Where are you from?

By Tracey Tuala, June 22, 2020

Read time: 1 Min

Where are you from? Image

Where are you from?

It implies that I don’t belong. I’ve been asked this pretty much every day of my adult life. I hardly recognised it when I was younger but as I got older and entered into adulthood, navigating new relationships, friendships and independence, I noticed more and more a common curiosity shared amongst the general public “Where are you from? No but where are you from from?”

I don’t understand why it’s important to know my ethnicity. What does it change about the conversation? Better yet how does it improve the conversation? There’s so much entitlement that comes with asking this question and selfish of the person questioning. 

Most times my nationality is assumed to which on some occasions I respond with “sure”. Now queue personal experience with my assumed ethnicity.

My parents are Samoan. I was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia when I was 10. I am a product of immigrant parents. 

You can be of immigrant parents and be Australian. I think as a society we need to learn to better embrace the unique combination of people. Being of another heritage hasn’t limited my access to conversing but broadens it from being able to speak from various perspectives. 

You can be Australian and be proud of your ethnic heritage that comes from another place.

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