I have a student who defines eir own life through being Asian. "Asians don't do that." "Asians wouldn't know that." This student also lobbies for an A+ (and to eir credit, actually works for it) explaining that it's because ey has Asian parents. "You know what Asian parents are like." "No I don't," I respond. Technically, I am aware of the stereotypes, but I don't want to perpetuate them, so I fiend ignorant. "If you had Asian parents, you'd understand," the student says.
Though I like this student, the constant Asian identification bothers me a bit, because I'd like to have my students see beyond their racial identities and embrace characteristics that establish them as individuals rather than just a blanket stereotype. After the student makes a comment about how Asian people "always" behave, I share my perspective. The student doesn't love it, "Oh, Mr. [Kevin], don't be jealous of Asians. We're going to turn you into an Asian." "What does that mean?" I ask. The student never really has an answer, but from time to time, ey repeats the idea that ey will "turn me Asian."
Well, the time has finally come. Two days ago, my student presents me with photographic evidence that I have been turned into an Asian:
Regardless of my personal race theories, this photoshop is hysterical. I burst out laughing. The eyes really make it look like an entirely different person. ("Whose eyes are those?" another student asks. "I don't know, some Asian chick," the Asian student responds.) It is one of the more bizarre yet amusing gifts (I say that as if I've received plenty -- not) I have ever received from a student.