Picture this: you’ve just graduated from college, and are visiting your new boyfriend’s family for the weekend. You’ve spent the last four years at a mostly-White school, and are by now used to being the only Asian in the room. You’re familiar with stereotypes being thrown at you in jest — hell, you’ve probably thrown some in there too just to fit in. Then, you get invited to a Whites-only country club.
It was a black tie, open bar event, and I’m not going to lie, I was really looking forward to it. Spoiler alert: graduating from college in 2009 in the throws of an economic recession with plans of being a fashion journalist does not pay you anything.
It looked like something out of the Great Gatsby—perfectly manicured tennis courts and lots of old White dudes in Bermuda shorts and tails. It was then that his mother leaned in and said, “This place still even has a Whites-only member policy. They don’t enforce it, but I just think that’s so historic and quaint.”
Great. Can’t wait. Here are the top 10 thoughts I had as one of my more interesting evenings progressed:
1. When you say a Whites-only member policy is historic and quaint, did you mean horrible and racist? I actually own a thesaurus and trust me, these words are not interchangeable.
2. White wine is water, correct? I’m going to assume yes, since it’s the only thing that’s going to get me through this.
3. Great, now I’m turning bright red. My Asian DNA is betraying me, and now I am a literal red alert to everyone in this room that I am not White.
4. If someone tells me I’m “SOOO TAN” one more time…
5. Everyone seems really impressed that I know about basic things. Why yes, Sharon, I do know what a table is, and isn’t it also great that I can see that it’s round!?
6. People are assuming that I know the entire Chinese government and have sway in their economic policies. How do I break the news that I don’t know these people? But worse, is it bad that I’m enjoying this power trip of MAYBE knowing these people?
7. When they ask me “What do Asian people eat?” is it bad if I just say “people” with a straight face?
8. Why is everyone just assuming that my dad works in a Chinese restaurant?
9. Oh wow, you had sushi last night?! Incredible, I never asked.
10. Just dropped the bomb that I DO know what kale is, and it blew their minds. My biggest regret is that I didn’t bring a camera to capture this exact moment.