"No, where are you originally from?"
"I mean, where were your parents born?"
If you're part of a minority group, questions like these totally make you cringe, because you've no doubt heard some variation of them at some point. On the other hand, if you're not part of a minority group, you might wonder, "Wait, what's wrong with those?" You might even add, as a white friend of mine once did, "Whatever, dude. I have an exotic-sounding last name myself. People are always asking me about that, and I never have any problem explaining. Just chill out." Note for those of you who just got chills: It's because every single minority reading this article just said in unison, "Oh fuuuuuuck yoooouuu!"
Or waved a couple of these at their screen if they're at work.
Even ignoring the fact that his response is a dismissive pile of festering horseshit (even if he didn't intend it to be), this is when a tiny bit of steam starts leaking out of my ear holes. When someone asks where I'm from, often the implication is that I'm an outsider. It's a statement of exclusion. That's the difference between a stranger asking a white guy about his exotic last name and a stranger asking me about my "other than America" origins.
For example, years ago I threw a Halloween party, and two random white guys tried to crash it. I let them hang around until they started harassing some of the women there. Then I went up to one of them, and I politely said, "Hey, man. This is a private party, so I'm gonna have to ask you to leave."