I was Accidentally Racist: Asian Edition!

So...I was accidentally racist again last night. This time may have been the most mortifying thus far. I don't know why this keeps happening to me (again and again and again...) but I hate it. I would take this time to prove to you that I'm not racist, but I feel like people who say racist things and then work overtime to prove how not racist they are actually the biggest racists on the planet. So I'm not saying I'm not racist. But I'm also not saying I'm not, not racist. Walk with me...

As I'm sure you've picked up by now, I've been in a bit of a way recently. I'm one of those people where if one aspect of my life is going downhill (i.e. work...in a big way) then everything else seems like it's going downhill too and I just sit here all day thinking about how everything is spiraling out of control and there's nothing I can do about it except turn off the lights, put on The Smith's Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want and dramatically writhe, writhe, writhe, check my email, writhe, writhe, change into comfy pants, writhe. You know. I'm That Guy.

I decided to skip the gym last night and instead curl up on the couch with a bottle of wine, an order of pad thai and my lap top to do some extensive job hunting. Having already taken off my pants the minute I got home (per usual,) I ordered Thai food to be delivered. I was told that my order would take about 40 minutes and decided to take that time to return a phone call to College Roommate Danielle. Like clockwork, I got a call 40 minutes later from the Thai food delivery guy saying that he was downstairs and I needed to come down to get my food. Right off the bat I was irritated. If I have to go through the trauma of putting my pants back on and physically moving myself downstairs anyway, I might as well have gotten carry-out, but! whatevs. I was just psyched my food was there.

I hung up with Danielle, begrudgingly put pants back on and went downstairs and there was no one in the lobby. "Have you seen a Thai food delivery guy?" I asked our doorman. "Well, there was a food delivery guy just here but he said he was looking for **** New Hampshire Avenue, which doesn't exist." God damnit. They got my address wrong. I live on **** 20th Street, not **** New Hampshire. The smell of sweet, sweet Thai food was still wafting through the lobby and I drooled on the pants I resented so. I thanked the doorman, went upstairs and called the delivery guy back. I gave him my correct address, he giggled, I wept and he said he would be there in five minutes.

Five minutes later, I went back downstairs and waited for another 15 minutes. Finally I got a call from the delivery guy, who was at **** N Street. Gah! 20th street! Not N! COME ON DELIVERY GUY! You're cutting into my precious, precious writhing time! I corrected my address for him (again) and he assured me that he'd be there in 20 minutes. I sighed, went back upstairs and poured myself a glass of wine.

20 minutes later, feeling famished, tired and slightly buzzed, I returned to the lobby where there was a young Asian man waiting. Still slightly irritated, I walked up to him, motioned towards the plastic bag in his hand in a miffed tone said, "Hey. I think that's mine." He shifted his eyes around the room and stared at me inquisitively. I motioned a twenty towards him, "For Meghan, right?" I asked impatiently, "Pad thai and crispy tofu?" He paused and then in an accent that may have been from New Jersey said, "Um. I live here."

Oh. My. God. This was not the delivery guy at all. This was just some random Asian kid who lives in my building who I was shoving a twenty dollar bill in the face of and demanding the contents of what I could now clearly see was a CVS bag from.

I turned bright red. A wave of nausea rocked my entire body and I literally hid my face behind my hands as I cried, "OH MY FUCKING GAWD. I AM SO. SO. SO SORRY." He didn't laugh, but he didn't get mad either. He just sort of nodded at me like, "Yeah...this must be really embarrassing for you," which kind of made it worse. "I'm so sorry! I saw I thought I've been waiting and I just thought
" I mumbled. He nodded again. Just then, the real Thai food delivery guy walked in, waved and pointed to the receipt on the bag. My eyes lit up and I motioned towards the Thai food guy and then back at my neighbor and said, "SEE?!"

What I meant by "SEE?!" was that I really was waiting for Thai food and wasn't just assuming that an Asian person has an order of pad thai on him at any given moment. However, directly after I stopped motioning between the two of them, with a "RIGHT?!" look on my face, I realized that I was coming off a little too "SEE?! ALL YOU SQUINTY FUCKERS LOOK ALIKE TO ME!" Which is really, really not how I meant it.

