I like Barbeque’s—but please don’t Barbecue me!

I like Barbeque’s, but please don’t Barbecue me!

On having Friends of Your Race and of Other Races

Written by Grandpa Dinosaur

I remember back in High School taking Davita Cuttita to a friend’s birthday party, everyone else was white and she was wearing a black toga as it was a toga party. OOPS! So you can imagine, tears, tears. I guess growing up among ultra privileged children with multiple pets (the dog and cat), the trampoline, the pool, the playground sized (or more) forest/backyard I guess I didn’t notice that all of my friends from my high school were rich, white and well off… Well most of them—The only friend I noticed being severely impoverished was a fat, bingo player of a girl, what (white) people would consider “white trash” and she didn’t seem to mind that the lifestyle choices she was making were the source of her misery anyway. <=Such a cruel person

But you know, in the end I didn’t feel to bad because my friends (although they are rich, privileged and a little spoiled not to mention almost exclusively white) were the most accepting of my skin colour of anyone in my High School. It’s not like you can HIDE the colour of skin anyway—but that’s not the point.

The point is that I didn’t realize that the world I had spent a majority of my high school in was majority rich and white. In understand that Davita Cuttita is coming from the ghetto as well as I had and her friends are all poor, she might know some well off people—they’ll never be the super-almost bourgeois that I have met. I have been to sprawling mansions with my brother (when I was a gambler), I have been to cottages, and no other coloured person I know non-white parents have ever been to one.

Had I taken her to my high school, which I never will, I would be concerned about what she was wearing and the colour of her skin. Within my circle of friends there is no problem of that blatant of racism, to the point that I’m egging them on to make racist comments and they’re desperately trying not to be racist. (Sorry Leona.) I did not take Davita Cuttita to a Piranha Tank, if I wanted to I would have brought her to King City—AND THEN she would have something to cry about. I feel bad that I brought her to a place and put her in a situation that made her feel uncomfortable, nor would I do it again, but I initially wanted her to meet my friends in high school and yeah…. They’re (rich and) white. O_O;; But yeah, no body though poorly about her. I was just like, “DAVITA! THESE RICH PEOPLE HAVE FOOD! WE CAN STEAL IT AND NO ONE WOULD NOTICE!! I need mayonnaise!”

YEAH! THAT’S RIGHT! I go to my rich white friend’s house and they give me the surplus of food, they always buy too much. “Hey :Grandpa Dinosaur:, we bought to much soda. You want some?”

“DO I!”

That aside, I’m very sorry (if you are reading this Davita) and yeah… You know that. But at the same time, it’s not like I brought you to a slaughter house. In truth, I just wanted to show my long friend who my high school friends were and had no malicious or evil intents. And I had no choice, Davita! They only CAME in (Rich) WHITE!

If I wanted to be cruel, I would have brought her to my High School.

My High School situated in King City was literally a piranha tank where no coloured person could spill blood. A lot of the coloured people (other than myself) had either become or were “white-washed” (sorry) or ultra (insert nationality), and both parties had learned to not speak their mind in certain white-centric classes. There were a lot of white girls that tried to pick on me (with great failure) and tell me I didn’t belong. HILARIOUSLY, some of these girls asked to be my friend down the road or tried to add me to Facebook, lol Facebook. A lot of teachers were cruel and favoured white students, punishing black students unfairly.

That was a piranha tank.

I never want to bring Davita Cuttita into that situation.

Where the racism is caked so thick you can see and smell it and you would dare about your mouth so you could taste it as well. There were times I was so scared. There where times that I wanted to cry. But I didn’t, because crying achieves nothing. I’m all action and no regrets, baby! Gotta punch me some racist white boys tonight!

But still…. Regardless, I never want her to hear people call her an ugly colour even in her presence. I do not befriend people who think that I am like a token Asian friend who is like the Asian friend of other people nor remain friends with those who question if I am “Asian” enough. I am nothing—no where near that. I try to be like that, I try to be myself at all times. And that in itself is difficult.

I remember one time I was eating rice and something and the (very beautiful) student council president (who was Asian) came up to me in the nook-cranny that I sat in with my nerdy friends and asked me why I was eating white rice at school. I was shocked and said because “I had rice in my house?”

And you know what she said, that’s so Asian of you, at school you should at least be eating a sandwich.”

Much to her chagrin, I ate rice for two weeks. And I did it to spite her.

I have been told, “my food smells and I shouldn’t eat it anymore.”

