Design

Have a Restful Weekend.

What are you up to this weekend? I’ve been reading a lot and it makes me feel so centered. If you’re looking for a new book to cuddle up with, I’m halfway through Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami, and it is fantastic. (I also love the cover.) Take gentle care of yourself, as my mom would say, and if you’re in a blog-reading mood, here are a few links from around the web…

Eyeing this dinner recipe.

How pretty is this Catbird locket? I’d love to mix it with their small charms and pearls.

Is Taylor Wolfe the funniest person on Instagram right now?

Bystander intervention training — it’s one hour and free.

My Persian grandmother reviews my favorite brands,” including Trader Joe’s and Peleton. (The New Yorker)

A few of my favorite picks from Lulu and Georgia (including this beautiful lamp).

What comes next, after the pandemic. “I miss the way my mom, whom I haven’t seen in over a year, pulls my face close to hers for a kiss on the cheek when I lean in to hug her. I miss the enthusiastic bear hug I share when I visit my old roommate Jason who now lives across the country. I miss running into my friend Erin, who I know doesn’t like to hug at all, at a comedy club, and offering a friendly and respectful head nod across the table, which I think is its own kind of intimacy. Here’s a humiliating fact about me: I am too pliable a hugger, and when someone pulls me close to their body I often end up standing with my forehead nestled to their shoulder, worried that they think I’m about to start crying. I even kind of miss that.” (New York Magazine)

A new pasta shape.

Wow, this green sofa.

This book looks really beautiful.

Plus, three reader comments:

Says Toni on 15 reader comments on parenting: “I was waiting to pick up my daughter from school, and a four-year-old girl was with her mom. The little gal was crying and her mom knelt down to wipe her face but the daughter put her hand up and said, ‘Don’t wipe away my sads. I’m not done being sad yet.’ That got me right in the gut.”

Says Olivia on being Asian-American today: “A close friend of mine is Indian-American, born and raised in Massachusetts. She also happens to be one of two infectious diseases doctors at the hospital where we work. Once, an older male doctor asked her, ‘Where are you from?’ She responded, Massachusetts. He goes, ‘No, where are your parents from?’ She responded, ‘Oh, you mean why am I brown.’ Burn, man.”

Says H. on being Asian-American today: “As a Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant child, it was ingrained in me to be respectful of authority and elders, to not argue back, to be the bigger person and ignore the aggressor when verbally attacked, and to put my head down, study, and work hard because, sooner or later, I will be acknowledged for all my accomplishments (as if accomplishments can erase all the hurt that was caused by countless overt aggressions and micro-aggressions by ignorant, racist people). Now as an adult, I realized the mistake my parents unknowingly made in teaching me to be an obedient child. That is, my inner voice was traded for approval from my parents, my teachers and authority. Growing up in the U.S., it was difficult to speak up to defend myself in many settings. For example, in high school (early 90s), a white male teacher allowed kids in my class to share racists jokes against minorities, and I was so uncomfortable and refused to participate while students around me laughed. Yet, I didn’t speak up against that teacher because of the power dynamics of teacher and student relationship and the ingrained respect I must show my teacher. Thinking back to that time, I can still recall the awfulness I felt in my chest and stomach. I regret so much not speaking out against it. I am now a mother, and I am teaching my girls that their voice matters, that their opinions matter as much as their parents or any person, even if that person is the President of the United States. They are allowed and encouraged to disagree. My hope is that they will use their voice to speak up for themselves and for anyone who experiences any form of racism or aggression. Their voice is their power.”

(Photo by thepurrstlady.)

Note: If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We recommend only products we genuinely like. Thank you so much.

  1. Jill says...

    Breasts and Eggs is soooooooo good!!!!!

  2. Ruby says...

    On the “where are you from” question: when it’s from a stranger who’s not remotely invested in getting to know me, but just wants to put me in some convenient (for them) box, it’s annoying.
    What is really offensive is the follow–up “no, where are you REALLY from” question. It implies that I didn’t answer it correctly the first time and that I was trying to fool them (or kid myself).
    It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who gets asked this (every single time), but I really wish this kind of questioning wasn’t normalised.

  3. Anon says...

    I loved reading the comments to the “what is your ethnicity” question! I am fairly tall, blonde, and blue-eyed and I get this question ALL THE TIME. It was even more common with my birth last name, which was fairly unusual – now I have my husband’s German last name, so I think everyone just assumes I’m of German descent (which was a common guess even before I got married).

    I think Americans, living in a melting pot, are just super interested with ethnicity. My husband is almost 100% Mexican but has unusual coloring (dark skin and red hair/freckles). He gets asked “what ARE you?” most often by non-white people, which I find amusing. It’s like white people are comfortable asking another white person this question, but are nervous about potentially offending a non-white person due to comments like these.

