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comment by Isherwood
Isherwood  ·  1147 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How the question "Where are you from?" comes with baggage for immigrants and POC

    The same people who will ask about European-sounding names are the exact same ones that aren't allowed to ask about names from literally anywhere else.

I just don't know about anywhere else. I went through a family tree phase recently and learned a lot about names from a few european countries, but outside of that I'm pretty ignorant. That said, I also never really liked the lineage small talk, it always seems to dead end pretty quickly for me:

"That an interesting name, is is German."

"Yes, my great, great grandfather was German."

"...good for him?"

kleinbl00  ·  1147 days ago  ·  link  ·  

And that's part of the problem: it's small-talk, used as a silence-filler by people who don't know each other. The goal of asking is "say something I can relate to" - so in your example, you're hoping for "my dad was German" which you can follow up with "Oh yeah? I've been there twice! Where in Germany?" and now you have a vague, thin, irrelevant point of affinity between you and this total stranger.

The argument of the article is "don't look for affinity with me in any possible way, because everything you do as a white person offends me."