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Poll

Jeph says he's drawing crowd scenes for a few weeks. Why do you think he has to?

Hannelore is on the space station for her dad's birthday party
- 5 (13.2%)
Another impromptu party in the centre of town (no beer sledding, alas)
- 1 (2.6%)
A busy day at Coffee of Doom
- 9 (23.7%)
Bubbles takes Faye to a robot night-club to show her how synthetics party
- 2 (5.3%)
Either Elliot or Clinton or both take Roko to a human night-club to show her how humans party
- 4 (10.5%)
There is a party at the apartment; lots of people show up
- 0 (0%)
The town fayre has come around and Faye wants Union Robotics to have a presence there
- 4 (10.5%)
Opening night at the LEGAL Ultimate Robot Fighting Championship
- 11 (28.9%)
Other (specify in comment)
- 2 (5.3%)

Total Members Voted: 38


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Author Topic: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)  (Read 8920 times)

SmilingCat

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #100 on: 07 Feb 2019, 16:34 »

Why would anyone arrange an internet hookup and not have a spare toothbrush on hand?

I would assume a courteous hookup would have an overnight bag with them with the essentials if it was understood what was to happen.

And at the same time the host would have their own essentials stocked up in the event that things were more impromptu or their hookup was less prepared.

For that matter, there's little reason not to have spare toothbrushes on hand in general.
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OldGoat

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #101 on: 07 Feb 2019, 16:36 »

Well in fairness face-mashing sounds pretty gross to me too, especially if it's someone that you don't even know off the internet. Grosser even than putting "other body parts" in your mouth, especially since those are actually stimulating. Not sure why you'd even engage in tonsil-jousting with someone you weren't emotionally connected to at all, but ehhhh.
Sounds like you're never fallen in lust.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #102 on: 07 Feb 2019, 16:37 »

I'm from a part of the US where the merry/marry/Mary merger isn't so much a thing, but I'd still say that that "marr[y]" sound is a lot closer to "mare" than to "mar."
« Last Edit: 07 Feb 2019, 16:54 by Near Lurker »
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Platypodes

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #103 on: 07 Feb 2019, 18:29 »

If Renee wants to enjoy the after-glow of a hot night, or if she wants to get it on again as soon as Patrickpeter takes care of his morning breath, it's not unreasonable for her to be a bit jealous and peeved if she finds that he's gone straight from waking up in her bed to ogling and flirting with her partially-clad friend.
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War Sparrow

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #104 on: 07 Feb 2019, 19:41 »

ETA: nrew comic! Sorry Tova.
I asked someone where they were from once. It was an accident, but I was still appropriately embarrassed and apologetic. (For context, he said he didn't like coffee. He had an accent I stereotype as from a coffee drinking nation, and I live in a coffee drinking nation. It was still hella rude. But I did learn about Lebanon and Muslim culture while working with him, so that was nice.)

That is to say; indeed, do not be Pogo here.
« Last Edit: 07 Feb 2019, 20:05 by War Sparrow »
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Tova

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #105 on: 07 Feb 2019, 19:54 »

Just to save others from my confusion:

1. Yes, the above post refers to a new comic.
2. Lawrence is a place.
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TV4Fun

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #106 on: 07 Feb 2019, 20:04 »

Okay, everyone take back everything bad they said about Renee after the last comic.
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shanejayell

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #107 on: 07 Feb 2019, 20:28 »

Well. BYE BYE, dude...

Wombt

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #108 on: 07 Feb 2019, 20:31 »

This reminds me of an interaction that happened once when I was walking down the beach with a couple of my friends. We were 17 and 18 at the time, and the guy who came up to us was a middle aged man. "Hey, we were just talking, and we were wondering what your... you know, nationality is?" he said, gesturing back to a group sitting on the beach who had apparently elected him as their spokesperson.
"I'm American," my friend told him-- not in a Brun way, in that I'm pretty sure she understood immediately what was being asked, but dude asked for her nationality.
"No, but what's your-- you know," said this dude who was way too invested in this topic and could not accept the answer he'd been given.
"My ethnicity?"
"Yeah, that."
"I'm Chinese," she told him.
"Oh, because we were talking, and we thought you might be Korean." We had passed this group going one way on the beach and were now walking back, and apparently my friends had been a subject of discussion for them. Swell.
"Okay, bye then," I said as I suddenly remembered I could speak and that I should do so when people were being Like This. As we walked away, I said to my friend, "That was a super weird thing for a stranger to do" and she said, "Wait, that was a stranger?!" We were on vacation with my parents and some of their friends, and apparently my friend thought the guy had some connection to the group, which is why she put up with it as much as she did. We spent time throughout the trip coming up with alternative responses to make more of a joke, but it was majorly ick.