  4. Oneida says...

    I hope maybe this could be helpful for those asking questions about asking “what are you” or “where are you from”? It is true that asking “where are you from?” can have different meanings, especially when considering intent. But it’s also true that sometimes it is a veiled “othering” even when the intent comes from ignorance. The big question IS about intent – why do people want to know? Does it matter where I am from more than someone else? Or do you genuinely want to connect with me? Can I even ask that question without sounding horribly rude? My parents are from Taiwan, my dad is of Chinese (Han) descent and my mom is of Chinese (Han) and possibly some Japanese descent (just even navigating whether to say I am “from” China or Taiwan is a whole other subject – oof!). I was born and raised in the United States. I’ve had many varied experiences of this subject except for direct physical violence (though my sister may have – I was young so I don’t 100% remember if it was racially motivated). I, like some others who have commented, have always met the questions with kindness and a smile, assumed the best of the person, shared openly and taken it as a learning opportunity for both them and myself. But I also know many have experienced real trauma and/or exhaustion and frustration that comes from these kind of questions or is triggered by this questioning, and that is very valid. That said, I 100% support and appreciate people wanting to learn how to navigate their questioning to the same extent that people have had to navigate their answering.

    I love to ask about people’s ethnic or cultural background but I’ve found using clearer language helpful. For example, if I want to know, I ask, “What is your heritage? Can I ask what ethnicities you are, I’d love to know more about your background.” I find that people of any race can answer that question. I’ve found most people will proudly share about their cultural heritage, their mixed race, their parents’ immigrant story, etc when questions are posed like this. You could even ask “Where is your family from?” And if they don’t share about a different culture other than from the US or don’t offer more, then that also shows us what boundary is appropriate in that situation. My husband, who is white (or, as he likes to say, European-American) would and could answer those questions as easily as I could (though his answer does get muddled in Europe at some point). Conversely, I could ask him “where are you from?” and he would say “Idaho” and I would accept it. It’s when people asked “where are you from?” and I say “Arizona, but I was born in Connecticut” and they refused to accept it that things got…well, weird, and honestly sometimes aggressive as the person got frustrated at me for not understanding their meaning. For me, living in an almost all-white space for a lot of my life, I didn’t see my otherness. There was no mirror that I could see myself as “other” in until someone pointed it out. So I had to learn that that question for me was different, and was shocked the first few times bc I was honestly confused why my answer wasn’t being accepted (I was young for most of this confusion). I learned to gently say, “oh I was born in the US but my parents are from Taiwan,” to let them know I knew what they were asking but I myself was not from Taiwan. Again, if I asked my husband “what are you?” he probably would give me the same look I give people when they ask me that – confusion. It is very hard to read intent, especially from strangers or even close acquaintances, so those questions can miscommunicate the intent even if it is genuinely curious or meant to connect. Or, if all else fails, I just appreciate when people say, “I don’t know how to properly ask this, but I genuinely want to know more about you…” Because, honestly, I get it wrong when I ask people too! This kind of communication goes a long way and I appreciate so much the CoJ comments asking, which is why I wanted to give my (long-winded) answer. I can only speak for myself, but I hope this helps someone!

    • Susannah says...

      Very helpful, thank you for taking the time and thoughtfulness to share this

  5. Kiki says...

    As someone who looks full Asian and not mixed, I think it comes down to a question of intention for me. “Where are you from” makes me wince because it implies that I’m not from America, but I think asking “what is your heritage/ethnicity” or something along those lines is not offensive when the person asking the question is curious and would like to learn more about my background. It is natural to be curious about people’s backgrounds, but this question of course comes up more for those who do not look white, so I can see how it is sensitizing for another Asian American with different experience than me.

    What could make the question less sensitive is if you introduce your heritage as well. E.g., “I’m half Irish and half English and I love learning about others’ heritage. Would you mind sharing your heritage/ethnicity?”

    We are all human and do not ask things perfectly well 100% of the time; and I think most of us will understand if the question is phrased awkwardly as long as you are being kind and genuine. That said, some people have had terrible experiences for looking different, so please be kind and do not fault them for being sensitive to these types of questions.

  6. katie says...

    Those wondering about Olivia’s comment. It was answered the first time. Her friend said she was from Massachusetts. This man didn’t accept that answer because of the color of her skin. Not cool.

    Sure, it’s probably ok to ask about someone’s cultural background in the right circumstances. This situation wasn’t that and this doctor was being a jerk. He had no right to continue asking once she answered her truth.

    Do better. Be better. Context is important.

  7. Sara says...

    Im disappointed COJ removed the Emily Oster article.

    I have been very careful the past year, and have taken all pandemic precautions seriously. My daughter’s school recently returned to in-person and we chose to keep her home for distance learning – partly for consistency in routine, but mostly because I think it makes more sense to wait until all adults have had the opportunity to be vaccinated.

    That being said, I think the Emily Oster article was interesting and a valuable perspective.

    The things she is talking about are in the future. Not now. She also mentions that this all assumes most adults are vaccinated and travel restrictions, etc will be eased at that point. She isn’t telling every family to hop on a plane today and gallivant maskless and unvaccinated in some busy, tourist destination.

