Public Service Announcement

Dear South America:

It would be really great if you could stop guessing where I’m from. I know that there must be lots of Japanese and Korean travelers down here, but I’m not one of them. I’m actually from the United States, born and bred. I know, it’s totally crazy, but believe me when I say there’s quite a lot of us Asian-Americans, actually. So please stop making me wait for you to correctly guess what really should be a no-brainer–I mean, Chinese people outnumber all other Asians by quite a lot. Just ask. I’ll tell you exactly what you want to know.

And I know it’s also hard to believe, but yes, my name really is Sheena. My parents did not, in fact, name me that because my heritage is Chinese. I know you don’t pronounce the “sh” sound in Spanish and it sounds like “China” to you. It’s really just a coincidence that my name sounds exactly like what you would call a Chinese person. A very unfortunate coincidence, in my opinion.

You see, long ago, when I was just a gleam in my mother’s eye, she really loved a Scottish singer named Sheena Easton. You might even have heard one of her songs, “Morning Train”. It was quite popular back in the day. So the name is Scottish. Not some strange nickname I’ve given myself because of my ethnicity.

There’s just one more favor I’d like to ask: Would it be possible for you to stop staring at me? I know I must look different from the norm, but it really makes me very uncomfortable. I mean, I don’t stare at you and make whispered comments about your race, do I? No, I don’t, because that’s rude. It’s been nine months and you’d think I’d have gotten used to it by now, but honestly, it seems to annoy me even more than ever these days.

Thanks for listening, and I hope to move forward from now on in a manner that will make everyone happy. If you can just help me out with these three little things, then I think it’s quite possible!

So here’s to the next three months where I tell everybody my name is Gina and that I’m Chinese-American before they can even think to ask!


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