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Do you think they have discrimination on me ?

FY Hsieh
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Joined: Aug 07, 2006
Posts: 73
I have been in USA for 5 years. Last week I walked to a doctor's clinic, the guy walked and with my file folder and shaked hnahs with me, by seeing me an dmy name on the folder, the guy who I never met before asked me first question with smile "where are you from ?" I was bit surprised but answered which country I was originally from. Then he asked which part of that country, I still answered. Then he asked me how long have I been in USA, I still answered. I was not feeling very comfortable (because people usually don't ask so many questions especially when we don't know each other before) but since he was asking with smile, I still stayed cool and assumed this guy was just curious.


When I told a friend about this, he said this issue is subtle, it shows over-curiosity on others' race, age, religion which is not professional. But it is subtle and not that obvious so it is gray area. He could explain that he was just curious to ask...

What do you guys think ? If you ask me, I felt not comfortable but as my friend said, he didn't directly attcked me, so I was not prepared how I should express my uncomfortable feeling. Am I too sensitive ? What should I respond to such questions ? Any opinion ?
Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
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Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

Sounds like friendly small talk to me. Did you feel you received inferior service? Were treated poorly? Were treated differently than you should have been?


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Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11509
    
  95

I wouldn't read too much into this.

For the most part, Americans are generally interested in finding out more about other cultures. I am regularly asked where I am from, and they usually like to know at a city level (which usually results in me explaining that Melbourne is in the south-east corner of mainland Australia, since they often do not recognize the name Melbourne). This is all just part of getting to know people - nothing more.

In a doctor's clinic there may actually be a medical reason behind the questions. If you come from a certain country, or are planning on visiting a certain country, then the doctor may need to be aware of medical conditions associated with that country (e.g. if you are traveling to or from a country that has malaria). Likewise there are some countries that mandate some inoculations which the doctor should know about so that they do not get false readings if ever they do a blood test. Or there are some countries that do not mandate inoculations which most Americans have - again the doctor should know about this so that they can advise you properly.


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Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

FY Hsieh wrote: What should I respond to such questions ? Any opinion ?


You should respond with as much or as little information as you like.

I tend to agree that it was just curiosity rather than malice.

A lot of American's have very little contact with folks from the Middle East or Asia, and its a combination of curiosity and making small talk.

For example, I live outside Washington DC, and when I'm out of town, folks often ask me. If I'm far from DC, I tend to say "Washington DC".
At least until I find that they know something about this part of the country. If they are actually familiar with the DC area, I give more detailed answers. But most people in Chicago, Los Angelos, San Francisco, have only vague concepts of where Washington DC is.

And they usually assume that I have dinner with Senators, Congressmen, and the President regularly. In reality, there are several million people living here, and under 500 "important politicians". Most of us never see them.
FY Hsieh
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Joined: Aug 07, 2006
Posts: 73
Thanks guys for sharing thoughts with me.
Ernest Friedman-Hill
author and iconoclast
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Joined: Jul 08, 2003
Posts: 24187
    
  34

Pat Farrell wrote:In reality, there are several million people living here, and under 500 "important politicians". Most of us never see them.


There is also me, and you never see me either, do you?


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Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Ernest Friedman-Hill wrote:There is also me, and you never see me either, do you?

Inside or outside the Beltway?

But to Mr Ernest's question, no I have never seen him or known he was within my neighborhood. (for any given delta, there is an epsilon...)
Arvind Mahendra
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Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1162
How is this "discrimination" man?? I'd feel glad if my doctor ever tried to get to know me as a person instead of just viewing me like an ATM machine of some sort.
I would take this kind of "discrimination" any day over having to get undressed at the airport or have a big burly security guard touch you inappropriately in your privates. Luckily, it hasn't happened to me but I think everyone now knows someone who had to go through something like that. I think the odds are quickly getting stacked against me especially now that I work out alot and have a gorgeous body. I know I am asking for it but with good looks and a great physique there is a price to pay.


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tapeshwar sharma
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Joined: Mar 10, 2006
Posts: 245
Asking a person's origin so specifically may be a little unprofessional, but I wouldn't bother too much.
You gotta have a thicker skin than that, man.
On the whole, Americans are the most welcoming and unassuming people on earth, and I am not even a citizen.
Only yesterday I met a fellow Social Volunteer dressed up like one of the refugee community that she's helping.
If it weren't for the color of the skin, you couldn't make out that she is actually an American.
W. Joe Smith
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Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
I wouldn't worry too much about it. As many others have said it was most likely curiosity, especially when they foudn out you were originally from a different country. I have gone to doctors, dentists, and various other places and had them ask where I'm from, and I have just about the most common name around!


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

"Hmmm, 'Smith' eh? Isn't that a Brungavian name?"
Pat Farrell
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Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

Bear Bibeault wrote:"Hmmm, 'Smith' eh? Isn't that a Brungavian name?"

I have some first cousins named Dahlqvist. They are of half Scandanavian and half Irish descent. You can tell, with a name like Dahlqvist, especially the "QV" part.

The funny thing is that the great grandfather's name was Johnson. When the Grandfather came through Ellis Island, speaking no english, they asked him for his name. He picked Dahlqvist on the spot. He felt that there were too many folks named Johnson, and wanted something that clearly indicated his original home.
W. Joe Smith
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Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 710
Bear Bibeault wrote:"Hmmm, 'Smith' eh? Isn't that a Brungavian name?"


I'm pretty sure it is Qatarian, or maybe Egyptian.....certainly not English, Irish or German though.
Henry Wong
author
Sheriff

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 19004
    
  40

Also, doctors are trained to take histories of race, region, and sometimes even religon into account -- as some diseases statistically affect different members of the population differently.

Think of it this way, your primary will perform prostate and other types of exams on you. Getting a bit personal about your racial background is nothing in comparison...

Henry


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma
Marshal

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 61662
    
  67

Nothing says "Hello!" like a good prostate massage!
Arvind Mahendra
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Joined: Jul 14, 2007
Posts: 1162
some doctors don't even have the courtesy to do some foreplay before probing you in such intimate manner.
 
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