    Also, as a parent of two young kids, the things she brings up have been on my mind A LOT. Once my husband and I are vaccinated, are we really supposed to keep our kids sheltered indefinitely? How long? Another year? Two years? I will do it if that is what is required, but is it? Will it be? If they are going to school in the fall and there is only a 3 foot distance requirement now, is traveling on a plane any more dangerous?

    Reading the statistics Oster provides in this article gave me hope. Knowing my unvaccinated kids have approximately the same risk factor as my vaccinated mother gives me a feeling of a weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m not ready to go back to “normal” now, but even that little glimmer of hope that we will be able to have a little adventure at the end of this long pandemic season feels so, so good.

    • Becca says...

      Consider following epidemiologists such as the ladies from Dear Pandemic to get your information that way. They know their stuff and have been answering a lot of questions regarding unvaccinated kids and how to handle that issue.

  8. Olga says...

    I’d like to ask this as honestly and respectfully as I can, please help me learn, and be assured I mean no harm. I’m Jewish and was born in Lithuania and started my life as a Soviet citizen and live in Israel today–these are the cultures I can share about. How do I ask respectfully about the cultures people around me can share? Sometimes, superficial things hint at a background I know nothing about and would love to remedy that. But is there no way to ask about that while still being respectful and not making assumptions? Thank you to anyone who explains.

    • Anie says...

      I think what you said, not making assumptions, is the biggest thing. Also not abruptly asking random strangers or new acquaintances, especially PoC ones, where they are from or other potentially invasive q’s about their background- it can be very othering. I guess just understanding that our curiosity about other cultures isn’t a passport to ask whatever want whenever we want, instead let people open up about themselves on their own or ask in an appropriate setting when you can sense the other person may be willing to share.

    • AB says...

      Olga, you are obviously a lovely person who wants to learn and love, but as someone who hates this question my answer is: don’t ask – if they want to tell you, they will. If they bring it up, I think it’s fair to ask some probing questions, which I think you’d do in a gentle way. I come from people that were the subject of what we believe to be genocide. I HATE being reminded of that, and othered in my workplace, in the shopping centre, at weddings etc. It is truly horrible. We don’t have a right to information about others and my suggestion would be to be mindful of that.

    • Annie says...

      I think you ask about the person – get to know him/her/them, and then conversation opens up about experiences and journeys. Curiosity born out of kindness can be a beautiful thing — just ask…tell me about yourself.

    • Char says...

      Like yourself, explaining where I am from is a long story. I am a Chinese Malaysian New Zealander living in Wales. I like to ask ‘Have you lived here all your life?’ Then I share my background, if the other person doesn’t mind a conversation about their heritage they elaborate in their answer and it can open up meaningful dialogues. I think it’s about being respectful and offering a conversation rather than forcing a one sided interrogation or implying that someone is a stranger in your country.

      Growing up in NZ my sisters and I had the ‘where did you come from’ question asked often and so abruptly, it was triggering. My sister as a child used to reply ‘from my mummy’s tummy, what about you?’

    • Stella says...

      honestly, someone will tell you their ethnicity or nationality when they want to! Until then, it’s none of our business! Sometimes I think people feel entitled to know where people are from or where their family is from, but that’s not true. So I don’t think there needs to be an alternative to this question because we don’t need to demand this information from people, it’s not necessary, they will tell you if they want to.

    • Kiki says...

      Hi Olga, Thank you for raising this question. It is a little different for everyone, but for me, depending on the context, I would not be offended if a friend/acquaintance introduced their own heritage first and then asked about mine. E.g., “ I’m Jewish and was born in Lithuania. I love learning about others’ heritage. Would you mind sharing your heritage/ethnicity/background?”

      I think it’s the phrasing “where are you from” that is troubling for many minorities, because the question implicitly assumes that the minority is not from [America, UK, etc.]. Introducing your own background when you ask the question is helpful because it shows that you aren’t asking just because someone looks different from the majority, you are asking because you have a genuine interest in everyone’s heritage.

      The question I would ask yourself is, do you ask everyone this ethnicity question, or only people who look different from the majority? And it’s ok if your answer is the latter. I just ask that you understand in that situation why someone would be sensitive—because every time they are asked, it is another reminder that they are different.

    • Olga says...

      Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond. I’d like to make it perfectly clear that I don’t feel entitled to any information just because I’m curious, nor do I ask perfect strangers where they’re from (while in Israel a large majority were born somewhere else and the question is a bit less presumptuous, it is still an assumption and I’m not in the habit of making those).
      But there comes a moment when you’ve been talking to someone and it seems right to ask them about their heritage, and that’s when I need to know the nicest way to say things. Some of you have offered those and I appreciate that.
      Growing up Jewish in Lithuania, I’ve had variations on the “so do you eat Christian blood” conversation, and anti-Semitic slurs are very deeply ingrained in the local language (f. ex. people will tell each other not to be “so Jewish” , meaning stingy). The last thing I’d want is cause others that insult.

    • DP says...

      Hi Olga, I appreciate the thought you’ve given this. Frankly, as a biracial woman who gets this question all the time, I find it really exhausting to answer and, as others have advised, prefer people just not indulge their own curiosity. It almost always makes me feel objectified, devalued, and hurt.

