Moving to a different country comes with some cultural shock.
Especially if the people around you decide to tokenize you and mock you based on cultural stereotypes.
Redditor aoifecassidydublin encountered this very issue in her school. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA because I don’t want to share my Irish culture with my American classmates?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My (16F) family and I recently moved from Dublin, Ireland, to a small town in the South of the United States, a real ‘Bible Belt’ town where it seems they don’t get a lot of ‘foreigners’ like myself and my family.”
“I recently joined the local high school as a Sophomore, or 10th grade. It’s been a bit of a learning experience and I’m trying to navigate the difference between here and home.”
“To be honest, it was not my idea to move to America but my parents both have jobs that gave them better opportunities than Dublin was offering and they decided to move out here.”
“I don’t like it here.”
Things got worse in school.
“My classmates keep making this big to-do about my f’king accent, asking me stupid sh*t like ‘have you ever seen a leprechaun?’ ‘do you all live in little stone cottages and wear buckle shoes,’ things like that, stereotypes of life in Ireland.”
“Quite a few have asked me to quote the Lucky Charms b*stard or that character from Austin Powers.”
“It doesn’t help that I look like an Irish stereotype; I’ve got red hair and pale skin and freckles and a thick accent. It’s all so annoying.”
“I don’t like it here and I miss Ireland, miss my family, my nan and my cousins and all my friends. I had so many friends and now we’re living in America we’re all finding it hard to continue being friends because Ireland is hours ahead of where we live and it’s hard to maintain friendships over Insta and Facebook and all.”
OP explained the incident.
“The school I’m attending has started having the physical classroom.”
“One of my history classes this year has a focus on other cultures than just American, so we study different countries. My teacher didn’t wait long to ask me to share about life ‘in the far away land of Ireland’.”
“Thing is, I don’t want to be some f’king show pony for these people. My culture, my country, is not some display to be touted out like this.”
“We’re real people, we have real lives, we’re not stuck in the 1700s farming sheep and sh*t, we have cities and internet and health care, we’re a fully evolved society. It isn’t my job to teach her class.”
“Of course, I’m now seen as some kind of anti-social bully because I told the teacher plainly that I would not agree to her request. Now the school wants to have a sit-down with my parents and me because they ‘have concerns’ about my well-being.”
“We have a student who moved here three years ago from Mexico but she didn’t ask him to participate.”
“Am I really such an asshole because I don’t want to be used as some kind of performance monkey because I’m from a different country?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“I’m sorry you had to move here. I understand a little of what you are going through. My mom was born and raised in Dublin, and all of my family are there (dad and my siblings and I are Canadian).”
“We moved to America in 2001. It is hard only getting to talk to them through video chat. They are 6 hours ahead of us where I live. Prepare yourself for pretty much everyone you meet to tell you ‘oh, I’m Irish too! My (insert ancient relative that has been dead for so long, not even their great great etc… grandparents met) on my mom’s side was Irish!!'”
“It annoys my mom to no end when she says she is Irish and people pull that shit. I miss visiting and miss seeing my family. Good luck.”
“I do realize that I might sound like one of those people, which, I apologize for lol. Hang in there and I hope it gets easier soon.” ~ fooditislife5
“Not only in the States, it’s the same in Canada, they will tell you stuff like I’m 5 % Irish, 10 % Scottish, 40 % Italians ….”
“I came here with my family, we were from France, I was 12 at the time, and that one thing I never understood, they would say they are French because somehow, somewhere, in there family, 200 years ago, some dude took a vacation down there.”
“That and the fact that the price you see in the store ….is never the price you end up paying at the cash.” ~ arnault21
Some gave OP tips on how to deal with it.
“Maybe do a full on presentation about everything backward in your new home as compared to the preferable situation in Ireland? Talk about how it is totally insane to have a country with billionaires while children die for lack of basic healthcare.”
“Completely dunk on the fact that the US is the richest third-world regressive state on the planet. Bring up systemic racism and ingrained racial injustice.”
“Do not be gentle.”
“Just be sure you are accurate with it. Then sit back and enjoy never being asked to do a presentation again. I once moved from a wealthy city and one of the finest school systems in the nation to a backwater rural area with one of the worst schools in the entire state.”
“I was accidentally going to be their valedictorian and could not give any F’s about it.”
“They asked what I planned to do at the graduation and I said ‘I don’t know these people, I don’t want to be here, and this school is a joke, so I’ll just say have a nice summer and walk away if I even attend at all.'”
“Suddenly the whole grading system for the school was rebuilt so they could squeak in a new valedictorian (I was still the only person who had done AP classes, was the only high-honors student the entire year, etc., but I also did not care).”
“It was pretty funny seeing how hard they worked to make sure I was not needed to speak or present or anything.” ~ nataxradiator
Don’t tokenize people. The internet exists. Everyone is capable of moving beyond outdated stereotypes with minimal effort.