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chelle21689's avatar

Should I say I am Thai also?

Asked by chelle21689 (5128 points ) February 22nd, 2013

Random thought. My mom is from the Philippines and my father is from Thailand. Although he and his siblings was born and raised there, his parents (my grandparents) are from China.

They speak Thai, their culture is Thai, but I mean there are still some traces of Chinese culture such as celebrating the Chinese New Year and speaking Chinese to his mom. But other than that everyone on my dad’s side of the family is from Thailand.

I’m not really Thai by blood, but then again many many Thais are Chinese by blood and not really native.

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29 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think you describe yourself perfectly well, but if you want to add that go ahead.

wundayatta's avatar

Would Hitler have killed you for being Chinese? Or Thai?

I don’t know from Jewish. But it turns out my mother’s mother is Jewish, and according to the Jewish law of return and to the Nazi regime, that makes me Jewish, even though I know nothing about the religion or the culture.

Do you see the analogy?

There are two things here. How do you see yourself? How do other people see you?

You can’t do anything about how others see you. You can, however, learn about your own heritage, and take it on if you want to.

I like being Jewish (even though I’m not Jewish). Jews are smart troublemakers and that’s what I want to be. I have famous rabbis in my history. That’s kind of cool.

But I’ve only been to one Seder in my life, and I’ve never lit a Menorah or celebrated a sabbath on Friday night. I do like learning how to make latkes, though.

Shabbat Shalom!

Seek's avatar

All in all, we’re only a handful of DNA letters away from chimpanzees, so the “blood” difference between a two generations and few hundred miles of Asian jungle are hardly significant in the grand scheme of things.

I would say that you are what you “feel”, that is, whatever you feel the most culturally attached to.

I’m first-generation American by birth on my father’s side. He was born in Ireland. On my mother’s side, who knows. I know there’s some Irish, some Scottish, some German, some Norwegian.

I consider myself American of Irish descent.

JLeslie's avatar

You should say whatever you identify with. My husband says he is Mexican, but his paternal grandparents are Israeli and his maternal grandparents were Spanish and Frence. The only time his family’s nationality before MX comes up is when they ask him about his last name, and then he often just says it is Jewish. There is actually a much longer explanation he could launch into about his last name. But, if someone asks me about my last name (which is his last name) I launch into a longer explanation about how it is a middle eastern Jewish name and my husband’s grandparents were from Israel before they went to MX, blah, blah, blah. Because in a way I also think people should get a clue that people move around the world. Not just from other countries to America, but other countries to the AmericaS, and then again another move. Or, from one part of Asia to another and then North America or Europe.

Sooooo, just give as much information as you want. Whatever culture you identify with most is fine. My neighbor got upset his daughter said they are Hispanic. His wife is from Dom Rep and he is from Italy. He said it should go by the father’s nationality and they are italian, their last name is Italian. I told him better they identify Hispanic on forms so they are a minority class. He still was not happy.

What does your dad say? Does he say he is Thai or Chinese?

Pachy's avatar

Be what you feel.

zensky's avatar

To whom would you be explaining all this?

Jeruba's avatar

Where were you born?

marinelife's avatar

Why limit yourself to that single ethnicity? Why not tell your whole story?

ETpro's avatar

Child of today’s traveling world. My 100% Thai wife agonizes over how many ethnic Chinese now are in Thailand, owning property, businesses. But that’s her. Still, I’m sure she isn’t unique and that some undercurrent of racism runs there.

Jeruba's avatar

My college friend, who was Thai, said that her father would not accept her half-Chinese boyfriend because ethnic Thai are prejudiced against Chinese on the basis of race. What she said to me was that being Chinese in Thailand is like being black in America. I have no other information on this than what she said to me many years ago, but if there’s some truth in it, then the OP is talking about more than just a matter of definition and identification.

JLeslie's avatar

I am not on the same page, or maybe mindset is a better description as @Jeruba and @ETpro. I am thinking about this in terms of the OP being American and people sometimes ask where she is from, or wear her family is from because she looks Asian. Most Americans won’t know the Thai hate the Chinese. She will be just telling her family’s story. My dad was raised in Thailand, but his family is Chinese, etc. Plus, in America we don’t care (or shouldn’t) that a group is a disliked minority in another country, do we? My grandparents lived in Russia and Latvia during a time of great antisemitism, so? When people ask where my family is from I say Latvia and Russia. It doesn’t matter that their race/ethnic/religious group was disliked. What I mean is it doesn’t matter to anyone I would tell my background to in America.

Maybe I am wrong regarding how I was thinking about this.

Brian1946's avatar

Until you decide on your nationality, perhaps you could just identify with your residential continent.
In that case, perhaps you’re Asian, American, or other.

