American Museum of Natural History: Titanosaur + RACISM

My sister C was in town for a week, and yesterday, we headed to the American Museum of Natural History to check out the Titanosaur (pretty cool, especially if you were able to get in for free—thanks, IDNYC!).

After I activated my IDNYC membership, I waited on the plebe line with C (who classily donated $10, which is about $9 more than I would donate). When we got to the front, she immediately launched into some friendly chitchat with the rep about the relative crowdedness (lots of people there on a Thursday morning), which the rep attributed to a lot of city schools being on spring break.

Takeaway: A full conversation with complex sentences had ensued between the two.

But after the rep handed my sister a ticket, she asked, “Where are you from?” (Oh, don’t I know where this is going…) Listen, if you are a POC in the U.S. anywhere in the world, you know to CRINGE whenever you hear this.

“California!” my sister chirps, her cheery tone masking the fear of the scene that she knew I would soon make.

“Would you like some Chinese-language brochures?” the rep asks.

I had been silent this entire time, and I just stared at her straight in the eyes and asked, “WHY on EARTH would you think that we would need CHINESE-LANGUAGE brochures when we didn’t REQUEST them, especially after my sister just had a FULL CONVERSATION with you in PERFECT ENGLISH and told you she was from CALIFORNIA?”

(C at this point is just standing with a smile plastered on her face, saying, “It’s okay…”)

The woman responds, “Well, you know, some people want them.”

Full of derision, condescension, and impatience, I asked, “WHY would we want these? We didn’t ASK for them. JESUS CHRIST,” and C literally has to put her hands on my person and lead me away as I’m giving this woman the nastiest look and before I could ask her whether she would think to offer us CHINESE-LANGUAGE brochures had she been blindfolded or whether she’d offer them to the white people (aka “some people”) on line.

Anyway, C asked me in a very kindergarten-teacher voice, “Would you like to stamp your feet?” and I nodded yes and stamped my feet for a while. Then I was ashamed at wasting my valuable energy on some dumb lady (who FWIW was Hispanic, which infuriated me even more because WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER AND I EXPECT MORE FROM YOU) that I had to repeat to myself, “I have a limited number of fucks in life to give, I have a limited number of fucks in life to give…”

The funny thing is that later that afternoon, I was Gchatting my friend about what had happened and C commented, “Wow, you’re typing very loudly and sound pretty angry! What are you writing about?” I was like, “The INJUSTICE earlier today!” and she asked in complete sincerity, “What injustice?”

I really ought to be able to let shit go like she does. Not worth it.

tl;dr = People are dumb. Including me.

RELATED ARTICLE:

“Why do my co-workers keep confusing me with other people? Because I’m Asian”

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