Her Facebook friend Luke took issue with her response, writing, "I see this as a guy attempting to say hello and you swearing at him because it wasn't the sort of hello you liked."
And so Phoenix decides to take readers on a winding tour of the zillions of tiny interactions that build up over a lifetime—from the "No, where are you really from?"s to being called a chink by her high-school crush to being the butt of "Asian fetish" jokes in college. As she puts it, "All the different hellos I'd heard throughout my life." The things dudes like Luke might not know about, or might not think are relevant. The buildup of tiny things that makes some dude hollering at you in a park an act that deserves a "fuck you."
It’s possible that Luke has never heard the term “Asian fetish” or “sexual harassment,” and can’t look them up himself. I also suppose, even though he lived for seven years in China, that he doesn’t have any other female, Chinese friends he could have asked about this.
Obviously, Luke’s experience is the one that counts here. His growing up in a small village matters more than my present situation in a park in Boston. His suggestion that the guy “may have been German” is just as valid than my read of this man’s facial expression and body language, having been there, as well as having to deal with years of incidents that were depressingly similar to this one.
Spend a couple moments of your rainy Thursday afternoon reading Tso's meandering tour through a lifetime of microaggressions (what's that mean?), and you may well end up better and smarter for it. Try it.