    • Kiana says...

      Olga, thanks for your lovely question! I think a lot depends on your tone and why you want to know. I have a unique name so whenever I introduce myself, I often hear, “What an interesting name! Where are you from?” I also sometimes get asked where I’m from when people hear me speak because even though I was born and raised in America and usually speak without any accent at all, I can sometimes code-switch and sound like I have a Spanish-inflected English.

      Personally, I think I’ve only really felt put on my guard whenever a stranger asks me where I’m from. But again, it’s the why and the tone. If it helps, try to think about being a vegetarian or vegan and someone you meet at a party asks why you are a vegetarian. If the person’s tone is neutral and kind, it’s probably because they genuinely want to hear you talk about your reasons. Maybe it’s a lifestyle they’ve been reading about or considering. However, if you’re at a party and someone says, “Why are you a vegetarian?” in a hostile way, you can pretty much assume they’re only asking so they can be obnoxious.

      Hope that helps you and thanks CupOfJo for opening up these spaces for us!

  9. Susan says...

    To Olivia and her friend – I have heard those questions many times, usually phrased as “what are you?” As a teenager living in a suburb of Boston, I was asked many times by classmates at my new school if I am Chinese. At a dance at a prep school I was asked if I am Hawaiian. As an adult living in the SF Bay Area, the question now includes Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander nationalities, Asian nationalities and Middle Eastern nationalities (my daughter has a Persian name, Leila).

    When I look in a mirror I think that I look like my Irish American grandmother – round face, tilted nose, fair skin, blue eyes and chestnut brown wavy hair, so not Pacific Islander, Asian or Middle Eastern. In fact, I am one quarter Irish American, English American, Scots Canadian, and French Canadian. My French Canadian grandfather said that we had First Nations ancestors, and I could see that in my father – high cheekbones, jet black straight hair, and brown eyes shaped like mine. I’ve always assumed that my First Nations heritage was the source of “the question,”
    but no one ever has asked if I am Native American.

    In California the question comes from people of many nationalities and skin colors. I’ve learned to see it as human curiosity. I’ve found that turning the question around to ask the inquisitor what he/she is generally opens up a conversation. I learned that the family that runs my local copy shop is Iranian, and their help and kindness is a blessing in my life. They take a genuine interest in my daughter, who uses a wheelchair, not just out of curiosity, but because their son was beaten up for being Iranian and left with permanent physical and developmental disabilities. We share a challenging experience in life and give one another support, which I value.

    My most illuminating moment with “that question” occurred when I took my two young nieces to visit my daughter in the hospital. A nurse working with my daughter ask what my nieces “are.” The nurse looked Southeast Asian to me and she was working with my daughter, so I told her my nieces are half of the nationalities that I have and half Philipino American. She beamed at the girls, “My mother always says the mixed babies are the prettiest.” I could not disagree – my nieces are gorgeous.

    So just to say that many people ask the question without ill intent. And they will happily tell you about their background. I prefer to meet the world with kindness, but if I am having a bad day or a busy day, I don’t take time for the conversation.

    I’ve wondered if this is an American phenomenon. Our bloodlines are so mixed and mixing more ever year – is that the basis for the question? Or do other countries ask the same question? Perhaps Cup of Jo readers will know…

    • Katha says...

      Dear Susan, I can only speak for myself but these questions about ones ethnical backround have always striked me as odd and I think this might be a very American phenomenon.
      I am German and I live in Berlin. I know that racism is a problem here and that people who look “different” do get asked the “where are you from” even if they are German. I know I don’t get asked these because I am white.
      But the racist motive aside we do not ask these questions. Like it never occurred to me. I never had this conversation with anyone.
      Maybe there are other German readers here to correct me.

      E.g. when you say you are one quarter Irish American. Does that mean that your grandmother was Irish? Or was her mother? And if her grandmother was Irish then how is that still part of your identity if you grew up in America a couple of generations later?
      It’s an honest question and I’m sorry if I seem rude. I really don’t mean to be. I’m just curious.

    • Genevieve says...

      I think phrasing is important here. When someone asks me “where are you from” or “what are you” I feel offended. I am a human being (not a “what”)and people shouldn’t assume that you aren’t American just bc you’re Asian or non-white. But also even if you didn’t, if I don’t know you I don’t necessarily feel like talking about it with you. If you asked what is my racial background I might be open, but I also might not. Like you I am half Filipino American and that’s fine that you like sharing your race with strangers but not everyone feels the same as you and even if it is for the purpose of complimenting our looks. It highlights how we stand out, our vulnerability and our marginalization.

    • As a mixed person, I just want to gently push back on the “mixed babies are the prettiest” comments, which I’ve heard all my life. It no-so-subtly implies that POC are better looking when they look more white. This article has a good background on the fetishization of mixed people: https://madamenoire.com/1015810/obsession-with-mixed-race-children/

      I understand it’s often meant as a compliment, but personally, I’d rather not have to deal with any questions/comments from strangers about my race.

