Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Judge Me By My Name, Do You?

I got an unexpected phone call a couple days ago.

The phone rang and it was a local number, so even though I didn't recognize it, I went ahead and answered it.

G:  Hello?
Woman:  Hello, is G*** S*** there?
G: This is.
Woman:  Are you planning on voting come election day?
G: Probably.
Woman: Well, we'd just like to encourage you to get out and vote in this election because there are a lot of Asian-American issues on the ballot.
G: **stunned silence**
G [stalling while she puzzles this out]: Uuhhhh... what are the issues???
Woman: Asians are the fastest growing minority in the Austin area and they are under-represented in local government. Also, election materials are only available in English and Spanish. They are not being translated into Asian languages, so we are pushing to make these materials available in Asian languages so that more people can participate in elections. It's really important that we get out and vote on election day to support these issues.
G: Okay... Um, thank you.
Woman: Thank you. Bye.
G: Bye. [Hangs up phone]

G explodes into hysterical laughter.


For the record, I am not Asian.  Not even a little bit.  I'm the whitest European mutt ever.

But it just so happens that when my dad was young, he served a mission for our church in Japan. He returned and studied Japanese in college. When he married my mom and I eventually came along, they gave me a Japanese middle name. And that middle name came in very handy when we ended up living in Japan for 3 years for my dad's work when I was a little girl. I went by my middle name then and I'm very attached to it.  So of course I kept it when I got married.

It was interesting to catch a glimpse of the assumptions that were made about names when compiling that call list of registered voters. I'm not Asian-American, but I didn't really feel the need to disabuse them of that notion. I went along with it in the hopes that maybe someday it will lead to some sort of hilarious situation. M and I entertained fantasies of me being invited to some event, only to show up in all my huge white-person-ness.

(Apparently we're a little desperate for entertainment these days...)

But it's a good reminder:

A lily by any other name would look as white.