TL;DR: Don't be like this dude (in the comic or above story).
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Mad Cat

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #109 on: 07 Feb 2019, 20:40 »

I don't like wearing "leg prisons" while at home either. I'm feeling more kinship with Brun every time she appears in strip.
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Gyrre

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #110 on: 07 Feb 2019, 20:52 »

"Not gonna make space in my head to remember that..."  :laugh:   I do like Brun...

[SNIP]
As bad as it sounds, that's pretty much my approach to new temps. I'll bother learning their name after a month or if they're a chronic problem causer.
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Gyrre

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #111 on: 07 Feb 2019, 20:58 »

???

But the first syllable of Marigold IS Marr... not Mare.

Eh?  So in your neck of the woods they call the flowers "marr-i-golds," not "mare-i-golds?"  Perhaps this is still another example of USAians and Brits being two peoples separated by a common language, but the latter is how it comes out on this side of the pond where the story is set.

The given name Mary is sometimes reduced by dropping the final Y so it comes out sounding like "Mare" (a she-horse).  It doesn't shift to "Marr."  It may sound different closer to the Prime Meridian.

I'm STUNNED at this...
(No, seriously...)  I can't say I've ever heard any of my USer-type friends say the name Marigold, but your description above seems so un-natural to me to be almost unbelievable!
BUT I will also say I've never heard them say Mary in the way you describe either... an that's my mum's name, so that I have heard!

You guys need to choose an accent!  :)
(Says the Scot!)
Let's see, a large influx of pre-Queens English Brits, Dutch, Germans, Irish, assorted Hispanic and Latino groups, plus a fair amount of Native American and French. Not to mention the assorted African languages that came here through disreputable means.
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brasca

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #112 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:05 »

Okay, everyone take back everything bad they said about Renee after the last comic.

Well she did hookup with him and considering that she didn't even bother to remember his name and has various boundary issues she's only marginally better. 
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Castlerook

Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #113 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:18 »

Kind of a pot calling the kettle black situation here.

I mean, they both call him an internet hookup, can't be bothered to remember his name. Yes, he's a smarmy, odious worm in the shape of a man, especially in today's comic, but Renee can't exactly claim the moral high ground here. Maybe the "moral little bump in the floor caused by the loose carpet".
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badbum61

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #114 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:38 »

Lebanese? With a name like Brunhilde? Wouldn't have picked that!

Guess it explains the eyebrows, though...
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comicalArchitect

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #115 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:44 »

Welp, looks like we won't see Patrick Paul Skinny Angus Pablo again anytime soon. Rest ye well, dude we knew for two pages whose only character trait was being racially insensitive.
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TV4Fun

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #116 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:55 »

Weird, I would've expected Polonius to have his own character page by now.
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OldGoat

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #117 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:58 »

Okay, everyone take back everything bad they said about Renee after the last comic.
Nope.  It's all still true.  And she hooks up with jerks, too boot.

But, we do know a little more about Brun now.
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Milayna

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #118 on: 07 Feb 2019, 21:59 »

Eh. It seemed to me like it was understood from the get-go that this was a VERY temporary relationship for the sole purpose of fun for one night. Maaaaaybe not bothering to remember names is a bit too callous, but I can understand mutually not bothering with personal manners while still expecting the minimum of public propriety like, you know, not being racist.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #119 on: 07 Feb 2019, 22:29 »

"Not gonna make space in my head to remember that..."  :laugh:   I do like Brun...

[SNIP]
As bad as it sounds, that's pretty much my approach to new temps. I'll bother learning their name after a month or if they're a chronic problem causer.

When I was in charge of a unit at a school/home for the mentally handicapped, the turnover was so bad that In would straight up tell new workers that their name was "hey you" until they'd been there a month.
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brasca

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #120 on: 07 Feb 2019, 22:41 »

Okay, everyone take back everything bad they said about Renee after the last comic.
Nope.  It's all still true.  And she hooks up with jerks, too boot.

But, we do know a little more about Brun now.

Yes, so the jackass served a purpose.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #121 on: 07 Feb 2019, 23:15 »

Just to save others from my confusion:

1. Yes, the above post refers to a new comic.
2. Lawrence is a place.
Yes, but which one?
I'm guessing Lawrence, Massachusetts and not Lawrence, Kansas based on location. But, it'd be interesting if she were a Kansan.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #122 on: 07 Feb 2019, 23:18 »

Lawrence?  Now I'm picturing her with a thick accent...
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Milayna

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #123 on: 07 Feb 2019, 23:21 »

Well in fairness face-mashing sounds pretty gross to me too, especially if it's someone that you don't even know off the internet. Grosser even than putting "other body parts" in your mouth, especially since those are actually stimulating. Not sure why you'd even engage in tonsil-jousting with someone you weren't emotionally connected to at all, but ehhhh.
Sounds like you're never fallen in lust.
I'm not ace, but I'm careful to contain my impulses, so I suppose I'm out of my depth here. Guess I should bow out of this part of the conversation and leave it to the people who know what they're talking about ;)
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BenRG

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #124 on: 07 Feb 2019, 23:26 »

This is one of the strips that makes me love Brun a little more. She really has the most healthy attitude about ethnicity. She's not Lebanese-American, she's Brun from Lawrence whose family, when she thinks about it, are Lebanese (FWIW, I wouldn't be surprised if they came to the US as refugees in the 1980s when Lebanon was a lawless war-zone). Everything about her ethnic background is just set-dressing for her because who she is as a person defines her.

