i love pretending to misunderstand what people mean when they ask me about where i’m from. ‘London, only the greatest city on planet Earth.’ I’ll say nonchalantly, matching their gaze whilst they hover and stall, the fear of offence lingering in the air.
‘Of course.’ they’ll nod whilst they come up with another way to word their intended question all the while desperately trying not to cross the line to outward racism. meanwhile, we’ll talk about other things and put the issue on the back burner, the weather, the current political situation in Greece, art, literature and even tennis, but inevitably, they’ll uncomfortably stir up the conversation again, ‘but, how about your parents, where are they from?’ they stammer ‘they also live in London’ i say, still feigning ignorance, wide eyed, sweet, naive, as if i somehow believe there’s no difference between the rest of society and whatever it is i am. even though i play along, this is far from just a little game to me, i’d like to think that by not giving into their fascination i give off an vibe that makes them think that it isn’t right for them to care where i’m from. after all, it’s none of their business anyway.
i’d never deny my ethnicity, i’m not ashamed of it. on the contrary, i feel it identifies as part of my true, personal, innate nature, it’s part of what makes me who i am. i don’t see how it’s relevant to everyday conversation. i don’t see why i should feel pressured to tell someone about it, i mean, it’s like asking someone you’ve just met whether or not they had any concealed birthmarks, sure, you could ask them that, but why? that’s personal and intimate information about their body and their being. it’s part of who they are, but, it doesn’t concern you.
my ethnicity is mine to cherish and to share at my will and convenience, not yours.