• Video: Where are you from?

    Actor Kai Penn from PBS’s Finding Your Roots

Have you ever been asked “Where are you from?”

The questions we ask, or are asked of us, sometimes reveal biases and assumptions about who belongs and who doesn’t. Well-intended, or nor, asking someone “Where are you from?” can signal an attitude that suggests that the person you are asking does not really belong.

Actor Kai Penn talked about that feeling with Dr. Henry Louis Gates on PBS’s Fiding Your Roots.

                                                                                                 Reflection Questions

Why do you think Dr. Gates laughes when Kai Penn says that he answers the question “Where are you from?” with “New Jersey”?

What is Dr. Gates getting at when he asked Penn is there was a day when he became an Indian?

Have you ever been made to feel like you were different? If so, what did it feel like?

How do you explain why Penn and his Iranian schoolmate were confused for each other? He is not the only person that this has happened to. Many people of color recount similar episodes in places where there are relatively few non-whites. What might that feel like? How might you have respond if that happened to you? How would you want to respond?

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