I’m not really “white-wash” and Davita Cuttita is my witness, you know why? I am too stubborn and set in my ways to do what anybody wants me to do. I’ll do something from Cambodians before I try to fit in with Western Society… And I wouldn’t even change my diet to fit with Cambodian standards of beauty. I am that stubborn. But people being dissatisfied with my own lifestyle has made me unrelenting and stubborn.

I have also been told that I should “talk more Cambodian,” by Cambodian students. There was (in fact) a small, almost non-existent group of Cambodian students (basically three) that were always angry at me for not speaking enough Cambodian to them. I barely saw them outside of the library where I volunteered at and instantly understood that being a “foreigner” in my high school made you completely marginalized. I never really complied to their demands, as in Canada you really should speak English and I’m not saying “abandon your language” but that English is an important part of communicating in Canada. You only segregate yourself from others and those outside your race… Unless that’s what they want? But they didn’t want to, and they wanted me to be “more Cambodian and hang out with them” and even when I did I was never “Cambodian enough.”

I don’t know, going to temple every other day and helping with Cambodian events? I don’t need to prove anything to anyone and I’m more than satisfied with my Cambodian-ness.

But what is this really about? Racist Rich White People? Horrible High School Memories? The Elite? The poor?

What bothered me more—greater than the racism, the abuse and the poverty that is dealt towards me and sexism against my gender, what bothers me the most is I had and still have a hard time sympathizing with Davita Cuttita‘s plight back then. I just CAN’T. Mostly because what I have to compare it to is my own openly malicious treatment by the Cambodian Community. My White friends—although sometimes privileged and blind toward the racial abuse that their other friends hurt me by—have not evil intents towards me or Davita Cuttita.

I cannot say that for MY OWN community, whom I have been shunned from again and again.

Davita Cuttita has seen me go to Cambodian Events where people openly criticize me and judge me on my appearance, no matter where I go I do not belong. I am almost like the eternal immigrant. Because I was born in Canada and had not tasted war, people in my community look down and sometime abused and heckled me so that I am “no longer spoiled by Canadian life.” It’s been happening since I was a little girl, I have always been the scapegoat for the other girls my age. Then would often tell my parents that I was lying and I loved to lie and my parents would beat me for it because they didn’t want “a lying daughter.”

And after that they would still bring me to Cambodia Events.

In fact I used to lock myself in the car and lie down and pretend I wasn’t there for years. (Which got me in trouble of course.) I used to shake from nervousness and become mute from fear that someone was going to hit or push me, and sometimes that fear was true. Perhaps the reason I can now, is that I am with Davita Cuttita by my side, my catatonia has lessened and I can smile. But I won’t walk around by myself for long periods of time. I still have a lot of (undeserved) enemies in the Cambodian Community who are not afraid to kick me in the leg so that I can fall, and you know—that’s just what I need, to be injured and have a group of people lie and say that I fell by myself.

You know Davita Cuttita enjoys Cambodian Events more than I do and I go and invite her, mostly because she makes me see Cambodian Events in a different light. She actually makes them bearable, if she didn’t come, I wouldn’t go. I actually only go to two major events a year.

Not because I want to, but because they are mandatory.

It’s not that I am ashamed of being Cambodian, I’m too frightened to make the sacrifices so that such a cruel community might force me to make in order to be accepted.

[I took this part out because Davita pointed out that wearing Black between her race and mine would obviously have different connotations. Not in fact that these events happened five years ago during High School, but still I know when to apologize and make amends when I do something wrong. So yeah, I’m not perfectly racially harmonious. Still working on it. Reversing racist thought takes time people and it takes commitment. I don’t do everything 100%, I still slip up time and time again being human. But, I’m working on it.]

But I like me. And that’s good enough and if I’m surrounded by people who like me for who I am and I don’t have to pretend or be afraid of repercussions of what I say or do, I can almost forget that I’m not Cambodian enough, or White enough, or Rich enough.

Although I have a lot of complaints about my “Rich, White Friends” who’s kindness and hospitality has become masked by that title, I am myself when I am with them. They were the ones who accepted me for me and didn’t try to force to be anyone else (unless I had to study) or I was being a literal jerk.

We’re still ridiculously good friends and have stuck together for a ridiculously long time.

When we are together, I sometimes forget that I’m Cambodian because I’m too busy being myself and living it up with people who like me—but it doesn’t escape my mind. But it doesn’t control me. I am (or was) the ONLY regular Asian/Cambodian in our circle of friends for a long time. I won’t let being Cambodian hold me back from being friends with anyone, White, Black, Muslim, Fat, Disabled.

It’s good to have good friends, no matter who they are.

I don’t care, or should I?




~ by l on May 6, 2008.

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