Saturday, June 20, 2020

"Where are you from?"

When my brother's family lived in Australia, my sister-in-law said she could pass as Australian until she opened her mouth. During my 25 years in Switzerland, nobody has asked me where I'm from before they've heard me speak. So pleasantries have already been exchanged; people have learned my name; they've noticed I don't speak Swiss German. Thus, since I can "pass" as Swiss until I open my mouth, the question "Where are you from?" still has something personal which is often lacking when Swiss citizens and residents with more melanin are asked the same question. Even before they say anything, then, their skin color makes it impossible for them to "pass". (Andrew Shields, #111words, 20 June)

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