Hi all, it’s your Aunt Pam writing with the annual Thanksgiving instruction e-mail. I have some important news to tell everyone so please read this carefully. I just got off the phone with Nancy and she mentioned that Tommy is going to be bringing a Chinese girl to the dinner this year. She said it in passing and told me she’s so happy for Tommy. But I know my sister, and it’s clear that she wants me to brief all of you on how to behave. It’s a good thing I’m around!
Now I realize you’re all probably shocked but I think you all need to take a more enlightened view here. Her name is Susan (still need to figure out how it’s pronounced) and they met at Tommy’s dorm. As you all know, I took a Sociology course at Plainview Collegiate years ago so I’m pretty in tune with how to respect other races, so listen up.
First, Dave, none of that ‘pull my finger nonsense’. Other cultures find certain gestures offensive that we think are normal. I don’t want her going home thinking we’ve insulted her ancestors or dishonored her. And Kyle, if you’re going to tell any jokes, use small words and tell them slowly. Nancy says she was born in Winnipeg but there’s still no telling how strong her English is.
You know what? Try to keep all topics of conversation light. Keep it to the weather, her schoolwork, and maybe aspects of her heritage you admire. For example, I’m going to mention how much respect I have for her parents deciding to keep a girl baby. It’s little things like that which will show her that you appreciate the beauty of her culture. Other options could be her interests, the Great Wall, and how much we like their food. Plan ahead!
Actually, don’t go into her interests. Might be too personal.
Second, I still need to figure out exactly what kind of Chinese she is. It could be that she’s Thai or Korean, for example. You may not realize it, but even though they’re mostly identical, there are very subtle, small differences between Japanese-Chinese, Vietnamese-Chinese, or even Filipino-Chinese. Let me take the lead and ask her as soon as she walks in so we don’t embarrass her. Regardless, they all eat the same so can somebody please get a pair of the kind of chopsticks that will work for cranberry sauce?
Finally, and I know this is a big one, but can someone try and bring another main course? I’m not entirely sure if Turkey is one of the animals they eat or if it’s one of their gods.
If everyone just listens to my guidance, I think we can avoid a lot of the discomfort that the lot of you would bring if I wasn’t around!