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Sep 15

Where do you come from?

“Where do you come from?” is an awkward way to ask someone what their origin is. For anyone who has a multicultural background, it’s hard to figure out if you’re being asked where you were born, where your parents came from, where you spent your childhood, where you currently live, or what’s your ethnicity. Adding “Originally?” to the end of that question only removes one of those possibilities, and it also can generate snide comebacks. “Yes, I was originally from Australia too.”

I find when I ask that question, I’m trying to find out where the person spent most of their formative years – where they got their accent, where did get their early education, where they were with their parents. I heard someone ask a version of this question a while ago that has now become my go to question: “Where did you grow up?” This invites the person being asked to answer how they want, without loading the question with any awkward assumptions.

Then, if you want, you can follow up with – did your parents grow up there too?

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