Y'know... Is Peter is a xenophile, which I've heard defined as someone particularly attracted to those very obviously of other ethnicities? It might explain stuff. It would also explain the 'exotic' comment.

That said, yeah, he's an ass and he's really disrespecting Renee by so obviously flirting with Brun right in front of the woman with whom he's just had sex. I mean, the stretch he makes in panel 2 is so obviously an attempt to impress Brun it's actually a little sad. The lesson? Renee probably needs to stop with the random hook-ups, even if their on-line profile seems legit.
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Tova

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #125 on: 07 Feb 2019, 23:39 »

Am I really seeing forumites getting judgemental over casual sex now?

Now I’ve seen everything.
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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #126 on: 07 Feb 2019, 23:39 »

OK, question from a confused non-american:

Leaving aside Pierre's obvious continued flirting with Brun, which was pretty douchey, why was it an issue that he asked Brun where she was ethnically from?

 From this forum topic it sounds like it's a bit of a taboo to do so in the states, if i'm reading this correctly. In earnestness i ask: why? It's a country with firm melting-pot status with many many people tracing their lineage to immigrant forebears in living memory, or relatively few generations. You'd think it'd be a more common topic of discussion, of people getting to know eachother.

What am i missing?
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Gore17

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #127 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:09 »

OK, question from a confused non-american:

Leaving aside Pierre's obvious continued flirting with Brun, which was pretty douchey, why was it an issue that he asked Brun where she was ethnically from?

 From this forum topic it sounds like it's a bit of a taboo to do so in the states, if i'm reading this correctly. In earnestness i ask: why? It's a country with firm melting-pot status with many many people tracing their lineage to immigrant forebears in living memory, or relatively few generations. You'd think it'd be a more common topic of discussion, of people getting to know eachother.

What am i missing?
Not an American, but taking a guess from what I can infer: America has a history of racism.  Such comments can imply that they do not view those of a different ethnicity as "True" Americanstm.  There's also likely a privacy violation component, with your family history being your business, not others, and so inquiring is like inquiring into a persons sex life, something not to be done outside specific circumstances.  Asking is therefore inappropriate, and likely indicates a racist motivation.
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BenRG

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #128 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:11 »

Leaving aside Pierre's obvious continued flirting with Brun, which was pretty douchey, why was it an issue that he asked Brun where she was ethnically from?

Basically, Brun's ethnicity shouldn't matter. He's defining her by her racial background and, at the very least, that is a bit dehumanising.
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Mr. Doctor

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #129 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:14 »

I believe it’s Mostly an american thing although it depends who is getting the question tbh. Im an immigrant in Sweden. i’ve been living here half my life now and even though I’m fluent in swedish Istill can not fully hide my accent plus my name ain’t exactly Sven haha. So naturally people ask me where I come from. I don’t have a problem with that as long as there are a other couple of questions about me BEFORE. It’s All about context.

That being said, I still find interesting that for a country that has such a melting pot and also provides so many ”find your genetic history” service... that it is such a taboo question still.

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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #130 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:20 »

Basically, Brun's ethnicity shouldn't matter. He's defining her by her racial background and, at the very least, that is a bit dehumanising.

I get where you're coming from, but that makes quite a few assumptions about the asker's motivations. Sure Paco here is just interested because he thinks her perceived exoticness is sexy (which is blargh of him), but what about someone who asks out of simple curiosity, or just honest desire to know more about the other person?

Is it fair to suspect racism, dismissal, or even such strong a word as dehumanization, just from that kind of question?
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Milayna

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #131 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:25 »

OK, question from a confused non-american:

Leaving aside Pierre's obvious continued flirting with Brun, which was pretty douchey, why was it an issue that he asked Brun where she was ethnically from?

 From this forum topic it sounds like it's a bit of a taboo to do so in the states, if i'm reading this correctly. In earnestness i ask: why? It's a country with firm melting-pot status with many many people tracing their lineage to immigrant forebears in living memory, or relatively few generations. You'd think it'd be a more common topic of discussion, of people getting to know eachother.

