December 16, 2003

Should I Have Been Insulted?

POST #    641

This morning, I got a phone call that eventually led to me giving my name to the woman on the other end of the phone. The conversation went as follows:

Woman: What kind of name is that?
Me: Chinese.
Woman: Really? You don't sound Chinese.
Me: Oh?
Woman: Your voice doesn't sound Chinese at all. Even your laugh.
Me: Well, I'm an ABC.
Woman: I would never have known. Were you born here?
Me: Yes, I was.
Woman: Wow. I could have sworn you were something else.
Me: Uh, thanks.

I guess in hindsight I should have been insulted, but I just couldn't believe that the conversation transpired as it did. That, and we were on the phone for like 10 minutes as she looked up stuff. This was a work related phone call too. I guess it wasn't very professional of her.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 11:07 AM



Did she think that every Asian person living has an accent? Was this a person in NYC saying this?

Posted by: corie at December 16, 2003 11:52 AM

A friend of mine, whose last name is Gallaga, had a similar discussion with a campus police dispatcher in college.

She got his name at the end of the call, and seemed to think she was complimenting him by saying, "You don't have an accent at all."

People are dumb.

Posted by: Adam at December 16, 2003 12:13 PM

i'm not sure what she was thinking. i believe she was out on long island. i can't remember the name of the town she said her company was in though.

Posted by: tien at December 16, 2003 1:41 PM

Amazingly, despite my German last name, I can speak without even a hint of a German accent! Unfortunately, I am rarely if ever complimented for this skill. (Of course, if I try to speak German - well that is just plain ugly!)

Posted by: Justin at December 16, 2003 1:54 PM

you probably get this more than me, but a lot of people, when they hear my name, ask me where i'm from. and if i reply nyc, then they ask where i'm really from. kind of annoying.

Posted by: dahl at December 16, 2003 3:11 PM

i agree that she is an idiot, but i don't see how this would be insulting to anyone. if someone finds out i'm jewish and asks why i dont have a black hat, i feel bad for them, not insulted.

Posted by: dan at December 16, 2003 3:24 PM

actually, dahl, what i get all the time is the mispronunciation of my name, sometimes even with my last name.

but if she said, kobell? you're jewish? you don't sound jewish, would you be insulted? actually, i'm not sure that's the same, it would be more like, "jewish? you don't seem that into money." kind of like that whole gregg easterbrook mess.

Posted by: tien at December 16, 2003 5:11 PM

80%...and climbing...

Posted by: veritech pilot at December 16, 2003 5:55 PM

yeh, my aunt wanted to know "who's this teen guy?"

also, jess asked me what your last name was today! heh

Posted by: rachelleb at December 16, 2003 6:22 PM

Dan, I've always wondered that - Why don't you have a black hat??? LOL

Posted by: Justin at December 16, 2003 6:54 PM

ABC? Does that mean "all but Chinese?"

Sorry for the dumb question

Posted by: Scott at December 16, 2003 10:35 PM

american born chinese. abc.

Posted by: tien at December 16, 2003 10:41 PM

Thanks for the quick reply, and thanks for uploading the tuesday morning quarterback when he was sacked by ESPN.

Posted by: Scott at December 16, 2003 10:48 PM

When cab drivers ask me where I'm from, I'm a jerk and say "New Jersey!"

Posted by: Jen at December 16, 2003 10:56 PM

sure thing scott. i guess that's how you found my site.

jen, that's a great answer.

Posted by: tien at December 16, 2003 11:06 PM

the money thing isnt a good comparison to having an accent. that would be more like, "you're asian, can you give me a discount on my dry cleaning?"

Posted by: dan at December 17, 2003 8:53 AM

good point. i'm all fresh out of ideas/insults/generalizations.

Posted by: tien at December 17, 2003 9:02 AM

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