I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the question. I happen to be with Asian American friends, whether in church or at a restaurant. An acquaintance, or even a perfect stranger will ask:
Are you related?
Once I was sitting with friends visiting one of the churches I was serving as a pastor. They all happened to be Chinese American – one guy, two girls. Afterwards, my colleague and at least a handful of other folks asked if he was my brother, and if one of the girls was my sister-in-law. Granted, this was after my brother had moved about an hour away with his new wife, and the thought was that he would come and visit at some point…but, seriously? The others were much more good-humoured about it, but I was in a bit of a mood afterwards.
Even worse is when someone finds out my Korean last name, and they say:
Oh, I know, So-and-so Kim. Do you know him/her?
Why, God, why?
That’s why I absolutely love this yearbook prank by some smart-ass (in a very good way) Asian American young women.
So instead of exerting their individuality with the standard Grateful Dead quote and a prom-worthy up-do, they decided to join forces for the ultimate prank. Alexandra, Angela, Angelica, Elizabeth, Emily, Isabella, Madeline and Vi Nguyen all wore the same black off-shoulder dresses and the same hairstyles. Then they went for the win. Eschewing the optional yearbook one-liner under each of their photos, they divided up two sentences that made fellow students and administrators think twice before making any stereotypical assumptions. Altogether, the words under the Nguyen girls’ eight pictures read: “We know what you’re thinking and no we’re not related.”
I wish I were as clever as these girls back then during similar moments. Actually I wish I were now, too. I’ll file this one away for future use somehow.