I am Australian. Just like you are.

6:27:00 AM


Dear every customer who has made a racist comment about me (and friends/fellow colleagues at work),

So today, like every other Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I set off to work.
I work in a Chinese migrant dominant suburb about 45 mins from home; due to the demographic of customers the bank I work at also hire accordingly.
Therefore, a lot of the staff are Australian born but of a Chinese ethnicity; this is so staff a both fluent in english (which is their first language) and also in Chinese (which they generally use to communicate with family). It makes sense as we can provide more comprehensive service to our customers in their language of choice, just like how there are more italian staff for business's located on Lygon St.

As a second generation Australian Chinese, sometimes it is difficult to see where you fit. You are neither fully caucasian nor fully asian. And sometimes I wonder whether other people in similar situations find it difficult to pinpoint their identity.
What I mean is, obviously because of how we look we are obviously not caucasian, however we have received and lived in a European / Australian surroundings, and received traditionally European education.
However on the other hand, although we are Asian, we are different to the typical Asian as we most cannot speak fluently in Chinese (or which ever language your parents came from) because for us, English is the first language, just like you.
What are we classified as? And what happens when we don't belong to any specific class or set of people that society labels us to be? what is our identity?

The reason I bring this up is because, today, similar to other days I heard a customer tell another "European//Caucasian" staff member that they should bring back more "Australians" to work at the branch.
I was a little bit offended, because I realised, I probably hear those phrases more often then I should. However I don't get offended as often as I should as because it occurs so frequently and it has desensitised my awareness and the offensiveness of those comments due to the sheer frequency I receive these comments.

However in this instance, I just left it. Because the italian gentleman who had this comment was elderly, and was a bit upset from his last visit to the bank as he could not really understand english.
Which I found quite ironic that he had asked for more "Australian" staff members, because he obviously was not from the traditional "Caucasian" European descent either.

To be honest, the beautiful thing about Australia is, it is multicultural. It was founded and developed into the modern and developed and democratic country it is now from migrants from all over the world.
If you wish to be technical, the true "Australians" that exist would really be the Aboriginals, the original inhabitants of Australia. I don't know that is just what I think.

What I do know is, I, unlike you, choose not to voice those opinions. Because 1) I have manners, 2) I consider your feelings prior to making rude and racist comments 3) I don't believe anyone should be put in that situation.
 If I, a person who have experienced 24 years of life on earth has the decency and manners not to say rude offensive things to you, I believe people who have lived more then 24 years of life on earth should know better.

I just believe we are all equal, sure some migrants abuse the system and obtain residency in the country using methods which are not legally sound. However the majority of us, call Australia home and contrary to popular belief, we have not experienced any other country that we can call home - I have been here all my life, just like you.

Just because I am asian and look asian, it doesn't mean I am any less Australian.
Just because I am asian and look asian, it doesn't mean I cannot do my job the same and if not better then the typical "australian" (FYI - I am Australian)
Just because I am asian and look asian, it doesn't mean I cant speak or understand english. (FYI - English is my first language AND i received the English year level award over all the other students in Year 12)
Just because I am asian and look asian, it doesn't mean I have to accept stereotypical racist comments from you.
Just because I am asian and look asian, it doesn't mean I am any less deserving then you are.
Just because I am asian and look asian and look young, it doesn't mean I am an easy target for your racist comments - I am human too and I have feelings.

Please be nice to me.

Love from,

the little asian girl who always greets you with a smile that works at your local bank
Pebble Penn

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2 comments

  1. hi pebble, i totally understand your point in this post and can definitely relate with you as we are somehow on the same boat. Just because i look chinese, people would assume that i came from china and often make sarcastic joke such as go back to china etc...( this happens on a working environment) where the fact i was born and raised in the same country as theirs and speak the same native language as theirs too. Which led me to think where do i really belong because although i am chinese but i dont speak fluent mandarin. While for the country i was born and raised with, I don't look like them at all...but as time passes, i just learn to ignore since you cant please everyone and each individual has its own prerogative. Btw, i work in a bank as well that starts with a and ends with z ^_^~

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  2. haha what a coincidence! Unfortunately I am the competitor! Starts with C end with A. :P

    Yea, sometimes you have just got to ignore and chin up, making sure it doesn't affect your day.
    But I think sometimes, people are so desensitised with hearing similar things like that everyday, that we forget it is not nice and it is offensive!

    The funny thing in, since that post I haven't met any customers similar to the italian gentlemen I talked about in my post. Goes to show, it is the minority who are acting childishly!

    If you Australia, Happy Melbourne Cup Day! haha ^^

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