Monday, November 16, 2009

Ethnically speaking

While filling out paperwork to get flu shots, a lot of deep questions pierced my soul.

The form had me list my race. This has always been an internal struggle, especially when it says "Choose one." To choose one would be to deny the other, and that just never felt right. In the end, though, I marked the box next to the race "Asian" as i always end up doing.

Then, the form had an ethnic group category. It said:

Hispanic: Yes _ No _

Wondering why they listed ten different races but only one ethnic group, I went ahead and marked "No."

Then I was faced with the task of filling out forms for my children who cross the color spectrum. Some of my children are OBVIOUSLY not Caucasian, and to say they are Caucasian might cause them to have identity issues. The other children have such strong (and recessive) Caucasian features that to call them Asian would be laughable. So, what do I do? Mark the dark ones Asian and the light ones Caucasian? Just pick one for all of them and hope for the best? Go for the minority because they are more likely to get scholarships?

Instead, because I was not yet willing to commit to one race or the other, I answered the form as truthfully as I could.

My children are of the Other race, but they are not ethnically Hispanic.

Take that, county health department. Try making statistics out of us now.



15 comments:

Pam C. said...

I wonder what Tiger Woods chooses. President Obama? I think it's way past time to get rid of the "choose one" mentality.

Courtney said...

I agree with Pam. Why can't it be check all that apply? Let those statitions earn their degree!

Token Asian Friend said...

While taking a education course in college, they touched on the topic of race and ethnicity in the classroom. I watched a video in which they listed all the common races and ethnicities within the United States with a picture of a student of that same race/ethnicity. I was shocked as I saw a picture of a red-headed little girl with freckles on her face and the voice said, "Appalachian." I had no idea that there was an Appalachian ethnic group! I wonder if my dad is part Appalachian...

BTW, the answer to the quiz is e) all of the above. :)

five-one-and-a-half said...

I always check Asian for me but feel conflicted about the kids since they are only 1/4 Asian. Brian tries to get me to check Asian for Caleb, which is funny since Caleb looks more caucasian than Brian.

Token Asian Friend said...

Five-one-and-a-half: you and I are in the same boat, sister.

Deanna E. said...

Happy Thanksgiving to my Asian-Caucasian friend! I don't care what race you belong to...I am thankful for YOU!!!

Token Asian Friend said...

Mrs. E, I love you. Thank you! Tell the family I say HI!

Kristina P. said...

I deal with this all the time at work. We have to have race and ethnicity for stats at work.

And Hispanics fall under "White." Yep. They love that.

Brooke said...

I have a friend who has both Japanese and red-headed/freckled heritage. Does that make her Appalachian, Asian or Appalasian? =)

Token Asian Friend said...

Definitely Appalasianachian.

The Absence of Alternatives said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MandB said...

Please tell me you've read the book "Hapa."
(ooh weird, my word verification "ireba" means "if you are there" in Japanese! oooooh!)

: ) Paula said...

Ooh, I wanna read the "Hapa" book. Hapa means half. "Choose one" wouldn't fly in Hawaii, not very many with 100% [fill-in-the-blank] of any one race. