Assumptions about group characteristics are at the heart of racial and religious prejudice. Nathania Said defies them all.
My name is Nathania Said. Can you tell me what religion I follow, or what ethnicity and race I am? My first name comes from Hebrew origin, so you may assume I am Jewish. However, my last name is Said; therefore, you may assume I am Muslim, but I am neither. My family is Christian. However, I would say that I am not that religious. People would also guess from my last name that I am Arabic or of Middle Eastern origin, but I am not.
Maybe I should describe to you what I look like. I am short, dark-skinned (medium brown) but also light skinned in some places, have terrible tan lines, light brown hair, dark brown eyes, a plump face, and small eyes. Can you tell my ethnicity and race now? Probably not, how about if you saw an image of me? You would say I am Asian. Most people have told me, “You look Chinese, but you also don’t.” People think I am too “dark” to be Chinese.
Well what I am then? I am Chinese Indonesian.
Sometimes I find it very frustrating how people generalize me. I always get questions like “What are you?” Well, I hope I’m human. “Why are you so dark?” Maybe I was born that way? And no, I do not drink soy sauce.