  10. Carleigh G says...

    I’m on such a roll with reading lately too. I’ve been taking your recommendations, Between Two Kingdoms and Consent were so good! Anyway hope you keep the recommendations coming, or maybe a Cup of Jo book club!?

  11. Courtney says...

    I’m genuinely looking to be educated here and not to offend.
    I understand that the assumption that “you’re not from here” is offensive and ignorant, but is there an acceptable way to ask someone what their ethnicity is? Sometimes I see a beautiful person who doesn’t look like anyone I’ve met before and I genuinely wonder. Is that something I should just quietly wonder to myself or is there a respectful way to ask?

    • leigh says...

      I am Filipino but don’t pass as such. A simple “what is your ethnicity?” is totally fine with me! This will be the best bet because it’s also more clear and respectful than the other questions people generally ask.

      I know a lot of people are genuinely interested in my ethnicity so I don’t mind the questions at all and I actually really enjoy when people try to guess it, most people can’t and I don’t take any offense when they can’t.

      “What are you” for sure not the way to go, and I will always respond to “where are you from” with “New York.”

    • Lala says...

      I am of mixed race and was born and grew up in a predominantly white state. Growing up i was constanly asked where I was from. I never took offense. I knew they were asking what my ethnicity was out of curiosity. I would answer franky: I was born here but my mom is from the philippines. I felt proud of that fact; I liked having a different look and my experiences growing up were very positive. But I know that is not the case for everyone. I personally don’t have a problem being asked as I genuinely feel most people are just curious. I too have been curious when I see a fellow mixed race person and have even asked what their ethnic background is. But now after reading all these comments, I honestly don’t feel comfortable asking that question anymore as the last thing I want to do is make someone feel like they don’t belong!

    • AB says...

      Courtney, I’ve answered this above: don’t ask – if they want to tell you, they will. If they bring it up, I think it’s fair to ask some probing questions. I come from people that were the subject of what we believe to be genocide. I HATE being reminded of that, and othered in my workplace, in the shopping centre, at weddings etc. It is truly horrible. We don’t have a right to information about others and my suggestion would be to be mindful of that.

    • Erin says...

      Courtney, my take on this question is that, with a stranger, it’s rude to comment on any aspect of their physical appearance that was not obviously their own choice. Saying “What a cute raincoat you’re wearing!” is great, since the person presumably picked out their own cute raincoat. But commenting on a stranger’s ethnicity, height, body shape/weight, skin color, etc. etc. etc., is likely to make the recipient uncomfortable, regardless of your intentions. Just skip it.

      I say this as someone whose body shape drew a LOT of comments from strangers when I was younger. I was a really skinny teenager, not because I had anything “wrong” with me; it was genetic. Explaining that to “nice people” who were “just curious” got REALLY, REALLY OLD. I did not enjoy having it pointed out to me that I looked different from people around me, and I think it’s a safe bet to assume that nobody enjoys this experience.

      You may think “Oh, it’s just one comment, and I don’t mean any harm,” but the recipient of your comment has likely heard the same thing over and over from so many different people, and the accumulated weight of all that curiosity gets to be a lot to bear.

    • Genevieve says...

      If it’s a stranger you might just quietly go on your way. Honestly what does it matter to you what race they are regardless of their beauty? I understand your curiosity, which I relate to living in a big diverse city, but I don’t ask every stranger that I can’t identify “what they are”. If you must ask, it’s better to say: what is your racial background? If it’s someone you think you will eventually get to know, then perhaps wait until you’re more familiar with them.

      Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who is constantly asked what their race is, especially if they’re living in a primarily white area. You yourself may have good or harmless intentions, but your question has the potential to put people on the defensive when you open with a question about their race when they don’t even know you.

    • Emily says...

      Why do you need to ask that? Why do you feel the need to know someone’s ethnicity because “they are a beautiful person and I just want to know”?

      Instead it comes across as if you don’t see this individual as a person but rather an object. An accessory, a work of art, where you get to know all the details of the painter so you can purchase it for your home.

      It’s one thing to be someone’s friend and have them chose to share these details with you. But please don’t think of people as beautiful objects who you get to demand details of just to satiate your own curiosity.

    • Stella says...

      I think you should quietly wonder to yourself. It’s still otherizing even if it’s coming from a place of admiration. People will tell you their ethnicity when they want to, when you’ve built a relationship. Until then it’s none of our business!

    • Emily says...

      You could say, “Do you mind if I ask what your ethnicity is?” And gracefully accept it if that person doesn’t want to answer. It’s fine to wonder, but you are not entitled to that information.

    • Courtney says...

      Thank you all for your responses! I appreciate the feedback.
      I agree; the way I stated the question sounds very objectifying and selfish.
      I had edited my thoughts for brevity and chose the shortest- but not the most important- reason why I’ve wondered about ethnicity. As an immigrant of sorts myself (born in the US, living in Canada) I find it fascinating to learn where others are from and how they ended up here. But yeah, that doesn’t mean I get to ask every stranger to tell me their life story!
      This conversation has given me much food for thought. As a naturally inquisitive and extroverted person, my mom always reminded me to think twice and speak once. I think I might need to start thinking three times!

