Sometimes, people make up their own mind about how “ethnic” you should be. It’s a weird thing, but it definitely happens. And depending on your ethnicity, it can be really awkward and even insulting.
The OP says she’s tired of their roommate projecting her ideas of what being Chinese means onto her and her husband.
She is quickly losing her patience.
“Husband (28M) & I (25F) are ethnically Chinese from a SEA country living overseas. We rent a house with SO’s college friend who moved his gf (Anna) in during lockdown & she’s been with us ever since (with landlord’s permission & she pays her share of bills). They’re not Asians, which matters. Anna was initially nice, but started acting very weirdly a month after she moved in,” the OP writes.
Apparently, Anna told the OP and her SO that they can “practice our ‘real’ religion (which apparently is Buddhism, not Christianity even though SO & I come from Christian families). She even bought incense (which gives me migraines) & a random Buddha statue. We politely explained to her that we’re not Buddhists, but she continued to insist & promised that she didn’t mind.”
Anna also said that the OP and her SO can speak their “real” language.
“I explained to her that I can’t speak Cantonese (SO can) even though I can understand it. She was, for some reason, really disappointed in me & said that I was throwing my heritage away,” the OP explains.
Then, Anna decided to buy raw internal organs for the OP to cook. Surprise! Anna was disappointed that the OP and her SO do not like eating internal organs.
“Chinese New Year was when things got really really weird. She started ordering ‘decorations.’ I wouldn’t mind, but she had ordered hell notes (the ones burned for deceased ancestors). I immediately told her to stop pasting them all over the walls because they were weirding me out. She ordered banners with SO & my name on it (some bastardisation of our legal English names) but they were written on white banners (again, for deceased people). I told her to please take it down. She got upset (again), but then ordered kabuki masks. I told her that those masks were not Chinese, & she just snapped. She started yelling at me that I should be helping her & not critiquing what she was doing.”
“I told her I don’t understand her fixation with us. She said she wanted to surprise me & SO, that we’ve been so ‘colonised’ we’ve forgotten our roots, & that we should be embracing our culture. I told her it was a nice gesture, but she needs to stop forcing stereotypes down our throats. She could have just asked & she’s not being woke when she’s getting everything wrong.”
What do Redditors think the OP should do?
“NTA. Not woke? She’s straight up racist. Ask her if she’d be buying you beans and a sombrero if you were Puerto Rican. Seriously though, she needs a frank talk about what racism is. Edit: Since it needs to be said, yes, I know sombreros are Mexican and not Puerto Rican. I said this because OP received a Japanese Kabuki mask,” said LMGooglyTFY.
“Say it louder for the people in the back! She is being both racist and it feels like she is fetishizing their identities. OP is NTA and the roommate needs to tell gf to stop,” said thedoctormarvel.
“Anna is engaging in some extreme Orientalism, treating OP and her BF as delightfully exotic with a quaint culture that Anna knows all about and then getting upset that you do not conform to her expectations and stereotypes. She’s the one engaging in racism because in her eyes OP isn’t as ‘Asian’ as she thought OP’d be. She’s TA through and through. What’s even more insulting is that she is wrong about certain cultural practices as well as fetishizing them then yelling at OP when she gets corrected,” explained greentea1985.
“NTA. ‘…. so colonised we’ve forgotten our roots & should be embracing our culture.’ If someone said that to me (I’m of Indian heritage, born and raised in the UK), I’d tell them to f*** off. That’s personal to me, and so not something that a relative stranger gets to judge about me,” said SuperVillain85.
“The whole “using funeral paraphernalia” thing just makes me go ugh. It’s very offensive and creepy and considered a bad omen, too (Hi, fellow Azn here). If roommate really wanted to learn and be woke, she could have and should have asked. That’s what a polite, reasonable, respectful person does. This girl fantasizes, fetishes, shoves her expectations down others’ throats, then is repeated surprised when her ‘live dolls’ refuse to play out her fantasies. Like, hello? Don’t claim shocked and hurt when you have been repeatedly warned to back off and respect other people’s boundaries and feelings,” said Kiruna235.
Featured image: Pexels