What am i missing?
Not an American, but taking a guess from what I can infer: America has a history of racism.  Such comments can imply that they do not view those of a different ethnicity as "True" Americanstm.  There's also likely a privacy violation component, with your family history being your business, not others, and so inquiring is like inquiring into a persons sex life, something not to be done outside specific circumstances.  Asking is therefore inappropriate, and likely indicates a racist motivation.
Pretty much this. White American douchebros view this country as "their house" (a phrase that's part of our political language) and "everyone else" as guests to be entertained or evicted at pleasure. Asking the ethnicity of people you aren't friends with or who have otherwise signaled they're comfortable talking about it is an "othering" act. And especially in THIS context, he's reducing Brun to a slab of meat with a brand on it. So, pretty forwardly racist.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #132 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:50 »

Basically, Brun's ethnicity shouldn't matter. He's defining her by her racial background and, at the very least, that is a bit dehumanising.

I get where you're coming from, but that makes quite a few assumptions about the asker's motivations. Sure Paco here is just interested because he thinks her perceived exoticness is sexy (which is blargh of him), but what about someone who asks out of simple curiosity, or just honest desire to know more about the other person?

Is it fair to suspect racism, dismissal, or even such strong a word as dehumanization, just from that kind of question?

Yes. Are you a person of colour? Or if you're white, have you been to a country for a prolonged period where you are a minority?

Racism is sewn into the fabric of society, and that question is an enormous warning bell because of how often it develops into something else, but also because of 'other'-ing. 'Hey, you are different from the norm! So what are you?' is what is being asked.

And the rest of conversation indicates pretty well that Renée's response was on the money.

On a related note, I would like to join with some personal disappointment in people's judgement of the casual sex also.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #133 on: 08 Feb 2019, 00:51 »

Just to save others from my confusion:

1. Yes, the above post refers to a new comic.
2. Lawrence is a place.
Yes, but which one?
I'm guessing Lawrence, Massachusetts and not Lawrence, Kansas based on location. But, it'd be interesting if she were a Kansan.

My thought as well. Lawrence, KS is a big college town, so I guess a transplant from there would fit right in.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #134 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:00 »

I feel like Renee got offended a panel too early. Papalymo overstepped his bounds after that for sure, but just asking where someone is from as casually as that seems a little early to get combative without any context.

He's still a massive dick, I just don't get why Renee was already exclaiming with boldface emphasis type before he actually showed his hand.
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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #135 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:02 »

Basically, Brun's ethnicity shouldn't matter. He's defining her by her racial background and, at the very least, that is a bit dehumanising.

I get where you're coming from, but that makes quite a few assumptions about the asker's motivations. Sure Paco here is just interested because he thinks her perceived exoticness is sexy (which is blargh of him), but what about someone who asks out of simple curiosity, or just honest desire to know more about the other person?

Is it fair to suspect racism, dismissal, or even such strong a word as dehumanization, just from that kind of question?

Not an American and I'm pretty much as white as they get. So offering an outside perspective - you'll do well to listen to people who have actual experience with race-related issues. I'm both talking about this in theoretical terms, AND might get things wrong or miss something.

That being said:

You're making two awfully big assumptions here, even if you're not stating them explicitly. Both are, in my view, wrong.

The first is that your intent makes things OK that would not otherwise be OK. Specifically, that if you don't mean something as racist, then it isn't racist. This can be true, but doesn't have to.

Note that the question about ethnicity is almost always phrased as "where are you from?" or similar. It's about ethnicity, but it's about ethnicity in a very specific way. It assumes that someone not looking a certain way is not the default, and therefore worthy of scrutiny. In other words, non-white people are strange enough to warrant questions if your intent is benign.

This has implications, and pretty racist ones. American culture is theoretically built on individualism and, in modern times, equality. Trying to pinpoint someone on the world map implies that they're not actually American (note: you ask specifically because you want to know where they're "from". You're immediately jumping to a conclusion that even if they were born in the USA, they're not "really" from here. That their ethnicity means they're also from somewhere else). White people don't usually get asked that. From what I hear, that almost never happens. This is inherently racist. Non-Hispanic white people in the US are at 63% and the percentage is decreasing. But it's assumed a white person is not from Germany, France or Russia. The default assumption is that they're "from here".

It's also a matter of connotations with the question. Racism exists in America and shaped its history, and when you say something, you share whatever baggage the words you uttered have. You don't get to claim ignorance. Asking a loaded question just because you're innocent in intent doesn't make the question any less troubling. Today's comic actually illustrates this pretty well, by Brun being clueless about the implications of the question. See, nobody's blaming Brun. But we know from the comic that she often asks extremely improper questions. She can be excused to an extent and it's often played for comedy, but it's generally understood some of the things she says are generally considered rude. That's WHY she stands out and her questions register as unusual and/or funny. They're things to say that are improper, usually.

Which brings me to the second way I think you're missing something important. Such a question would be inappropriate even in the ideal fantasy world where racism doesn't exist. It's a question that comes out of nowhere. You say it may be asked just to "learn as much as possible about a person".

