She’s Vietnamese (I’m sure y’all guessed that right), a nail technician, as mentioned, and has been living in the United States for most of her life. She also has a double Bachelor’s degree. Yes, a double Bachelor’s degree from University of Dallas and University of Texas at Arlington, no less. It’s pretty outstanding, eh? Well, yeah, super outstanding. Actually, it’s beyond outstanding, considering the fact that she’s doing my nails on a periodical basis. It’s quite a shame. I am honestly embarrassed to be paying her $5 tips for every manicure session we have. Because, truth be told, she could be in a laboratory right now, figuring out a way to cure STD, and, not to mention, earning bazillions of greens every year. So I became inquisitive with her—unhesitatingly, I might add. I asked her, “What the hell are you doing here?” I can’t remember exactly what she replied to that, but to get you to the bottom of it, she exclaimed that it’s mainly because of her thick, nasally, won’t-go-away Vietnamese accent.
How pathetic, right? So I began to rant to her face.
“Sheryl, you can’t be doing my nails forever.” She can only give me that "you’re right" grin that’s lightly concealed by her face mask. I started nagging her, like my mom does to me, about her rights as a citizen, and that she deserves to do more than just cleaning out cuticles. But I failed to make her realize something. Perhaps, after years of trying to prove her place, she just gave up on it—which is sad and utterly unjust.
Again, how does a Biology and Information Technology graduate end up in a saggy white uniform with a bottle of acetone? It’s simple. Racism, my friends. Racism, bigotry, prejudice, whathaveyous. Old, white, and narrow-minded people spearhead the corporate and medical fields in this country, which doesn’t make it any more surprising that they’d neglect a thick accented Asian girl an opportunity for a newly graduated blonde bombshell (who, for all we know, failed Math—twice!). That’s why I’ve always been very assertive when it comes to guarding my own color. It seems to be a hard task, but it doesn’t become second nature anymore when you feel like somebody is putting you down just so they can act a certain way to feed their dinosaur-sized egos. Sheryl, on the other hand, doesn't have the guts to do that. For one, she feels like her race owes a lot to this country, and two, that she doesn’t deserve her achievements after all. Very much the wrong mind set. But who am I to push her to do something that she’s not yet ready to confront?
It’s always a pleasure to have Sheryl do my nails. But even if she’s the best manicurist in the world, I still hope that one day she wakes up and decides that being Vietnamese, being Asian at that is no longer a hindrance for her to live her dreams.
But for the mean time, enjoy my big fat nails. You too, Linda! ;-)