3. Recall A Time When You Felt Judged

So I was going to Denny’s with my family for a late night snack, as all middle class SoCal-asian families seem to do– getting really excited to have enough fat and sugar enter my body to last me a short happy, albeit uncomfortable, lifetime. Oh the joys of being American.

I was getting out of my mom’s Lexus.. or my dad’s Benz, one of the two (not too shabby, don’t you think?), when we were approached by a man stationed outside our local diner* asking for change.

**Yes somehow the Denny’s chain has made itself a homey staple of late night talks and memories instead of being considered a chain that ruins dreams or something millennial like that.

He spoke to us with an endearing and reasonable, “Hello, could I please have a dollar?” For some reason, we did not want a confrontation with the scraggly, smelly, homeless man sitting at a Denny’s parking lot at 11pm, so we walked by with a calm nothing. Sure it tugged at my heartstrings a little, but what’s the point in feeling empathy, right?

Suddenly I hear words that feel like a smack to the back of my neatly-pony-ed head.

“Go back to Japan!”

If I weren’t so busy being shocked I would have been impressed that he didn’t opt for the usual China.

I don’t know if this counts as me being judged, and I wonder what he would’ve said if we looked more like him: white and male.

But this question didn’t plague me long, as seasoned fries and nachos and lava cake and coffee and milkshakes and chicken quesadillas made way to my table.

I wonder what that man is doing now, and if he ever found kindness in some asian family like mine.

I could hear it now:

God Bless You, Thank you So Much.

One thought on “3. Recall A Time When You Felt Judged

  1. Ha! Wow.. I love your voice in this piece, and was surprised by every sentence. There is so much going on! So many layers to unpack… Racism and bigotry and issues of class and ignorance, and the salve of junk food, and sugary, unconscious American dreams. Your own gaze seems to persecute yourself, your family, white males, and America all at once..

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