Monday, December 1, 2008

The Other California

I'm trying to understand where people are coming from. Literally. Spent Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday in Lake Isabella with my brother-in-law's new house. Anyway, at the grocery on Friday morning, while waiting for everyone to get their items paid for, a bearded man, maybe in his mid 60's approached me. What country were you born? Excuse me, I said. What country were you from? Seriously, this man had never seen a Filipino before or what. The Philippine Islands, I said. Oh, we had some Filipinos in the Seventh Day Adventist church and they are very nice, he stated proudly. I try really hard to be non-judgmental but I suppose with a population of 3300 people, 90% are white, the odds of finding a non-Caucasian is really low so I must really stick out like a sore thumb. Come think of it, I did not see a single black, Latino, Asian or non-white these 2 days. Except for my 2 hapa haole boys. I don't know what to say to this gentleman other than "Oh, that's really nice." Thank goodness, the checkout lines were fast so he ended the conversation with "Well, we welcome everybody!" I guess you really don't have to go too far from Los Angeles to see that not all of California is a melting pot. In the past, I used to feel very Filipino when visiting places like Michigan, West Virginia or Ohio but in this case, I only have to travel a hundred miles. Nonetheless, I think that he was truly sincere in stating that he welcomes me to his part of America. And in this case, while I was driving home, I felt bad for feeling so defensive at being asked where I was born. Race relations is a two-way street indeed.

No comments: