I just got home and need to get this off my chest.
Now, my mother and I don’t always see eye to eye. I complain about her A LOT and she upsets me a lot, but in the end, she’s still my mommy.
At then end of class when we were all gathering our things to leave, my mom called me, to remind me I have to pay bills this weekend. Now, she talks loud enough to the point where I don’t have to keep the phone near my ear, so of course, this white girl near me also happened to hear the conversation (not kelly), not that I cared.
After I hung up, she looked at me and asked “How long has your mom been speaking english?” and when I replied that she had been for about 18-20 years maybe this girl had the audacity to ask with an incredulous tone “And she still has an accent?”
Oh no, you did not just go there. You just insulted my mother. You may not have thought you did, but you most certainly did.
Yes, my mother has an accent. No, I don’t think it’s funny. I think it’s beautiful (when she’s not yelling at me). You do NOT have the right to think lower of my mother because she has a Chinese accent. That is my mother.
My mother, who got a masters degree in mathematical engineering in China before I was even born. Who was one out of five females in her graduating class in the 70s.
My mother, who left China at the age of 35 pregnant with me because she wanted to give me a better more comfortable future that living in China would not. Who left a wonderful job, friends, and family for me.
My mother, whose boyfriend left her shortly after my birth and left her broke and destitute. Who instead of wallowing in grief, got her shit together and opened a fantastic restaurant on the island of Tonga whilst raising me, her first child.
My mother, who left that wonderful life in Tonga when I got old enough for school to come to the states because then at least I’d have a decent education. Who once again sacrificed for me.
My mother, who could only get menial jobs such as maid service and babysitting because her Chinese Masters degree meant NOTHING here.
My mother, who knows SEVERAL Chinese dialects AND English, which is more than I can say for most people, including myself. Who learned English not in school, but by just running head-on into an English speaking world.
My mother, who sometimes cries at night because someone else called her “bamboo coon” or “lizard” or “dim sum” or “egg roll”. And yes Chinese people DO get called all these things and YES we do get hurt and offended.
So, yes, my mother does have an accent. But my mother’s accent does not define who she is. My mother is one of the most courageous and brilliant people I know. So take your self indulgent tone and sit your white ass the fuck down.
My mother has an accent, and it does not define who she is.
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