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In the discussion thread: I am Latina but pass as White [View all]

Response to monicaangela (Reply #136)

Tue Oct 27, 2015, 10:48 AM

141. It is an interesting question.

 

Thank you for the link.

This is just my opinion and it is based on emotion, only..

I think if you feel the effects of your ethnicity, then it is your ethnicity.

My grandfather was born on the reservation in WI. His parents died by the time he was 7. He went to Indian School, which was pretty horrific in the scrubbing of tribal identity. (my brother found an article describing the intent and reality of Indian School--see the movie Rabbit Proof Fence-Au. it is pretty similar) My grandfather worked the summers on a local farm. He talked about being beaten if they didn't work hard enough. He ran away from school at the age of 16 and joined the Navy. This was 1919, Native Americans weren't citizens until 1924. He never went back. He was extremely abusive to my father who continued the cycle. When grandfather was close to 80, he lived in a vet home in Minneapolis. My brother decided they should take the day and go to Ashland WI and see the Rez. They weren't but 20 minutes in the car when my grandfather was shaking and crying. All he could say was "Bad, bad." My brother stopped the car and asked him if he wanted to go back to the Vet home. He did, and that was the end of that.

My family has felt the repercussions of being Native from the effects of self loathing and abuse that was instilled into my grandfather. I claim that ethnicity.

My grandmother came over on the train with her dad and brother when she was 3, from Mexico. She remembers her brother carrying her the 3 miles to the house they would live in. Being the only one of the family to learn and speak fluent English, she had a particular experience being Mexican in this society. Her Catholicism kept her married to a man that she would call "evil" on her deathbed. Her love and traditions are the one soft spot that I took comfort in my childhood.

My mother's people came from Ireland in 1848. The effects of famine, steerage passage and the NO IRISH allowed had all but faded. Only the drinking and the Catholicism stayed in my family dynamic . I really don't connect to that ethnicity...I just connect to the general whiteness of being in America.


Do you see what I mean? If a person feels the effects and unique experience of the ethnicity, then they are it. Being Black in this country will always, I feel, be attached to the horrific and vile history we, as a nation, has inflicted upon the race. Your family remembers the traditions and the emotions attached to those traditions from one side of the family? Claim the ethnicity. Society judges you, good or bad, claim the ethnicity. Doesn't matter, let it go and claim the generalness of it.

Funny how some will claim they are Heinz 57, but that usually just mean mixes of white on white. If they are Chinese and white mix, they then separate out the ethnicities.

Just my own thoughts.

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