JLeslie's avatar

@Brian1946 She looks Asian. Anyone asking her where she is from is wondering where in Asia.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Why wouldn’t you be proud to be Thai?

Jeruba's avatar

@JLeslie, I think you must be drawing on information other than what’s in this thread. I don’t know what she looks like, and for all I know she is still in Thailand. I didn’t assume she’s American. And my comment has no “mindset” other than a reflection on the fact that there may be some loading in the question that isn’t apparent to us.

JLeslie's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe The OP never said she isn’t proud. I hope she comes back so she can give us more information.

The whole thing is very interesting actually. My neice was born in Dom Rep, and her mom told her flat out she doesn’t have to say she was born there, even said she can lie if she wants to. I think that is ridiculous. I have no idea if Dom Rep even considers her a citizen if she was born there, I don’t know their laws regarding that. they don’t identify with being Dominican at all, just having had lived there.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba You’re right. Since she is a regular I know some basics about her. She lives in America. I don’t know if she was born here, but I always assumed she is a citizen. She also has linked photos previously, so I know what she looks like.

zensky's avatar

Who else thinks it would be smashing if Miss @chelle21689 would respond to our many posts and update us as to how she really feels, maybe answering some of our queries whilst doing that?

chelle21689's avatar

My dad says he’s Thai when people ask but sometimes mentions Chinese at times if it comes up

chelle21689's avatar

Jeruba that’s odd because many many Thais are originally of Chinese decent or first generation. Honestly a lot of Thais are known to be snotty about their nationality. I know black is terrible in Thailand sadly.

chelle21689's avatar

And yeah I always get asked “what are you?” Or “where are you from? No no I mean what are you??” I was born and raise here in the usa. When they ask me this sometimes I feel like I should tell them Thai but then I feel like I’m lying or leaving out Chinese lol.

But some people answer for me and says she’s Thai and Filipino just because I guess but then my bf jokes and says I am really half Chinese.

I guess it’s similar to my sisters friend who is Vietnamese by blood but culturally is Laotian

ETpro's avatar

We Americans are in a poor position to throw stones. I’m part English and part Scotch that I know of. Even those that call themselves Native Americans are immigrants that came here a bit before the rest of us immigrants.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro Who is throwing stones?

ETpro's avatar

@JLeslie I was reacting to what @chelle21689 said about people asking her, “What are you?” Or “Where are you from?”. It’s not like any of us are truly indigenous peoples.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro She didn’t imply anyone is being mean or prejudiced. It is very common for people to ask where someone is from in many parts of the US, especially very diverse areas. I would probably ask her. I would ask out of curiousity. Then she could ask me the same question. No big deal.

Response moderated (Spam)
zensky's avatar

@JLeslie Dear, @ETpro meant, I think, that What are you? implies a thing, not even a person. That is why he reacted so strongly, correctly. It is a sad reflection on society and humankind when we have to ask someone What are they? or even Who are they? simply because of their skin tone. But I understand what you are saying and I know you, too, mean no ill will. I am curious about someone’s origins and background too – and might ask them, once communication has been established. I think the OP, and then @ETpro in his way are talking about the same thing, but from different aspects in time and perspective; should it even matter, and, what do you say when someone says What are you? Who are you? when they haven’t even asked how you are doing and whether you’d like something to drink first…

Depending upon the situation – I might either walk away, tell them to fuck off, or tell them my background and ask about theirs.

Here, on the internet and without photos and names (for the most part, of course, barring those who choose to post them – bravely, I might add, we are all just posters. On Fluther: jellies. And it’s great how it doesn’t matter what your skin colour is, accent, gender sometimes.

But should someone want to know more about me, personally, beyond the Fluther “persona” and whatever I’ve written, say, in a PM – they’d better ask politely and be prepared to share as well. And I’d like to know first and foremost where they are coming from, so to speak. You and I have shared private chats so I know you mean well and are earnest.

JLeslie's avatar

@zensky I guess I had not caught the “what are you” line; it kind of went over my head. I would agree that doesn’t sound very nice. I rarely hear someone say that. The OP is fairly young so I am going to assume her peers aren’t very worried about how they word that line, especially if they themselves don’t look “American.” I realize is a ridiculous statement; look American; but you know what I mean I am sure. Anyway, I think I didn’t dwell on the words because all along I saw no reason to assume ill intent by the asker of the question.

The reason I never assumed bad intentions is because the OP did not ask what she should answer back when people are rude and ask where she is from or her nationality. She asked, “should I say I am Thai also?” To me that means she doesn’t mind being asked, she doesn’t mind answering, she just is grapping with what the correct answer is.

zensky's avatar

@JLeslie We are reading into and expounding upon this on our own now. Lurve ya babes.

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