Except, no it isn't. You see the way someone looks that you don't even know, and you ask them about their looks. This is inappropriate for the exact same reason you don't ask an obese person "so, why are you so fat? Is this a health thing or...?". It's invasive, and inherently judgmental. Like the person has to explain their health history (and with race, genetic history) to you? It's not a casual, get-to-know-you-better question. You don't ask strangers such questions, because it's rude even if SOMEHOW racism is not a potential factor (and it always is, see above). You're immediately making the judgment that you need to know this physical thing about a person, and that's a good conversation starter? Why, exactly?

See, theoretically asking a person about their ethnicity might be acceptable. Either because you need to know that for a legitimate reason, or you know the person well and you're asking about their family history because you're genuinely curious. But if you're not close friends with someone, in USA culture you generally don't pry into their private life. You don't necessarily ask about their childhood, or parents, or other such things. Asking about ethnicity is like asking about family history, and nobody does that casually to a stranger. And also, it raises the question about why you thought this was the first question to ask.

So to sum up, when you ask about ethnicity:
1) you're exoticising a person and treating them like a curious animal, not a person.
2) You're unaware or you decide to ignore the history of racism in the US, which is there whether you claim innocence or not.
3) You ask a very personal question that is just not that appropriate irrespective of racial baggage.
4) You focus on someone's looks and you pry into something that you honestly have no business being interested about if the two of you aren't very close.
5) You, consciously or not, paint being white as a default that someone not fitting has to somehow explain or have stories about or elaborate on. Something that doens't happen to white people usually.
6) If you frame the question as "where are you from?", the unspoken question is really "you're not white, so there's a high chance you're not American even if you were born here. It's different and requires more scrutiny and reframing even if nothing about you otherwise indicates that's actually true".
7) If you're immediately curious about someone's ethnicity and you're not, like, an anthropologist or geneticist (who still shouldn't ask overly personal questions), it's debatable if it's actual curiosity. Why would you ask THIS specific question of a person? You're implying it's OK for you to pry just because you're "curious".

And note - all I've written is just the tip of an iceberg. Anything ethnicity related has connotations and hidden meaning and entanglements that reach back hundreds of years even if you're being conservative. By necessity, I can't explain the history of race relations and colonialism in one post, even if I knew it all ;)
« Last Edit: 08 Feb 2019, 01:09 by oddtail »
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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #136 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:05 »

Or if you're white, have you been to a country for a prolonged period where you are a minority?

I have. I've spent a year in the Netherlands as an exchange student, hailing from an eastern european country that the dutch have some pretty.... strong views on.

I was talked down to, talked about behind my back by people who assumed i did not speak the language, scammed twice by bus drivers (long story), and had a few other "pleasant" conversations that i care not to recall in any detail.

And yes, i've even had the conversation where i was asked where i was from, and my answer prompted an "oh..." whose meaning was quite apparent. But here's the rub, you could always tell those people. Their general attitude towards you, their manner of speech, and other bits of context betrayed exactly why they were asking the question. In other circumstances, where i got the same from earnest, friendly people, i never got upset or suspected them of xenophobia, as the way in which they asked was completely different. You can usually tell people who want to make friends from twats who want to label and "other" you.

This is why i doubt the question alone qualifies as racism, context matters a lot.


Edit: holy wall of text, Batman.

In reply to oddtail, yes i get that we're talking about a minefield of racially exclusionary and xenophobic history that stretches its ugly tendrils into today. I understand that this really complicates matters. But in addition to my above remark about context, i'd add two things.

One, everything you said applies more the less you know about a person and hurry to learn their provenance, that shows you care little about the person, and more about how to better label them.
Two, i'd like to question the a priori assumption in the sentence where you said i assumed "intent makes things OK that would not otherwise be OK." I'm saying rather that whether something is ok or not has to do a great deal with intent, and also in the way you make that intent known. I.E. asking such personal questions in appropriate settings, not breaking certain boundaries to do it, etc. I.E. Not the way Pedro did it. It was clear he didn't care one whit about the person he was asking about.
« Last Edit: 08 Feb 2019, 01:15 by soulofthereaver »
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oddtail

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #137 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:10 »

This is why i doubt the question alone qualifies as racism, context matters a lot.

But that's the thing. The speaker doesn't get to claim a certain context. The questions you ask and the things you say have cultural context you might not intend. Questions about race in America have certain connotations whether you (claim to) know it or not. See my post above.
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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #138 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:19 »

This is why i doubt the question alone qualifies as racism, context matters a lot.

But that's the thing. The speaker doesn't get to claim a certain context. The questions you ask and the things you say have cultural context you might not intend. Questions about race in America have certain connotations whether you (claim to) know it or not. See my post above.

Yes i saw your post above only after i posted my own, and i edited mine accordingly. As stated in the edit, i think you can make your intent clear from the time place and manner in which you make your inquiries; it following that there are ways in which it's proper to ask about ethnicity, if you mind common courtesy, basic empathy, and your relationship to the person you're conversing with.
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oddtail

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #139 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:21 »

it following that there are ways in which it's proper to ask about ethnicity, if you mind common courtesy, basic empathy, and your relationship to the person you're conversing with.