I tipped the delivery guy $10 and in the truest definition of the word, ran back up to my apartment.

I have never been so mortified in all of my life. But in my defense, I was fucking starving. I saw an Asian man in flip-flops carrying a plastic bagI assumed it was dinner time. A + B = C. Do I think I was wrong in this situation? Of course I do. Do I think my neighbor wasn't exactly helping himself? Maybe.

The ultimate irony here is that the entire reason Danielle called me in the first place was to tell me about something embarrassing that happened to her that day because she knew of all people, I would be able to relate. After we hung up I legitimately thought to myself, "Hmm. That's odd...something senseless and mortifying hasn't happened to me in a month of Sundays...Welp! Looks like someone's turning over a new leaf!"and strutted off all cocky-like to go to ask my Asian neighbor how tending the rice fields is working out for him.

Guess I should look for a new apartment as well as a new job tonight...Greeeeat.


Anonymous said...

Oh god. Oh god. I don't know how you deal with these situations.

P.S. Pad thai and a bottle of wine sound pretty awesome, I think I should change my dinner plans. And hopefully not have my evening turn out the same way.

Unknown said...

I <3 this blog so, so much! I, too, DESPISE my job and am not kidding when I say I look forward to reading your posts daily! I am so glad that other people have horrible bosses too! I mean, I am NOT glad that other people have bad bosses, but am happy that we can relate. What, do you have to take some "I am good at being mean quiz" before you can be someone's boss? Grr.

Anyway, thanks so much for making me LOL at work. :) Keep it up!

Unknown said...


Girl - he'll get past it. I always get mistaken for the help in fancy stores and it hasn't done irreparable damage to my psyche. Hope the pad thai was worth the trouble!

Anonymous said...

I'm totally always getting mistaken for a penis model in the lobby of my building.

Ushma said...

Oh Meghan, how do you even get yourself into these situations?

Kiwi Girl said...

O.M.G. this is my life exactly. Look forward to your posts daily. FML.

Monkee said...

OMG Meg..something similar just happened to me AND I'm Asian :'( (so don't worry I won't judge you)

Last nite I talked to a friend of a friend at a friend's gathering...you know small talks. He was nervous about going on his interviews for residency at the end of the year and joked "You think it might help me to get sympathy votes because I'm a black guy?" *haha*

...to which I nodded understanding and joked back "Sure, why not? But sure as hell not going to help an Asian girl like me" *haha*

...to which he didn't laugh back, paused, looked me deadly in the eyes "Ummm I meant A BLACKED EYE" Which lord and behold he did have... And NO, it wasn't because he was black that I didn't see his blacked eye...But I swear I heard he said "black guy"


2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

I'm totally always getting mistaken for a penis model in the lobby of my building.

OH man. I think I love you a little bit.

The Kuh said...

Oh, Meg. I would totally have made the same mistake. Yesterday, at work, we got an invitation to a marketing breakfast seminar on "Targeting the Hispanic Market..." (no kidding), and my reply to my coworkers was "Unless they are serving migas and huevos rancheros for breakfast, I'm out." With a picture from the movie "The Three Amigos". Funny? Yeah. Too far? Maybe. Luckily, no one reported me to HR that I know of, but I feel your pain.

Blog & Order said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erin said...

I am going to use this post as proof to my boyfriend that I'm not the only accidental racist.

Anonymous said...

Yeah right Meg, you just love penis models. Whore.

2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

Point taken.

Unknown said...

"has anyone seen a black purse?"
"...theeere he goes!"

Lauren Ashley said...

Home from work today, a completely plagued by a Heinous cold.

Thanks for a GREAT laugh!!!

Sam SLC Carpet said...

But if it had been any kid from your building with a bag of Thai food you would have assumed that it was your delivery. You were not racist, just mistaken.

Patrick said...

I feel for you on the job ordeal. Not so much on the racism. Everyday I look around my sorry excuse for a cubicle and think, "Really? This is my life?"

Nate said...


