Thursday, March 4, 2010

"Get Yo' Bulgogi On..." Really, asshole, I mean really?

 Image from Just Another Blog

If it's not clear from the title, this is a rant.

I've been in NYC since late August. During one very short-term assignment, I discovered a restaurant on 32nd Street. I LOVE it. After living for eight years in South Korea, Korean food IS comfort food for me. NYC is definitely a city you have to adjust to. That means I have bad NYC days, just as I had bad Korea days. Of course, as I spent more time in Korea my bad Korea days were much fewer and further in between. I know the same with happen with NYC. However, right now, I'm very sensitive to the insane amount of mean people here.

I had a bad NYC day on Monday. At the end of the day, I decided to head to my favorite spot on 32nd Street and get some Korean food. As I was walking in, two white men were walking out. One saw me and said, "Get yo' bulgogi on." Now, he very well might have just been saying it in general, but really? It's rare I pass whites in NYC speaking Ebonics unless it's in jest. My initial read was he saw me. It registered to him that a black woman in a Korean restaurant isn't something you see often. Then this smart ass decided to say something funny. However, I chose to just ignore him. I mean really, what if I was wrong and it was just an oddly timed moment?

However, assuming my gut reaction was correct, the irony is 1) I really don't like bulgogi that much and 2) if he knew my history and about my eight years in Korea, he would have just zipped his stupid f%^kin' yap.

There is another element here. That is an element of entitlement. Please explain to me why some whites seem to think they're the only people entitled to experience and like foreign cultures? (Please note I said "some" and not all, so don't wander in the comments saying I'm laying this on all white people...I'm not.) I ran into this while in Korea a lot. I'm running into it here a bit too. However, in the USA, so few people have spent any significant time abroad that it rarely comes up.

I don't know how many times I get the very impressed with themselves Caucasian who happens to have a few visa stamps in their passport and think that entitles them to be a world expert. I might entitle them to being a backpacking in Europe expert or a summer work in Mexico expert, but world expert? Nah. Hell, I'm no world expert. I know NE Asia and, specifically, South Korea. I've traveled to a few places but just because I've spent a few weeks in Paris doesn't make me an expert. How damn hard is that to understand?

Rant over... (and, um, yeah...that code ain't fixed yet, so there is nothing after "read more".)

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