  12. M says...

    Just put Breasts and Eggs in my online hold account at the library. I’m number two in the que, can’t wait to read it!

  13. T says...

    The article by the Persian grandma is so adorably hilarious and timely because tomorrow is the Persian New Year, or Nowruz :)

    • Naseem says...

      Eide Norooz Mobarak!

      I loved the article too :)

  14. Lara B says...

    I’m a bit perplexed by Olivia’s perspective as an Asian American. I’m Asian-Canadian, born in the Philippines with my family immigrating to Canada when I was just one. In my 45 years on earth, I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me where I’m from, where I was born, where my family is from, or where my parents are from. I have never taken issue with that question as it’s a valid one. I’ve grown up to be proud of being Filipino and also adopting Canadian culture, and have never held back the fact that I come from an immigrant family. Why is there an automatic assumption that racism is always implied? Why be so quick to assume everything is about race and people are out to shame or insult you? I just feel that we need to take a step back sometimes and give people a chance – not everyone is racist and some people are just asking simple questions.

    • A says...

      Understandable but racism isn’t always explicit or with bad intentions. Do those same people who ask you “where you are from?” also ask any white-Canadian where they are from? If you told them you’re from Canada, would they accept that answer or keep digging? Are they genuinely interested in listening and learning, or do they interrupt you to throw in their own assumptions on your background or try to show off how worldly and cultural they are? Do those people, upon meeting you, show equal interest in you just as a person apart from your ethnic identity? Is it mainly white people asking you these questions? These are questions to keep in mind in these situations.

    • Polly says...

      I’m a bit perplexed by your instinct to invalidate someone else’s lived experience.

    • Kim says...

      Racism is often implied, especially int he states. Surely you’ve seen the racist headlines for the last year of Asian Americans being verbally or physically assaulted and killed. Your experience might be valid, but this comment is pretty cold considering the terrorist attack we’ve just had in the states.

    • AB says...

      Lara, you have one perspective and it is great that you personally view this question in that way. Irrespective of why people are asking, they don’t have a right to information about others. They may be several reasons why someone doesn’t want to answer their question and I hope that you can understand that many people are uncomfortable, saddened or even triggered by this question.

    • Bonnie says...

      Agreed. It seems like it would be a very strange world if we could NOT ask this question. Lots of people are just curious–they’re not asking to judge or demean. Perhaps they’ve studied in another country, or have traveled quite a bit and wonder if someone is from the place they’ve been to. I think most people appreciate and enjoy diversity (maybe I’m being naive…). My husband is from Hungary. He just looks like a regular white guy until he starts speaking. Sometimes people ask where he’s from, so he tells them. No need to be defensive or assume ill-intent on the part of the other person. Of course, it may be different when race is involved, but I can’t imagine knowing someone, even somewhat, and feeling like I’m not “allowed” to know or ask about their cultural background. People want to understand and make connections with each other. Knowing these things is just one more way to do that.

    • Connie says...

      Hi Lara,
      I’m an American-born woman of Asian descent, now with a young daughter. The reason why this question is offensive is because it presumes that I am from somewhere else, when in reality I am just as “American” as others born here. And that no matter how many generations one’s family is here, that it seems we are not, based solely on how we look.
      As a child, I was genuinely confused when I first heard this, and then realization occurred– it was because I looked “different” that it wasn’t inherently assumed that I belonged to this country. That is racism and that hurt. Hope this helps you understand this perspective.

    • Genevieve says...

      I am also proud to be Filipino and I am American but it can be the way that people ask things. It’s offensive to me if people assume that I am not American. A question can be racist and/or rude without someone wanting to shame or insult.

    • E says...

      Lara, a perspective that might be helpful: Do white people in North America get asked where they are from, or where their families are from? Rarely, and that’s because they’re a majority in most parts of Canada and the US. The fact that it would be notable/unusual to ask a white person this is revealing! It suggests that it’s a question that is only directed to people who read as “other” or “you must be new here.” After all, people with European lineage are not indigenous to the Americas, but they’re rarely questioned about it.

    • Jenn says...

      I don’t think the question is “racist” per se, but it does single out a person for a difference in their skin color which can be uncomfortable, invasive, and exhausting.

    • DP says...

      Lara B, it might be nice for you but exhausting to other people. Both can be true.

    • Lara B says...

      In response to “A” – I’m sorry to trigger you but it seems like your response is a tad angry? Yes, actually I’ve been asked these questions by POC and white people – strangers, co-workers, others parents at my kids schools, even Asian people who don’t believe I’m Filipino. And yes, it’s a conversation starter, and the person is genuinely interested in listening (seems like you are insinuating they aren’t.?). I ask whoever it is the same thing in return. Plain and simple. I too am interested in learning where someone came from and can’t assume everyone was born here.

    • Lara B says...

