“Someone complimented me on my English last summer. This was my response.”

I’ve been asked by nosy women, “How long have you been studying English?” and by airport security, padding me down, “Excuse me, do you speak a little bit of English?” Obviously, the airport isn’t the place to get into a conversation about race, privilege, and power, so I just say yes and go along with it. Even though I remain silent, it doesn’t mean the words don’t hurt. These words are a recurring reminder that I am seen as a perpetual foreigner in my country of citizenship, the country in which I was raised, and the country I love and call home.

Vocal Context

This is a new performance piece I wrote for the VASTA Cabaret in London this summer at my alma mater, the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. I workshopped it at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, which I am quite proud to say that I am now summer faculty there, teaching Voice and Speech.

This piece has lived in me for over a year now, as the actual incident that opens the performance happened during the summer of 2013 in Brooklyn. I felt like it was important to highlight the idea that oppression does not come in only explicit, hateful forms but from the educated and millennial peers that I hang out and work with in my progressive circles.

When microaggressions happen, I don’t always want to confront the person and give them some diatribe about social justice; sometimes, I just want to drink my fucking cocktail…

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