Thursday, January 21, 2010

Identity Crisis

This is a story of how I got stripped of my identity today.

I went to Barnes & Noble, just to browse through some books; because I had some free time I wanted to spend it in a place where even if I'd be tempted to spend money, it would benefit me somehow.

Anyways I was looking through some recipe books. Bad idea, because I had skipped lunch to get some extra work done @ the office and those food photographs were getting to me. In fact, they haunt me still. *Drools*

There was a book there titled "Southeast Asian Cuisine"...orrrr something like that. So I thought, yay, I'll probably recognize these recipes. See, coming from Pakistan, I consider myself of Southeast Asian descent--being that Pakistan is located in south-east asia.
But every recipe I flipped through was "Yun Kun Pao" or "Shim Shun Shao"* or whatever, you get the point. So apparently Pakistan is not in South East Asia. So where is it?

I'm utterly confused.

You know when you fill out applications or surveys or such things that ask you to circle in your ethnicity. Well I always decline to answer, not because I'm super secretive about where I come from. In fact, I'd love to categorize myself (I like labels. Yum.).
I don't do it, because they never had South East Asian as an option to pick from. Writing just Asian would mean I'm from China or Japan or Korea, etc... I can't pick Middle Eastern, because, well, I'm not Middle Eastern. (Although some people would like to tell me otherwise. "You wear a head scarf. This means you're ARABIC"). Pacific Islander? I don't even know what that is, Alaskan?

Granted I am sort of bad at directions, maybe I've just been confusing myself all these years.

Sigh. Someone help me re-classify myself.

(I know I can easily google this, but it was a chance to post. CC will be happy.)


*Obviously I made these up, not intending to offend anyone who IS south-east asian and is thinking where is she coming up with these recipe names?? I just can't remember what exactly they were.


.:*aMbAr*:. said...

I fell you. Although they always have a label for me.. Latina/Hispanic. Then people harass me b/c I have a US Passport... smart!

Constructive Attitude said...

This parent at work was talking to me the other day about how they were adding "Negro" to the U.S. Census. And how a lot of people were getting heated up about it, and didnt think it belonged there. and blah blah blah.

Sometimes I'm tempted to put white. lol.

C said...

India and Pakistan are considered "South Asian" while Vietnam,Malaysia, Indonesia are considered "South East Asian".

Maureen@IslandRoar said...

In my ignorance, like many, I do think of Pakistan as the Middle East. I won't now.
I hate those questions, labeling who we are. Half the time, is there even really a reason. I don't even put my sex any more if it doesn't seem relevant. I'm quietly rebelling.

Soda and Candy said...

I think C is right, but my geography is not great either.

In case you were not kidding, Pacific Islander refers to people from, well, islands in the Pacific Ocean, for example Fiji, Tonga or Samoa.

I don't like being asked for my race in anything other than census questions, I am always suspicious of why they want to know.

Soda and Candy said...

Also I looooove food photography.

Melanie's Randomness said...

Well. I'm a bit stumped. I didn't realize that Pakistan is actually considered in "Asia". Is Russia in Asia technically???

I guess you'd really have to put Other because generally I think "Asian" people are expecting Japanses, chinese, etc people. Your not Middle Eastern so yeah I'd say do Other.

I one day asked my mom about stuff like this because I'm white but I'm also a quarter Dominican. Do I put Latin American or White cuz technically I'm a Latina too.

Stuff like this is why the world cannot be catergorized into those "Circle one" & only have 6 catergories.

ModestJustice said...

Well South Asians (or South-East Asians) in England are called Asian, while people who are usually thought of as Asian are called their respective countries (i.e Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese)

I still think you'd be called South-East Asian. Although really, choose for yourself what you want to be labeled, you shouldn't let others make the distinction for you :D

Simply me said...

I always thought we were South East Asian but we're not cuz I guess there's more to countries to the EAST of us. :) And I went to B&N today!

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JaLpArI - tHe MeRmAiD said...

India Pakistan fall under 'South Asia' as C told. And those Island countries near us form the South East.

but as far as 'Asian' is concerned, i seriously dont understand why should it refer to the Japs and Chinese? I am Indian and i always click on 'Asian' when given an option. India is in Asia, and if someone thinks otherwise, he should either revise his geography, or change the geography of the world. . . Whichever is easier. . . .

provoking invoking said...

yep, south-east asia and south asia (indian subcontinent) are two different things.. so you were wrong =P

also, it's not wrong to say afghanistan and pakistan are part of the middle-east.. they are considered so politically at least. particularly the western side of afghanistan and pakistan since they are so close in proximity and heritage to iran. Iran, turkey, pakistan, and afghanistan are not considered ARAB countries, but they can still be considered "near eastern". pakistan and afghanistan are unique geographically- at the crossroads of the middle east, south asia, central asia, and south-east asia! iran is both central/western asia and middle-east.