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AIBU to be annoyed when people ask where I'm REALLY from?

(558 Posts)
maggiethemagpie Tue 21-Jun-16 22:03:12

I'm of mixed heritage, my dad is iranian and my mum is english but my dad moved here as a student in the 1960s and kind of turned his back on his home country, so I've never really felt Iranian myself.

However I got all his genes as I look quite dark and nothing like my english mum.

People will sometimes ask 'where are you from' and I usually reply 'stockport' but no, that's not what they mean what they really mean is 'from what country do you get your appearance' so they will say 'no where are you really from'

And it annoys the feck out of me.

Why can't I just be from Stockport, as I just told them? I AM from stockport, I was born there, my mum was born there. OK my dad wasn't but they didn't ask where my dad was from, they asked where I was from.

And if I say no, really from Stockport then I come across as arsey. But I don't see why I should have to start explaining my genetic heritage to a stranger. Then I have to explain that, no, i'm not iranian even though my dad is and no I have never been there and no I don't speak the language.

AIBU to think it is rude for people to ask me this? And then insist on a different response to the one initially given?

crossroads3 Tue 21-Jun-16 22:10:10

I agree that it is an excluding kind of question and one that is inherently about skin colour. I also agree that the question "where are you really from" is rude.

I suppose, looking at it positively, that people are interested in your heritage. Still it is up to you only if you want to discuss it or not or see it as relevant to the conversation. I would just say "yes, REALLY from Stockport", give them this look hmm, and then let them stew.

YesterdayTomorrowToday Tue 21-Jun-16 22:12:01

YANBU or at least if you are then I am too. This drives me insane and it is so rude.

I want to ask them how far back they want me to go, as I think on my maternal side they emigrated from Ireland in the 1800s but I don't know before then.

If I take it they are looking at my dark hair and olive skin, well I'm not from the country my looks hail from. Neither are my parents - it's a few generations ago now.

Agreed this is one of those situations where it is them being rude, but if you answer with anything other than what they were digging for, you end up looking like the rude one.

If we can think of a good MN stock answer to this sort of question I will definitely use it next time someone asks!

ButtonLoon Tue 21-Jun-16 22:12:29

Yes, it's rude. I'm white but my accent gives me away as a foreigner, so I can "pass" if I keep my mouth shut. hmm

I'm sometimes curious about other people's heritage (because the world is an interesting place) but I only ask them about it when I know them really well and would count them as a friend.

Flacidunicorn Tue 21-Jun-16 22:12:50

Wouldn't it be easier, though it should be unnecessary, to reply first and foremost with,
"I was born in Stockport but my Dad is Iranian"

Wouldn't that be easier seeing as you know what they'll ask next?

maggiethemagpie Tue 21-Jun-16 22:12:52

Ali G would say 'I come from my ma's punani'!!! Maybe I should try that!

maggiethemagpie Tue 21-Jun-16 22:13:52

Yes but why do I have to tell them where my dad's from , Flacidunicorn. I kind of don't want to have to tell them!

TooMuchMNTime Tue 21-Jun-16 22:14:55

I get the same
Drives me nuts. And makes me feel like I'm not allowed to be English which makes me sad.
I think this type of question has decreased over the years but I'm quite anti social now so perhaps it's a case of meeting fewer new people.

easel14 Tue 21-Jun-16 22:15:14

I get it too. Greek heritage- and when I say Manchester I usually then get " but where are you from Or-IG- inally !! Doesn't really bother me anymore- find it quite funny to wind people up with "oh! Originally!? Well that would be Cheshire!" Etc etc

CantChoose Tue 21-Jun-16 22:15:53

Yes I agree this is really rude. As if you've lied about the first answer IMO... Weirdly I also get it and I have only English ancestry as far as I know. They then go on to ask where my parents are from. Sigh...
I will sometimes ask people where they're from if they have an accent - because I'm interested though not because I will think any more or less of them because of the answer...

CuppaSarah Tue 21-Jun-16 22:15:58

Can I ask what the polite way to ask this question is? I speak to lots of people who obviously are English, but have heritage from a non-white background. I'd love to know about their families roots, because it's interesting and I'm nosey. But I never ask as I feel it's a bit intrusive. Is it best not to ask at all, or is there an ok way to broach it?

TooMuchMNTime Tue 21-Jun-16 22:15:59

Sometimes if people ask "where are your parents from" I say "does it matter?"

TooMuchMNTime Tue 21-Jun-16 22:17:12

Cuppa, we cross posted. I'd say don't ask, if they want to share ancestral info they will.

2rebecca Tue 21-Jun-16 22:17:31

It's not just appearance. I get asked where I'm from and name a Scottish city, people aren't happy as I have an English accent so then ask where I lived before that and I name a Scottish town.
It's a way of saying "you are not one of us" that is offensive.

feckity Tue 21-Jun-16 22:18:28

Wouldn't that be easier seeing as you know what they'll ask next?

If I asked OP where she was from (assuming we're somewhere other than Stockport and I recognised her accent as not local), I would not then enquire about her ethnic heritage, any more so than I would anyone else I met. It seems a bit unfair to expect OP to go around announcing stuff like that to people.

NeedACleverNN Tue 21-Jun-16 22:18:49

I would go along with the punami comment really but really dumb it down

So "where do you come from?"
"Stock port"
"No where do you really come from?!"
"Well when a mummy and a daddy want to have a baby, the daddy gives the mummy his special seed. The baby then grows in the mummy's tummy and is born from her bits" <concerned head tilt>

2rebecca Tue 21-Jun-16 22:20:05

I think it's best not to ask at all. If you wouldn't interrogate someone with the same skin colour and accent as you about their origins then don't ask just because they look or talk different.
If you become friends you'll find out anyway, if you don't become friends it doesn't matter.

SuckingEggs Tue 21-Jun-16 22:20:22

Yanbu at all.

WhirlwindHugs Tue 21-Jun-16 22:20:23

You are not at all unreasonable.

maggiethemagpie Tue 21-Jun-16 22:21:52

CuppaSarah if you get to know the person and their heritage matters to them, they will probably tell you or it will come out in conversation somehow eg they may say they've cooked a certain food or something

If they don't tell you, or you don't find out, or there's nothing obvious to suggest they've come from another country then they probably haven't and it probably doesn't really matter!

If people you'd just met started asking you which city you were born in or where your parents come from, and when you told them the answer they said 'no really, where from?' would you find that a) strange b)irrelevant c) irritating or d) all four?

emilybohemia Tue 21-Jun-16 22:22:58

Yes, they're cheeky bastards. I'd chat about someone's background and family tree if it came up but wouldn't be asking questions like that. I think it would be pissing me off as they're saying it as you look non white. Loads of us have backgrounds that are non UK but we don't get asked as we're white. It's placing more importance on you being non white and it's daft.

feckity Tue 21-Jun-16 22:24:03

That's true actually 2Rebecca, thinking about it I'm not sure I've ever straight out asked someone where they're from just based on hearing their accent. I'm just used to getting it from people as I'm not local to where I live.

Notcontent Tue 21-Jun-16 22:25:25

Cuppa - I think asking someone about their family history is a bit rude unless you know the person well!

CuppaSarah Tue 21-Jun-16 22:25:30

Thank you TooMuch I will keep my mouth shut about it.

Corialanusburt Tue 21-Jun-16 22:25:58

It is rude to phrase a question, "where are you really from?"
That said I don't think it's wrong to be interested in someone's heritage. I love to find this sort of thing out from people just because I'm nosey.

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