Youngest Rice King

Ching-Chonged by a Toddler

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There is nothing small about microagressions. This term, coined by Harvard Professor Chester Middlebrook Pierce, means the casual degradation of any socially marginalized group. The key word here is “casual”. So not micro as in small. But micro as in casual. And casual as in casual to the oppressor. As in “My friend went to the Philippines and told me that Filipinas are so very soft spoken and polite.”

In my almost 40 years of life, my favourite microagression is this one:

I was the owner of a home daycare so I frequented the playgrounds near my house. I was sitting on the ground watching my charge take turns on the slide when an adorable toddler waddled toward me. He was smiling ear to ear and when I reached my arms out to him he actually went into my arms. I was delighted.

“Aren’t you a friendly munchkin!” I said to him as his father approached, also smiling, with his hands in his pockets.

“Yeah. He can’t help it. He loves Asian women. It’s his thing.”

It’s. His. Thing.

Oh My God. I was so honoured. I had just met the world’s youngest Rice King. I wasn’t sure if I should bow deeply before him or fetch my shamisen to play like a Geisha while he enjoyed his tea.

I wondered how this kid’s dad arrived at this theory that his son was a Rice King. Did he catch him googling Hot Filipina on his Fischer Price toy laptop? Did the kid refuse to breastfeed on pink nipples and did he prefer brown ones? I mean, what the fuck?

As an Asian woman, this conversation is typical: You’re at a bar, some white guy leans into you and says “Hey. I don’t detect an accent. Are you from here?”

But I’m imagining this toddler coming at me at some play centre, removing his pacifier from his mouth and saying “Hey. I bummmkosoooosks. Ahahhayaaa?”

Ooooh. Just the sound of that gets me hot. It makes me want to shake off the yoke of oppressive culture and love you long time.

A man said exactly that to me once in a pizza place. I was alone enjoying my pizza because I was about to get my period and it was either I eat pizza or kill somebody.

He sits at the table next to me and says “I heard you order your pizza. I don’t detect an accent. Are you from here?” You know, just because of how I look, surely I can’t be from Toronto.

Let me remind you that I was 24 hours from bleeding from my pussy. Like the creepy twins from The Shining were at my pussy waiting for the elevator doors to open and for the blood to just flow out of me like an evil waterfall. Okay? I just looked at him and belched.

I mean, why would I waste my time with a witty comeback? Why get angry? When I can simply share with him the gas from my body?


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Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is playwright, performer and award-winning author. She is the author of M is for Mustache: A Pride ABC Book (Flamingo Rampant) and Scarborough (Arsenal Pulp Press). She is the Artistic Director of b current performing arts.

Read all posts by Catherine Hernandez

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