Yes. "I barely know you, but I'm curious" is arguably not among those ways. Which is the case in the comic, the dude's casually sexual exoticising notwithstanding.
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neurocase

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #140 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:22 »

Questions about race in America have certain connotations whether you (claim to) know it or not. See my post above.

As a non-American, this is utterly bizarre to me. Where I'm from, the question "where are you from?" is most oft answered with an eagerness to impart ethnic/cultural background. I guess culture-sharing isn't really a thing in the states.
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oddtail

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #141 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:29 »

Questions about race in America have certain connotations whether you (claim to) know it or not. See my post above.

As a non-American, this is utterly bizarre to me. Where I'm from, the question "where are you from?" is most oft answered with an eagerness to impart ethnic/cultural background. I guess culture-sharing isn't really a thing in the states.

Yeah, well, cultural context obviously matters. In Poland, many people will argue the question is innocent enough, mostly because there's no history of slavery (at least, not race-based slavery) and because Poland was never a colonial power.

I personally disagree, if someone asked the question, I'd think it imparts the message of "we're an extremely ethnically uniform society, and now I'm LOUDLY DRAWING ATTENTION TO YOUR STANDING OUT". We, as a nation, are already the uncultured rubes of Europe, questions like this help none.

(and while we don't have a national history of slavery, we have a "proud" history of xenophobia and antisemitism, so we just have utterly DIFFERENT baggage there)

I wouldn't say "culture-sharing is not a thing" in the US, as you phrase it. For one thing, a question asked like this puts the burden of sharing on the non-white person (usually). It's intrusive that way, and I can only imagine that's part of the problem. Secondly, from what I understand, American culture deemphasises cultural differences on a personal level. You're invited to bring whatever you want to the table and shape the gestalt American culture. You're not supposed to be singled out because of it. And questions about ethnicity are a common tactic of "othering" a person, which can't be easily ignored.
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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #142 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:29 »

it following that there are ways in which it's proper to ask about ethnicity, if you mind common courtesy, basic empathy, and your relationship to the person you're conversing with.

Yes. "I barely know you, but I'm curious" is arguably not among those ways. Which is the case in the comic, the dude's casually sexual exoticising notwithstanding.

I can agree with that. Though if i do get someone who does that, i'd at worst assume they don't know how to deal with boundaries very well. I don't jump to racism as an explanation unless i get other signs of it as well.

Questions about race in America have certain connotations whether you (claim to) know it or not. See my post above.

As a non-American, this is utterly bizarre to me. Where I'm from, the question "where are you from?" is most oft answered with an eagerness to impart ethnic/cultural background. I guess culture-sharing isn't really a thing in the states.


This. It must be horrible to live in a society where you have reason to suspect any stranger of ill-will and discrimination based on what you look like or where you're from, and to have to treat any implication they might make with suspicion.
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Milayna

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #143 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:31 »

Questions about race in America have certain connotations whether you (claim to) know it or not. See my post above.

As a non-American, this is utterly bizarre to me. Where I'm from, the question "where are you from?" is most oft answered with an eagerness to impart ethnic/cultural background. I guess culture-sharing isn't really a thing in the states.
Not when there's a good chance that an unsatisfactory response will prompt ICE to show up in body armor, throw your kids in prison, lose your identification, and drop you off on the other side of the world.

Or if not that, get you harassed like that lawyer in the supermarket did last year, or that smug schoolboy prick from kentucky a few weeks back.
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oddtail

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #144 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:34 »


(...) if i do get someone who does that, i'd at worst assume they don't know how to deal with boundaries very well. I don't jump to racism as an explanation unless i get other signs of it as well.

Unconscious racism is still racism, though. Racism is not (just) about intent. It's about power structures and power relations. A person blissfully unaware that what they said has troubling racist connotations is still being racist, even if they have the best of intentions.

I think it's harmful to frame racism in overly individualistic terms. Racism is not about this person hating black people or that person being prejudiced against people from East Asia. Racism is about systemic problems. A person not being aware of the problems is not proof racism is not at play. If anything, I'd argue such ignorance usually reinforces the idea that racism is doing well.

TL;DR - racism can exist in absence of conscious, malevolent intent. It usually is the case.
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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #145 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:50 »


(...) if i do get someone who does that, i'd at worst assume they don't know how to deal with boundaries very well. I don't jump to racism as an explanation unless i get other signs of it as well.

Unconscious racism is still racism, though. Racism is not (just) about intent. It's about power structures and power relations. A person blissfully unaware that what they said has troubling racist connotations is still being racist, even if they have the best of intentions.

