“Where are you from?” is such an innocent question. People come from all over the place to work and live in DC. It’s a way to break the ice. I’ve been living in the DC area for 10 years, and when I hear that question, it seems innocent.
Is it really an innocent question? Depending on which part of the country I am in, I am suspicious of the true intent of the question.
I had gone to a Southern university in the 1990s, at which the majority of the student population was white or black. Those “in between” stuck out. There was a small Indian student population, which was made up of mostly students who came over from India to study.
I was asked often, “Where are you from?”
I responded, “Connecticut.”
“No. Really, where are you from?”
“I meant your family…”
“India. But my family lives in Connecticut.”
“Oh. That’s so nice. When are you going back?”
“No. To India?”
Is it an easy way to categorize me? Put me in a nice neat little package and say, “Indian” and then dispel my American identity. I’m curious about your thoughts on the topic.
How do you respond when asked “Where are you from”?