I come from a land where regionalism is at its peaks. The moment I tell them that I am from a particular region, stereotyping and judgement begins. Mocking, sarcasm etc are all part of it. This is quite common at both the workplace and the apartment where I share with a few others.
On the contrary, I do not have affinity towards any part of the country. I do not get judgmental. I talk to everyone in the same manner. I am old enough to understand that this kind of mockery or coming to irrational conclusions is foolishly common. I only feel sorry for them that they are extending these views to everyone they meet rather than trying to know the person, individually.
A few incidents to cite.
When I am cooking a particular dish, there would be a taunting remark from my flatmate, as 'We don't use these kind of spices or this amount of spices'.
While I am watching a movie on TV or laptop, there would be a remark, 'I wonder how you understand this language so well.'
Or 'I have never seen anyone from your region getting dressed up like you. You are different from the rest. Where did you learn this from?'
It feels like I have to prove every single time I come across people from other regions. Probably that is what they expect me to do, i.e., give a reason or explanation to why I am being the person I am rather than accepting me for what I am.
If this is really relevant here, the answer is I am a natural at picking up things related to fashion, cooking or my diction. I do not have to struggle much about it.
Most of the times, I remain silent. I never answer nor do I tend to reply to such silly remarks. But, over the years, this has started to get overwhelming. I am sick of hearing those kind of statements. And at the same time I do not want to sound rude to them.
How can I shut down regionalist remarks without being rude?
I do not want to burn any bridges, since these people are coworkers, roommates or family. But I would really like these comments to stop.