Thursday, March 8, 2007

Racial Profiling

So today, I walk into an Eddie Bauer and the first thing that the sales lady at the entrance says to me is "Hey, are you Filipino?" So I say "Lasing ka na ba?" which means "Are you drunk?" in Tagalog. Alright, I didn't say that. I just looked that up really quick on the internet. I just told her I wasn't. But I wonder if she would have given me a special discount if I said "Yes." Or maybe she was preparing to charge me double. The only other sales person in the store looked like she was Filipino too. I had no idea Eddie Bauer was hiring Filipino women to run their stores. I don't think I've even ever seen an Asian-looking person rocking the rugged stylings of Eddie Bauer. If that's actually true, I wouldn't expect that to change anytime soon.

But that's not the first time someone thought I was Filipino. Just recently, one of the new secretaries at work asked the same question. After I told her I wasn't, she wiped off her forehead and gave an assuring sigh of relief.

So, it happens. People think I'm "one of them" and then apologize when they realize what an idiot they are, but it doesn't bother me. I don't see why it should. It doesn't inconvenience me any.

But last week, I was at Starbucks and felt someone tap my shoulder. I turn around and looking up at me was an elderly Chinese lady. She goes "You're Chinese. Do you speak Cantonese or Mandarin?" She said that in English but the rest was Chinese. She wanted me to relay a message in English to the lady behind the counter, which I gladly did. But that was unusual because she didn't even ask if I was Chinese. She just knew. But how?!? Was it my coke bottle glasses? My buck teeth? The way way I moronically ordered chop suey at a coffee shop? Whatever... she has her reasons. It may have just been a lucky guess.

But if you ask me, Eddie Bauer should hire her.