The Adventures of Shen and Shasha: Dating Asian and Living in the "Hood"

9.3.11 ShaSha LaPerf 2 Comments

Currently I'm living in my own apartment in Maryland. I moved here about half a year ago. My apartment is bug free, a pretty nice size, not a bad price, and close to a Metrorail station. It's also pretty close to Southeast DC which is notorious for crime and low income and compared to other areas of DC probably has the largest population of blacks in the area. Seeing as I grew up in the ghettos of Detroit, this didn't seem to be that big of a deal to me. I'm always vigilant, but also know sometimes life is life and I can't worry every five seconds about being shot.

So there are very few groups of other people living around my area, especially not Asians.
I do know there are Asians in general living in the predominately black county I'm in including my Filipino co-worker and one of the students I worked with at my old job (who incidentally was dating a black girl). From my experiences the Asians I'd met from here were Filipinos or Vietnamese. But where I am now, I'd go as far to say my boyfriend Shen (not his real name but better than saying "My boyfriend" all the time) makes up the entire Asian population in my apartment building when he's visiting. We did see a Japanese woman with a blasian child while we were at Target once but that's the extent of Asians outside of Shen I'd spotted around here.

Shen visits me on the weekends. He lives about an hour away from me so we take turns visiting each other on the weekends. About a month ago, we were doing our usual cooking for dinner and somehow get into a conversation about the front gate of my apartment. There's a person posted 24/7 at the front gate and any visitors need to be checked in--they usually have to show their license and have their license plate written down.

So Shen was (jokingly) complaining about having to do this. Apparently, when he was visiting me before the guard simply waved him into the place. Shen attributed it to him being a "harmless looking Asian guy." Shen was right. In my predominately black neighborhood he did look pretty harmless. He definitely looked out of place there but also didn't look like he would break in and rob the place. The guard that would wave him through was replace with a new one who took down his info every time. I assume the old guard probably wave a lot of people through and was fired as a result, but I digress.

This weekend Shen came over to our place. He came earlier than usual so the guards he normally encountered where not working at the time. He tells me that the guard was about to simply wave him in...but stopped him. Apparently she assumed that he was a Chinese food delivery guy. When Shen told her he was visiting me, she got his information like she was supposed to. Shen didn't seem upset about the ordeal and found it a bit hilarious. We both started wondering if they previous guard that kept waving him through also thought he was a delivery guy as well.

That same night we went out and returned back to my place in his car. The guard spotted me in his car and she knew who I was since I have a one of the few red cars in the parking lot and I tend to come home about the same time everyday from work. So she waved us in.

Shen did joke about the WTFness of the assumption delivery guy again as we past the gate and also slipped in a naughty joke about what he's be "delivering" to me tonight. Shen is well aware of the stereotypes he has against him as an Asian man (which I'll blog about later). I've been stopped in stores as people assumed I was a worker (even when I was wearing nothing like a uniform) and remember the moment I restrained myself from slapping the hell out of that person. Shen is a lot more laid-back than I am and just didn't think too much of it outside of "no Asian folks around here, so I'm not surprised at the assumption."

But we then wondered if now that the guard sees the connection between me and Shen if she would simply wave him in next week.

Shen and I are seriously considering moving in together. I have to move anyway. I love my place and the cheap price but I got a new job and I'm driving like 60 miles a day. So I need to get some place closer to work. The areas we're considering are more diverse than where I'm living now and are more expensive, but will shave at least 20 miles off my trip to work. We haven't started visiting apartments just yet but we're curious to see what will happen when we show up together saying we want an apartment.


  1. I just moved to Baltimore. Still learning my way around and I know nothing about DC.

  2. I'm so excited I found this blog! I live in maryland but attend school in the immediate area. I'm not surprised the guard assumed he was a delivery man, because a lot of people in this area especially in certain neighborhoods only interact with asian people when they go to a chinese carry-out.