The Scene:Home Plus (Korean Wal-Mart). The Players: Megan and myself.
Megan tinkers with some water bottles and I dick around with some curious instrument for making kimchi that resembles both a bludgeon and a sexy toy. I’m about to comment on this when, Hark!, a voice –
The name by which we are both better known. I drop the offensive kitchen(?) item. We turn, but Megan is on the front lines; I’m concealed a few feet behind her.
Megan looks back at me with “Does this one belong to you?” written on her horror-stricken face. I step out from behind her shoulder. The hollering girl (5th or 6th grade, glasses, ponytail, skinny jeans and sweatshirt down to her knees – that is to say Every Korean Girl) sees now that there are two of us. She stops.
We stare at each other. The guilt kicks in and the mind races: Oh God, I can’t place this kid because I spend every day with 700 Asian children with glasses and ponytails and pink fluffy coats and Converse All-Stars and I know NONE of their names, what the hell is the matter with me? I should be able to distinguish them from one another….what kind of shitty teacher am I? What kind of shitty person? Do I not care about the individual? Do I succumb to some kind of white, colonialist douchebaggery wherein I blur all people of color into some blob of “other”? Do I then fear the “other” and hate it and degrade it? Oh my god I just referred to everyone that isn’t white as “it”. I’m so racist. I’m so goddamn racist. Is this as bad as being one of those people who wears Confederate Flag trucker hats? Not that that would necessarily make you racist, I guess, just a Mississippi enthusiast. Kind of. I mean, I think you know exactly what you’re doing when you paint that on your pick up or double wide. Oh god, that was kind of racist, wasn’t it? Racist against hill people. Is “hill people” racist? I think so. I’m racist against my own race. Can you do that? I just did. I am shit. I am total shit. Oh god, please tell me I’m not actually racist; this is an isolated incident; it’s not the way I actually am. I’ll take down all that questionable stuff from my racist fucking blog, I’ll take out my own eyes so I don’t even see people anymore let alone race, take my ears if I start defining people by their voices because you know some people are pretty unmistakably black when you hear them speak ohmygod I just thought that this is getting worse it’s snowballing jesus please don’t let me actually be racist it’s the worst thing I can think of because I’m a tolerant person I swear to jesus I’ll start going back to church I’ll volunteer at soup kitchens and shit if it will atone for this anything you want you know except like adopting a child from a third world country which has absolutely NOTHING to do with race I’m just not ready to be a mother even though I love everything equally! I DON”T SEE RAAAACCEE! christ almiiiightyyyy –
The girl looks at me. The girl looks at Megan. She looks back and forth between the two of us. She can’t tell us apart.
Because we whities all totally look alike.