I was talking to one of the Asian attendings in the hospital a few days back, and he was giving me the first generation perspective, where I was offering back the second generation perspective, and he pulled me aside in the hallway and leveled with me.
"These people in the Midwest, they're friendly. They seem nice, but don't be fooled into thinking you're one of them, because no matter how much you act like them, all they see is your skin and your eyes."
This isn't the first time that I've heard this. It's a rallying cry for first generation immigrants. I used to think that this was paranoia or misunderstanding, but as I've gotten older, I've realized that it's true. I'm not white. I'm not one of them.
Even though I love the Midwest, I'm thinking about the East or West Coast, somewhere where it's a little more normal to be Asian, because as much as I like to think that I'm just another guy, I'm the Asian guy. And it's not that people are trying to lynch me, but it's a very subtle recognition that I don't belong here.