21 October 2008

My racial identity

Recently, for a number of reasons, I have been forced to face the issue of race as a self-identifier as well as how those around me identify themselves and are identified by others.  I've been thinking about race alot in these past weeks.  As an excercise of my own thought process, I am trying to get it all "down on paper".

It turns out that I am a minority within the minority, as if life isn't difficult enough already :), in my attempts to be and live truly colorblind.  There has been so much discrimination in my own life that I am trying to break that cycle, even if it is only in my small world of friends and family.  But is that really the case, am I really in the minority when I try to live without the initial prejudices of race.  I was recently told, by a number of people on different ocassions, that as Latinos in their initial interactions with unknown "whites" that they EXPECT to be disappointed.  They expect to be discriminated against.  They expect for stupidity in terms of racism to occur.  At the very least, these women I have been talking to are not at all surprised when it does happen.  This concept is completely foreign to me.  I am at point in my life where I don't expect anything when I first meet them.  I allow that first interaction to let me know what kind of person they are.  Apparently, I am the exception.  Being the exception to the rule, being the anamoly is something that I have come to hear often.  I am accepting it.  I am dancing work in progress.  I dare any box or pigeon hole to hold me in place for long.

Having accepted that I am the anomaly.  I have gotten to thinking.  There are questions swimming around in my head that I need to figure out.  I figure this is as a good a forum to get the juices flowing in my head.  In the next weeks, months, years, I am trying to figure out some of the following:

  • What exactly is race?  Again, I am a scientist and tend to think of race very scientifically but I know that not everyone does.

  • How do I identify my race as opposed to or in addition to my ethnicity and my religion?  I know that these distinctions are blurred and interchanged.

  • Is "Latino" a race?  Is it really true that I am only one of few who feel it is not? I have heard that there are groups of Latinos who are trying to get "Latino" to BE it's own race.  I am seriously curious to figure out what that is about.

  • Is it really possible to be racially colorblind in today's society?  Is it becoming easier?  As the distinctions between races, cultures, ethnicity, and religions are blurred by marital mixing, how important will race be in the future?

This is what races through my head as I sit in traffic and clean the house, anything that allows my mind to wander.  I know I don't live in a bottle.  People have their preconceived notions of me even though I try not to reciprocate that negatively.

These are huge ideas that I don't expect to figure it all out anytime soon.  I just want to be ready for when my future children ask me where they come from and why others may not be so accepting of them as I would hope.

To be thought on....

Catch you later.


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