Day 66. 160 pages, 75,630 words.
So, this one’s probably not going to be very popular, but I’m in a brown study so let’s just dive in and go for it.
 I always liked that expression. When I first heard it, I realised it meant much the same as “in a bad mood”, or at least “deep in thought and kinda not really happy”, but I couldn’t help but picture it as a guy actually sitting in a study, that was actually brown. Like, made out of poo-bricks or something. Come on, if you had to sit in a study made of poo-bricks to concentrate on something, you’d be pretty low too, wouldn’t you? Why are you still reading this, go back to the main text.
Now look. I am a white Australian. I am the last person you want to hear talking about racism and fake racism and the Not a Racist Butt. This is because the hideously ironic generalisation about white Australians is, we are all racist.
What I’m getting at is, I am Australian. I am clearly not Finnish. I have a solidly non-Finnish name and I speak English with an (admittedly Western-Australian-mild) Australian accent, and I probably speak Finnish with a funny accent too, and horrible syntax and pronunciation and vocabulary to boot. Actually there’s no ‘probably’ about it.
I don’t even look particularly Finnish, not that there’s a set and specific Finnish look.
Ohh, my bad.
If someone asks me where I am from, I will tell them, “Vantaa,” because I am a wisenheimer, but I will then chuckle and say, “but years back, I originally came from Australia if that’s what you mean.”
Because that’s what you meant.
And that’s fine! What, is it now racist to think that someone doesn’t quite sound or look like a local for various reasons, and ask him or her in a nice and friendly manner where he or she came from, in order to get to know him or her better? Fucking Hell!
 For the purposes of this blog … Local: adjective. The sort of people who typically and in the majority come from the region in which you are standing right now, regardless of whether or not that sort of people actually represents an immigrant or invading culture that displaced the technical locals hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of years ago. Make like Queen Elsa and give it a fucking rest.
Now, I know. I know. This is easy for a privileged white guy to say. I know it’s easy to say, because I said it and it was easy. I don’t get any of the negatives that stem from this conversation. If I was super-sensitive I might find something in there to take issue with – some condescension, some hint of hostility towards foreigners, I don’t know – but for the most part I don’t, because I’m part of the Lucky Demographic. My case essentially boils down to Scandinavian-on-Brit profiling, which is going to be super-mild. I know, it all gets blurred when you have a big mixed community with people from all over the place and naïve white people may not even be the majority anymore, and different reactions will apply to different cases. I know, Africans and Asians and Hispanics and Middle Easterners get questioned in far less friendly, far more judgemental, far more fraught-with-meaning ways.
I’m sorry as Hell about that.
 Boils down to, oh my fucking God do you see what I did there.
But tell me this. How exactly the fuck am I supposed to ask you about your family history and heritage? Believe me when I say I’m not asking just to place myself as a local and you as a foreigner (because that would be dumb. I am a foreigner), and I’m certainly not asking in order to place myself as a majority and you as a minority. Am I going to be punished, accused of racism, because there are people in the world who do ask for those reasons? Should I be socially muzzled? I ask legitimately and seriously, because if the answer is “yes”, then that at least would be something. I’m all about fixing the things I can fix, and “the words coming out of my mouth” would seem to be a good example. Right?
No, I’m not asking for those crappy reasons. I am asking because I’m interested. You’d better believe I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t give a shit. I am a sociable kind of guy but I don’t go out of my way to have conversations with people or learn facts about them, unless I am drunk. So if I asked, it’s because I genuinely want to know.
So what am I supposed to do?
Yes, by all means tell me that you were born and raised here. That’s fantastic. Tell me you’re fifth-generation local. That’s brilliant. So that means there’ve been Asians (for example) in this area for five generations? Pardon the fuck out of me but that doesn’t erase your beautiful and special diversity, appearance and manner. It doesn’t mean we’re all identical and have no Goddamn characteristics that distinguish ourselves from one another, and about which we could have a conversation if we both just accepted that neither one of us is trying to be a dick to the other.
What am I doing or saying wrong? Seriously. If you want me to ignore the fact that you or your family could possibly have come from somewhere else, and that ‘somewhere else’ might be cool and interesting, then fine. I will. I will do that. I’ll pretend we’re all clones. I have a decent imagination. If enough of you tell me that it’s offensive and unacceptable for me to ask about your heritage, then I will stop doing it altogether and across the board.
 And for “you”, read “Hatboy meant that in a generic sense, referring to people who have fallen afoul of casual or innocent racism and are sensitive to it and feel that they therefore have a take on this that he might appreciate hearing”. You know, or you can read it as “kinda foreign-lookin’ folks”, if you want to get in an argument. I like to argue with fucking idiots on the Internet.
 And for “board”, read “bored”.
Please don’t misunderstand. If you tell me you’re from here, I’m not going to wryly say “oh yeah, and where are you really from?”. I’m not saying “I know you’re not from around here, so how about you ‘fess up?”. In fact, if I ask you where you’re from or where your family’s from, and you say “two towns over”, that will be fine. I can take a hint, I won’t press it. It’s just … I have Lucky Demographic blindness and I don’t understand why I can’t have this conversation. If you feel it’s placing you in an uncomfortable position or putting you on the defensive, then maybe we don’t know each other well enough to be having a conversation anyway – because I would never say something to put someone in that position.
If it’s not possible to ask about the other places and cultures you might have sprung from without it being racist, is that what I need to do to help make things better? Just stop asking questions like that? Because I suppose I can do that, if that’s what it takes.
This is by no means something I only do with ‘minorities’, by the way. Nobody lives in the exact same spot the entire species evolved in. Okay, maybe if I’m standing in the Cradle of Humankind and I ask someone who actually lives there, they could say “I come from here” and arguably there’d be nothing to add. We could just high-five each other for being meta as fuck, and go back to digging up skeletons to upset Young Earth Creationists. But that doesn’t seem like a sufficiently-commonly-occurring hypothetical on which to pin a conversational standard.
 Again, I use the inverted commas because I defy anyone to find a much smaller minority than ‘Western Australian in Finland’. And if you do, I will see your feeble little minority and raise you ‘Western Australian with an arse around the front’. And fuck you very much indeed.
My point is, no matter what each one looks like, can’t two civilised people have a conversation about one another’s ancestry, without it being racist?
Maybe I could have just asked that question from the start, but we Western Australians are a wordy lot.