I think it's harmful to frame racism in overly individualistic terms. Racism is not about this person hating black people or that person being prejudiced against people from East Asia. Racism is about systemic problems. A person not being aware of the problems is not proof racism is not at play. If anything, I'd argue such ignorance usually reinforces the idea that racism is doing well.

TL;DR - racism can exist in absence of conscious, malevolent intent. It usually is the case.

Yeah that's an entirely different can of worms that is a lot more disturbing. There's a double standard there from what i've seen. I've heard the argument that racism is not neccesarily intentional, but at the same time even this unintended racism is treated as if it was, with people "guilty" of ignorance or at most insensitivity treated the same way as those who practice willful hatred of the "other"; i.e. in practice the same level of malice is assumed, and they get rebuked just as harshly. I've even encountered cases where that hostility has bred true racism over time. It's a hot mess.
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oddtail

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #146 on: 08 Feb 2019, 01:59 »


(...) if i do get someone who does that, i'd at worst assume they don't know how to deal with boundaries very well. I don't jump to racism as an explanation unless i get other signs of it as well.

Unconscious racism is still racism, though. Racism is not (just) about intent. It's about power structures and power relations. A person blissfully unaware that what they said has troubling racist connotations is still being racist, even if they have the best of intentions.

I think it's harmful to frame racism in overly individualistic terms. Racism is not about this person hating black people or that person being prejudiced against people from East Asia. Racism is about systemic problems. A person not being aware of the problems is not proof racism is not at play. If anything, I'd argue such ignorance usually reinforces the idea that racism is doing well.

TL;DR - racism can exist in absence of conscious, malevolent intent. It usually is the case.

Yeah that's an entirely different can of worms that is a lot more disturbing. There's a double standard there from what i've seen. I've heard the argument that racism is not neccesarily intentional, but at the same time even this unintended racism is treated as if it was, with people "guilty" of ignorance or at most insensitivity treated the same way as those who practice willful hatred of the "other"; i.e. in practice the same level of malice is assumed, and they get rebuked just as harshly. I've even encountered cases where that hostility has bred true racism over time. It's a hot mess.

To use an analogy: if you step on my foot, I don't really care, in the moment, whether you meant to or not. I expect you to get off my foot and - ideally - apologise. Not to keep where you are and explain that you didn't mean to, and ask me why I'm so angry if that was an accident.

I think harsh reactions to benign racism are for the exact same reason. The person harmed is often expected to emphatise and educate and understand and stuff like that, and they have more pressing concerns. Their foot is currently hurting, metaphorically. And it has been stepped on dozens if not hundreds of times in the past.

Plus, plenty of actively racist people claim ignorance as a tactic to derail accusations aimed at them, so "he doesn't know any better" itself might be suspicious.

EDIT: also, what double standard? Could you elaborate?
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soulofthereaver

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #147 on: 08 Feb 2019, 02:04 »

To use an analogy: if you step on my foot, I don't really care, in the moment, whether you meant to or not. I expect you to get off my foot.

I think harsh reactions to benign racism are for the exact same reason. The person harmed is often expected to emphatise and educate and understand and stuff like that, and they have more pressing concerns. Their foot is currently hurting, metaphorically. And it has been stepped on dozens if not hundreds of times in the past.

Plus, plenty of actively racist people claim ignorance as a tactic to derail accusations aimed at them, so "he doesn't know any better" itself might be suspicious.

I understand where they're coming from, and i empathize with the reason, but i still don't think it's right. If someone steps on my foot in a crowd i'm not going to come swinging at them as if they intentionally hit me. And the more people who do lash out like that, the more aggression and distrust that breeds, and the harder it's gonna be to heal those wounds in the long term.
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oddtail

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #148 on: 08 Feb 2019, 02:06 »

To use an analogy: if you step on my foot, I don't really care, in the moment, whether you meant to or not. I expect you to get off my foot.

I think harsh reactions to benign racism are for the exact same reason. The person harmed is often expected to emphatise and educate and understand and stuff like that, and they have more pressing concerns. Their foot is currently hurting, metaphorically. And it has been stepped on dozens if not hundreds of times in the past.

Plus, plenty of actively racist people claim ignorance as a tactic to derail accusations aimed at them, so "he doesn't know any better" itself might be suspicious.

I understand where they're coming from, and i empathize with the reason, but i still don't think it's right. If someone steps on my foot in a crowd i'm not going to come swinging at them as if they intentionally hit me. And the more people who do lash out like that, the more aggression and distrust that breeds, and the harder it's gonna be to heal those wounds in the long term.

YMMV, but I've seen at least an order of magnitude more claims of non-white people overreacting to racism than, y'know, actual non-white people overreacting to racism. I think it's a bit of a strawman. I've seen plenty of perfectly justified reactions that were framed as "overreaction", too, so there's that as well.

