eating Austrian food?’
Yes, this would have been a very loving, caring question if it was not asked at a get-together with Chinese friends in Austria. I think the Chinese person only had good intents, but really. Do you need to ask an Austrian in Austria who can cook and eat Austrian food every day because they are obviously currently living in Austria, if they are happy that they can eat Austrian food at that one special occasion? The person already knew me very well because I joined many parties of the Taiwanese Culture Association here in Vienna before and we already talked a lot too. So why even bother to ask me such a ridiculous thing? And, did the person ask other Austrians who came with their Chinese partners too?Too many possible answers run through my head and I was desperately trying to decide on the least offensive one. I am a master of ‘the art of cultivated sarcasm’, but this was out of question. I did not want to offend anyone here because, you know, the whole community would know that ‘the non-Chinese girlfriend of xxx’s son was
a bit**not respectful at all’ the next day. So I remembered what my mom taught me when I was still a little child: ‘Do not always say what you think!’ Oh, she was so right about that one. I decided on the most diplomatic answer and replied ‘Of course I am, but I love Chinese food too.’ with a big smile.
- ‘Is your boyfriend already as white as you?’
Of course we all know already that older people might not be as open as younger are – and it looks like that this especially counts for old, grumpy Chinese men. Or at least for a few I know. So when we once met with a lot of friends to celebrate for Lunar New Year, one of the grumpy old guys asked us, if Mr. Panda was already as ‘white’ as me when we greeted them. While I thought about what to answer, Mr. Panda already started to scold them in Cantonese and I went on to greet others.While this assumption was unquestionably racist, I still thought about how ridiculous it was. It was at least apparently visible that he was still the handsome caramel colored Panda bear he ever was. And how ‘white’ am I really? If you ask Mr. Panda, he will probably answer that I am ‘red’ like a lobster most of the time: when I shower and half an hour afterwards, the second shafts of sunlight reach my skin, when I eat spicy food or when I get emotional. Only thanks to the cosmetic industry my face is ‘white’ – a word of thanks from me on this occasion.
- ‘Since when are you in Austria? Are your parents still living in China or are they also here?’
This was probably the most surprising thing ever which someone said to me. It happened about three years before at the Mid-Autumn Festival barbeque of the Taiwanese Culture Association. I was playing with one of the Chinese children in the garden of the restaurant, when a young woman suddenly approached me. We had a little talk about the BBQ, and what it was about, when she suddenly asked me something so unexpected I never even thought anybody could think of it. Since when did I live in Austria and if my parents were also here or if they were still living back in China?I never ever expected such a question, and I was too perplexed to think about what to answer at first. I stuttered ‘Do I look Chinese to you?’ and confused the other person as much as I was as well. ‘Well, you are here among so many Chinese, so I thought…’ ‘No, I am Austrian, and my parents too and we all are living here ever since!’ I answered as fast as possible. The young woman did not mean any harm, but embarrassed she took flight in panic.
Did someone ever say anything to you apart from the ‘normal’ stuff you would expect? Something you never thought anybody would even think of? Please let me hear about it.