I don't know why anyone would get angry over that question....?
Originally Posted by AnnieRose
I'm also sincerely interested in why the "What are you?" question is felt to be so offensive ... aside from a situation where the person asking seems to have nefarious intentions, like: to know if you're of a certain ethnicity they'd rather avoid, or for them to know what racist things they can/cannot say in front of you. Or maybe some think it's "too personal". But idk, I mean "What do you do for a living?" doesn't seem to get people hot, usually. And I consider that somewhat personal too (not that I mind being asked).

There probably are reasons for feeling offended that I just haven't considered, as I'm just one person with one set of experiences. Personally, I just figure there's nothing wrong with someone expressing some curiosity about me, and in a way, it's flattering because there's something they find interesting about me. Plus I figure they have the right to ask me whatever they want and I have the right to answer, or not.
Originally Posted by Korkscrew
I can only speak for myself, but for me it has a lot to do with the tone and the intent of the question. That and the person's history with having been asked this question.

For instance, I grew up in Baltimore, which is largely black with some white people. We rarely ever saw anyone of any other race, so when I was growing up and kids said to me, "What are you?," they didn't mean it in a nice way. They meant why do you look different from every other person I've ever seen. And that hurt.

Nowadays, when someone says, "What's your ethnic background?", that doesn't bother me much. Like you say, they are mostly just curious. I actually find my ethnic ambiguity and the combinations I've been asked funny.
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