Plus, again with the "stepping on foot" analogy - I tend to cut a lot of slack to a person in pain, who's probably infuriated at having to calmly and politely explain that their foot is not to be stepped upon. Again, and again and again. I have yet to see a person who doesn't lose their cool (at least a little) after the tenth time something bad happens to them, even if it's a minor annoyance.

And I've seen a LOT of people (not jus POC, but e.g. women or people from the LGBT community) who tell stories of always having to be nice and polite and detached from their annoyances and always, ALWAYS explaining stuff to incredulous people, throughout their entire lives. Because the slightest misstep immediately gets framed as them being "angry", "hostile", "irrational" and "overreacting". This narrative is so common that I can't possibly treat it as isolated situations. Seems to be the default to ANYone belonging to a disadvantaged, marginalised or minority group. If you react badly to racism or what-have-you, you're immediately (many people say) the ambassador of your entire race or gender or seual orientation.

So again, I'm not that keen to sympathise with the poor person who was being racist or sexist or whatever, had the best intentions, and now their precious feelings are hurt because someone yelled at them or even, gasp, snarked at them or weren't 100% polite all the time. And, once more, I've seen a LOT of situations like that.
« Last Edit: 08 Feb 2019, 02:13 by oddtail »
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jesslc

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Re: WCDT strips 3931-3935 (4th to 8th February 2019)
« Reply #149 on: 08 Feb 2019, 02:13 »

(I wrote this immediately after seeing today's comic, and have only briefly skimmed the existing discussion but Thank you Oddtail).

Thank you Jeph!

As a biracial person living in Australia, I really appreciate Jeph pointing out how annoying and gross this interaction is. I'm usually not much of a fan of Renee but in this comic I like that she starts to get irritated with Peter from the moment he asks Brun where she's from.

It feels very true to my lived experience - which is that in Australia the question "Where are you from?" is usually just a thinly disguised way of asking "Why is your skin that colour?"

(Warning: rant incoming)

Why do I believe that this is what's happening when people ask me where I'm from? Because SO many times when a person asks me the first question, they will not stop questioning me until they get an answer to the second question. If I answer the first question with the simple truth "I'm from Perth", then they want to know where my parents are from or what's my ethnicity or my nationality, etc. The only time the conversation doesn't go this way is if I shortcut the process by answering "Where are you from?" with something that also gives them the answer to their curiosity about my skin colour such as "I was born in here but my mum is from [country X] and my dad is from [country Y]"

If I don't give them the answer they want by saying something like "I'd rather not to talk about my ethnicity/background, let's talk about something else", the conversation typically ends up getting even awkward. Such as explicit comments on my skin tone, for example. It doesn't matter that it's a positive comments, it's still pointing out that they see me as different because of my skin colour. And/or they get annoyed that I won't satisfy their curiosity - like they think their curiosity is more important than my privacy.

I now dread the question "Where are you from?" - like Renee, I instantly regard it with suspicion. Is this going to be another one of the unpleasant conversations I have to keep having if I don't want to talk about my ethnicity with complete strangers? It's very rare that it's asked by someone who happily accepts me answering with an answer I feel comfortable giving (such as "I'm from Perth but both my parents are immigrants") and doesn’t push for details that will explain my skin tone. White people not only get asked "Where are you from?" much less frequently, they also get to answer "I'm from Perth" and have their answer be accepted without further digging.

So... to all people who ask this question, please stop picking the one thing that is visibly different about me to use for your choice of small talk. If you turn out to be someone I want to get to know more, the answer to your curiosity will probably naturally come up in conversation at some point as we share more about our lives as we get to know each other

And if you're not willing to wait until it comes up naturally, then you're not someone I want to know. Your curiosity does not trump my right to only share things I feel comfortable sharing. And this rant aside, my skin colour has much less relevancy to who I am as a person than anything else you could ask about - like my work, or how was my day/weekend, what I do for fun, things I enjoy, etc even with the topic of the weather - you'd likely learn how I don't notice the heat much but I feel the cold really badly (even in our very really quite mild winters).

I don't speak for all biracial or brown skinned people. I'm sure that there are some of them that don't mind this question. But I'm also sure I'm not the only brown person who is f***ing over it.

If you're going to go ahead and ask anyway, please do me (and other not-white people) the courtesy of recognising that born and bred Australians/Americans/Brits/etc can look like us. I don't actually mind people knowing I'm from Perth - it's the way that this question SO often leads to further probing about my ethnicity that makes me uncomfortable.

And please also confront your unconscious biases that people who look like me must be from somewhere else before you make it my problem. Thank you.

Okay rant over. And I didn't even touch on the grossness of him calling Brun exotic. Someone else will have to take that one on.

Oh, one more thing. If you haven't lived this experience, maybe go read this excellent 2016 article written by Megan Markle about this issue and the other ways that biracial and mixed race people are often told that we don't belong. Because it's constant and it's pervasive and I'm sick of it.
https://www.elle.com/uk/life-and-culture/news/a26855/more-than-an-other/
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