      Polly – I’m a bit perplexed by your need to comment and invalidate on my lived experience. I’m sorry you find it offensive that someone else has a different opinion from the original poster.

    • Lara B says...

      Kim – My comments have nothing to do with the attacks happening in the US on Asian Americans (yes, I’ve actually been following what is happening in the US as my husband is from there and we have families currently living there). If anything, I do not condone the violence or approve of what is happening. What we are discussing is Olivia’s experience with being asked “where she was from”, and my experience with these types of questions, and my interpretation of it. You may disagree, which is fine, but please enlighten me if you have been in a similar situation.

    • Kim says...

      Your post is related to the attacks on Asian Americans because that’s exactly what this post on COJ is about.

      The reason your comment upset me is because you’re asking AAs to “step back and give people a chance” while there was just a mass shooting aimed at AAs and many, many attacks on our streets daily. This isn’t the time to give the racists the benefit of the doubt. This isn’t a thought exercise. This is real life happening now.

  15. Elliesee says...

    I’m here to request a Farah Alibay interview! Here in Quebec we are all smitten with her – as an engineer at the Nasa she ”drives” the Perseverance robot on Mars.

  16. Kelly says...

    Emily Oster has been an invaluable resource to me as a parent during this pandemic. Please don’t remove an article that is full of nuance just because people panic over an over-simplified headline. It’s worth reading in its entirety.

    • Kara says...

      I recommend reviewing what the experts in the field she’s discussing are saying about the article–that they read in its entirety, not just the headline. I’m a big fan of her book “Expecting Better” and have used her framework of risk mitigation to make decisions during the pandemic (using data, facts, and advice obtained from COVID experts). But clearly she and the Atlantic missed the mark here, and I think COJ was smart to remove, even if you personally have enjoyed her other COVID commentary and found it useful.

    • Kim says...

      I read it. I still don’t think it’s a good article to share!

    • Anna says...

      Kelly – I am also an Emily Oster fan and she has been a guide through my pregnancies and now Covid with young children.

      I understand why the article is controversial and that being a child doesn’t prevent serious COVID the same way a vaccine does, but her risk assessment of the extremely low likelihood of your child spreading or contracting serious COVID appears sound.

      There also isn’t zero risk to you and your child’s well-being by keeping them out of social situations and away from extended family for the foreseeable future (particularly kids under 12, for whom there is no vaccine in the works).

      It’s not infectious disease experts’ jobs to look at those other (valid) risks and the holistic picture of a child and a family’s life. Disease experts – rightly so – look at the very specific risks of a disease like COVID.

      MIS-C is terrifying, and there are many things I do with my kids regularly (drive them in a car, take them to a pool, let them pet a friendly dog) that have an extremely low likelihood of something terrifying happening.

      Again, I understand why this article is controversial and why Joanna decided to take it down, but I do hope Oster will continue to write on COVID and kids as she has been such a light for me in contextualizing COVID risk in the context of family life with young children.

      (And, I have watched @kinggutterbaby’s Insta stories like a hawk and listened to everything Fauci has said this year! Don’t want to make it out that I do not care about what the disease experts have to say! Just mean Oster serves a different function.)

  17. Marie says...

    Hi! Thank you for another wonderful weekend post. I work as a scientist, in the COVID-19 response, and the Atlantic piece by Emily Oster is unfortunately not well-informed. Your unvaccinated child is not like your vaccinated mother/grandmother.

    While the CDC has given guidance (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html) that allows fully vaccinated individuals to visit single households (including kids), this does not mean that children are equivalent to a vaccinated grandmother. Children can still transmit, and get sick (with COVID-19 and with long term impacts like MIS-C). It also just hasn’t been long enough for us to fully understand the effects of long-COVID or other post-COVID syndromes. Yes COVID-19 in kids is more rare than in adults. Asymptomatic and symptomatic children can have significant viral loads (article here: https://jcm.asm.org/content/59/1/e02593-20). There’s a nice article on herd immunity here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-00728-2, and while I deeply respect Emily Oster’s economic training, please listen to MDs, scientists, and epidemiologists on this. I definitely don’t mean to scare anyone, but please take the Oster piece with a grain of salt. Scientists do understand that while COVID-19 seems to be more rare in children, it very much still happens. We also understand why it seems less severe in kids (has to do with differential immune responses), but we of course still have a lot to learn. She also failed to mention the B.1.351 and P.1 variants (who do show some immune evasion).

    I wish it were as simple as Dr. Oster presented, but it is not. We are all in this together–but we have to keep safe a bit longer.

  18. Aimee says...

    I’m really bothered by sharing *economist* Emily Auster’s medical advice here. She doesn’t mention kids getting diagnosed with type one diabetes weeks after recovering from COVID, like the first grader at my friend’s school. Last month the Washington Post reported that 14% of serious COVID cases resulted in diabetes. That’s a big deal. I know because my 10-year-old is a T1D, and I rely on epidemiologists, not economists, for medical advice related to COVID.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much for alerting me to this! Just removed the link.

