Tuesday, March 09, 2010

#1191 How To Ask A Person's Ethnicity, Precious, Aussie Banana Undies

Show 1191 Tuesday 9 March
Watch today's show at YouTube

Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show.

Today we’re studying a scene from a movie called Precious. Actually I think the official name is: Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire, which is quite long.

The movie got a couple of awards at the Oscars: Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay.

And it looks like an interesting movie, I’d quite like to see it.

In this scene two women are talking. And one of them is a girl who has had a very difficult life and the other one is a social worker who’s in charge of her case.

And one of the things the girl says to the social worker is: What colour are you?

I think it’s normal to be curious about a person’s ethnicity, so it’s a fair enough question to ask, but the way she asks it a bit odd, she says: So are you Italian? Or what colour are you, anyway? Are you some type of black? Or Spanish?

But it made me think about the issue of how to ask someone what their ethnicity is. I searched: how to ask someone their ethnicity in Google and I read some of the blog posts and comments and it seems like it’s something that a lot of people are unsure about.

For example, if you meet someone in New Zealand who looks Asian because of their features, but they have a New Zealand accent, then they were obviously born in New Zealand or moved here when they were really young, but you might be curious about their ethnicity – well, I would be anyway, because I’m really interested in Asia, so I’d be interested in talking about that, but how do you ask?

Do you say: What colour are you?
No, I don’t think that makes any sense.

How about: Where are you from?
Well, if they have a New Zealand accent, then the answer is probably somewhere in New Zealand.

How about: Where are your parents from?
Well, their parents might be born in New Zealand too. So, that might not be such a useful question either.

So, how about directly asking: What’s your ethnicity?
I think it makes the most sense to ask directly like that. But then some people worry, is that rude or offensive.

I think if the reason why you’re asking is just because you’re just curious, then it shouldn’t be offensive. And if someone is curious about my ethnicity, then I don’t mind being asked directly.

Of course, if you have a nasty reason for wanting to know, like you say: Oh, good, you’re Korean, I’m glad you’re not Japanese, I can’t stand Japanese people – well, obviously that’s offensive.

So what do you think about this? Have you ever been worried that you asked someone the wrong way? Or do you have a preference for how you would like to be asked?


Kia ora in Stick News today an Australian underwear company has started making underwear out of bananas.

AussieBum is an Australian company that makes men’s underwear.
Recently they launched a line of undies made of bananas.
The undies are made from 27 percent banana fiber, 64 percent cotton and 9 percent lycra.

And that was Stick News for Tuesday the 9th of March.
Kia ora.

What are we going to do?
How about eco-friendly something or rather... People will pay anything for that!

So can I eat him... I mean THEM?

I really care about the environment so I bought some undies made of bananas.
That's so cool! Please show me!
Damn! Wish I'd have thought of that!

Word of the Day

Today’s word is precious, which is the name of the film we’re studying today.

Precious can be used as a term of address, like the word darling.

It’s also an adjective which means loved or valued very much, like memories or possessions.

My sister gave me this ring and it’s very precious to me.

Precious can also be used as an adverb. You can say precious little or precious few.
Used to emphasize the fact that there is very little of sth or that there are very few of sth

For example: There’s precious little to do in this town.

conversations with sarah
#756 You don’t even like me

Step 1: Read Claireece’s lines.
Step 2: Repeat Claireece’s lines and talk to Ms. Weiss.

* Watch this scene here.

Claireece You don’t even like me.

Ms. Weiss Have we not been in this room together for, like, a year, discussing your life?

Claireece Does that mean we like each other, cause we discussed my life?

Ms. Weiss I can’t speak for you, I can only speak for me. And I do like you. I do.

Claireece So are you Italian? Or what colour are you, anyway? Are you some type of black? Or Spanish?

Ms. Weiss What colour do you think I am?



AussieBum - site
AussieBum - Twitter

Precious - Wikipedia


show start
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: Future Cha Cha
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

WOD start
artist: DJ iPep's
album: Home Mix 2007
track: Game Toy
from: EVREUX, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

cws start
artist: Kevin MacLeod
track: The Jazz Woman
from: Brooklyn, NY, United States
artist site

qa start
artist: ioeo
album: triptracks
track: triptrack2
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site


artist: sebteix
album: tout pour le groove
track: Sax to the beat
from: Paris, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo

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