I was sitting in Denny's late at night a while ago with two friends - a white guy and a black guy. We started talking about which one of us would survive if we were left alone in a wild jungle. We decided that I'd die first, because I'm the smallest and lazy and lions would tear my shit up real quick. My white friend would die next because he's a pot head and wouldn't move. Ever. We decided that our black friend would be the only one to survive, which in our my minds was because he's a big muscley ex-football player who could probably punch a lion to death. But then my white friend added really loudly, "Yeah, and you'd go back to your African roots and talk like this *mimmicks clicky sounds for way too long*"

We all laughed. Until we noticed the large black man in the booth right behind us who didn't hear any of our conversation and only turned toward us in time to hear my friend making clicky sounds to another black person.

And I have never seen someone so visibly pissed in all my life and I have also never sunk so low in my Denny's booth ever.

Also, if you find a new job, please let me know. I've been searching for one for a month and a half and I still haven't found one. It all just makes me want to curl up into a ball and sleep forever and/or drink and/or figure out a way to drink while sleeping.

Anonymous said...

May I just say as a twenty-something asian man.... .THIS IS FREAKING HILARIOUS! I love it!

It's happened to me several times here in L.A.(which doesn't say much for me since that means I either dress like a delivery guy or I eat out to much), but then again it's L.A.- the land of the stereotypes.

What would have been great is if you racial back-pedaled. Look up, on youtube "Urintown Racial Back Pedal". You'll love it! It's a hilarious vid made by this great vlogger who is currently touring with cast of Mary Poppins the musical.

Anyways, above everything else, your writing style is genius!

Bravo to you both!

2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

A few things:

1.) Anna: The infamous "Random Black Purse Debacle of 2004" remains one of my favorite cases of accidental racism. Ever. And it didn't even involve me. I would dedicate an entire post to telling that story, but it's not mine to tell. But it's SO good...

2.) Nate. I just love you. Always have. Always will. Loved that story. Sigh...What if we move our Park Slope dream to Milwaukee? I'm thinking your loft with a fire pole can absolutely accommodate a hot tub...get back to me.

3.) Monkee: I'm going to consider you saying it's ok to be the Asian community as a whole saying it's ok...so thanks! And sorry again!

3.) Mark, thank you for saying my writing style is genius. That phrase is so rarely used in the same sentence as my name.

Beans said...

you are hilarious!

Margo said...

OK, now you have to tell the Black Purse story. Too many references to it, and now I'm beyond intrigued.

KLM said...

So I was in Vegas a couple of months ago with some family members. We are wandering around the casino floor and an Asian cocktail waitress walks by and says "Cocktail?" with a slight accent. Accidental racism kicked in when my aunt replied, "Yes, I would LOVE a hot towel." Mortifying? Yes. Hilarious? Yes. The waitress was so confused she just walked away. I was laughing uncontrollably for about 5 minutes before I could explain it to my aunt.

Rammi said...

+1 on Monkee's comment saying it's OK to be unintentionally racist - I get it from other Asians all the time. Most Asians look similar. I'm (shockhorror) Thai, but I've had people speaking Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog and Japanese to me, and then get pissed when I can't reply back in their language.

Also, my pad thai brings all the boys to the yard. And they're like, it's better than yours. Damn right, it's better than yours.

John said...

I read this yesterday then somehow pulled off something similar last night. Unfortunately. I was in the airport food court and when I finished eating and got up, there was a food court employee standing there. She had what I thought was garbage in her hand and asked "Are you done?" So I said "Yes, did you want to take this?" and held out my tray of garbage. I got a look of death and she said "No I want to sit here and eat." OH that was her dinner in her hand. Yes I was the asshole. Luckily I got to leave the state immediately after this event.

2b1b: The sardonic voice of 20-somethings everywhere, Monday through Friday. said...

Consider the story told. Next Thoughts I Couldn't Flesh Out...post, I promise.

It's one of my faves. I don't mean to hype it. But I love it so much.

Re: John's comment: BWAHAHAHAHA...it's so amazing when food service is involved.

maria said...

I'm pretty sure there have been surveys conducted on that website, AllLookSame, where people from various Asian countries have to match different Asian people to their nationality, and basically none of them could do it very well. so maybe you looked a little silly digging yourself deeper into that racist hole but really, if he thinks he can tell a Thai from any other Asian the fucker is probably lying. all white people pretty much look the same, too.

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