    • Y says...

      I know right, I thought we were done with her in this arena? I mean she’s highly intelligent and all but why have so many looked to her as the expert in an area that she is most definitely not?

  19. Mary says...

    This is random: we have a “shoe birthday” each year where we celebrate everyone in my family’s birthday at one dinner and my mom buys everyone the pair of shoes of their choice. Any ideas for a “fun” pair that I wouldn’t buy myself? For reference I am a 40 year old, working mother of two who trends toward preppier stuff like J. Crew and Tory Burch.

    • Rachel says...

      I’m always eyeing Rothy’s!

    • Katrina says...

      Check out Rothys, Nisolos, or Freda Salvador!

    • Kathryn says...

      Nordstrom Rack has a lot of really cute white “lifestyle” sneakers right now that I’m eyeing for spring and summer. All the J Crew models are sporting them with shorts and dresses on the website.

    • AB says...

      I’m not sure if this is outrageously out of budget (apologies if so!) but my favourite shoes are my Charlotte Olympia kitty flats (like these: https://www.shopbop.com/kitty-flat-charlotte-olympia/vp/v=1/1506063996.htm). Both cute and preppy. I get compliments on them wherever I go and they spice up otherwise quite plain outfits. Mine are navy, as I rarely wear black.

  20. Anon says...

    Eeps, that Atlantic article has received some very strong pushback by actual public health experts! (The article is written by an economist who is very well respected in her field, but she is not a vaccine expert).

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much! I looked into it and am going to remove the link, thank you!

    • JP says...

      From what I have heard from other economists, Oster is not well regarded in her own field. And she is completely unqualified to issue public health guidance. I’m so glad that her article was taken out of the links!

  21. leslie says...

    LOVE seeing Mimi here!

  22. Kara says...

    Every COVID expert I follow is upset about Emily Oster claiming unvaccinated kids are like vaccinated adults and calling it dangerous. She’s an economist, not a COVID expert, and while her book Expecting Better is my favorite pregnancy book, I don’t think it’s smart to share this article widely. At the very least, would you add the caveat to that link that she is an economist and COVID public health experts don’t agree?

  23. Laura says...

    I feel it’s important to note, especially with travel on the minds of so MANY, that the Emily Oster article (Your unvaccinated kid is like a vaccinated grandma.) has been condemned as misinformation by many people in the field of infectious disease and epidemiology.

    Some notable examples:
    Dr. Tara Smith:
    https://twitter.com/aetiology/status/1372909298628583427
    and Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS:
    https://twitter.com/jessicamalaty/status/1372922123216293888

  24. Rebecca says...

    I love Emily Oster and appreciate her science and data driven approach to many topics. Thanks for linking her article on kids and Covid. For expectant and new moms, I can’t recommend Expecting Better and Cribsheet enough! With so much misinformation and outdated information about pregnancy and early parenting, her books have helped me arm myself with science driven information to make my own decisions about topics that are often way more nuanced than presented to new moms.

  25. Angela says...

    Jo, your blog is my favorite place on the internet, and I really appreciate the work you have been doing recently, this week in particular. But highlighting Oster’s messaging seems way off from the usual care and thoughtfulness. This is an economist who has been giving medical advice all pandemic long, often ignoring racial and class disparities in the effects of Covid. There are many a Twitter thread out there breaking all the things she gets wrong/leaves out of commentary like the article linked here. By all means, let’s get kids outside and socializing, but her lens is not an informed or scientifically based one.

    • Y says...

      Yes!

  26. Kate says...

    The premise of The Atlantic article by Emily Oster is, of course, tantalizing. I follow Jessica Malaty Rivera, the Infectious Disease epidemiologist on Insta/Twitter (@jessicamalaty), and of the article she says “This is article is a dangerous misrepresentation of vaccines and immunity, which are topics entirely outside EO’s expertise.” I find following her so helpful as I try to interpret and assess COVID/vaccine-related news.

  27. laura says...

    Omg please also look up @erikaxpriscilla and her influencer impressions. So funny

    • Agnes says...

      And @hayderz, he kills me, I saved his beach waves tutorial so I can laugh anytime I want!

  28. jill says...

    Hi, I wanted to let you know that the assertion an unvaccinated child is like a vaccinated grandparent is very problematic. Many infectious disease MDs are pointing out that some children have become very ill from COVID-19. Some are sick with MIS-C even after seemingly mild COVID-19 infections. Also children may be more at risk for spreading variants via asymptomatic spread. Also in vaccine trials, no vaccinated adult was hospitalized or died from COVID-19. That is not true of children who have had the virus.

  29. Emily Crowder says...

    Ack! I like Emily Oster’s books a lot, but she is not an immunologist and should definitely not be giving wide swaths of people advice on how to navigate the world with their unvaccinated children. They are not *basically a vaccinated grandma*. Please find some scientifically-sound resources about this: Laurel Bristow (@kinggutterbaby) and Jessica Malaty Rivera (@jessicamalatyrivera) are both on Instragram and are wonderful, accessible founts of knowledge.