The other night my roommates and I were talking and joking around…you know, busting on each other like we normally do, when Caroline says, “I’m only that way because I’m Asian.” Now, we joke about this all the time…Asians eat rice and can’t drive, Canadians like hockey fights and drink beer, etc…
It’s always been in a joking context which is all well and good, but, for some reason, it hit me last night: Why do we pigeonhole ourselves, and why do we think it’s okay? Even if it’s only in jest, if you continually play into a racial or ethnic stereotype it’s eventually going to take a toll on your self worth. If someone says something about what perceive as one of your “personality flaws” why is it okay to use your race as a scapegoat? Own up to your likes and dislikes…be yourself. Life is too short to sell yourself short.
If someone asks you why you eat kimchi with rice, don’t say “Oh it’s because I’m Korean”…no, say “because it tastes good.”
If someone asks you why you watch a lot of hockey with a few cans of Labatt, don’t say “Oh it’s because I’m Canadian”…no, say “because I enjoy it.”
If someone asks you why you are down in the dumps, don’t say “Oh it’s because I’m a girl and I’m PMSing”…no, say “Because that’s just how I feel today.”
So many people in this country have worked so hard for equal rights. Women can vote, homosexuals can marry in a handful of states, and we have our first African American President. Stop making excuses for being who you are. You don’t need to hide behind a stereotype–just be yourself. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past 20 years it’s that being yourself is the most fulfilling thing you can do with your time.
Own yourself. Be yourself. No apologies.