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How to answer "Where are you from?"

Hello guys,

Lucio already talked about this question that can be innocent or not. Because I have a mixed background I could feel several times that the question had a veil of racism or even about religion. In short: I am the "other" and not in a positive way. So thanks to my now increased social intelligence, this is how I answer:

Person: where are you from? (said on a not so innocent tone)

Me: I'm from [hometown in Switzerland]

Why is it powerful?

Because this question comes from Swiss people. So now that I answer this I can see that it removes power from them:

  1. It tells them I'm Swiss: I come from a different town that you but I'm Swiss. So shut the f##k up. If they follow up with a question then I can reveal their intentions: you want to know my origins?
  2. I could also see the narrow-mindedness and the undertones of competition: even when I say I come from a town 100km from there, they still try to frame me as the "foreigner".

So I'm considering the next step will be to lie: "But I'm considering myself from this [current town I don't like so much] as I've been living here for a long time".

Because otherwise they can use the frame of: "we're the locals, you're stealing jobs,women, etc." from us.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

I get people asking it.
Sometimes there is no racism in it, but the curiosity of understanding people better.

So I'd always keep that in mind, or the risk is that you will frame someone as having bad intentions,and that might not be good for you.

Most people still have that mentality that certain people / skin color "originally belong" to some specific places.

Still, even in the best-case scenario where there is no racism but just simple curiosity or interest, it still can frame the receiver as "the other".

So it must be dealt with accordingly.

Your reply is great for when you have good reasons to suspect racism or light ostracization.

But if the person was being truly curious, it might unnecessarily break rapport while you could have instead been candid, deepened the relationship, and even made yourself more interesting by adding some more about your background.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?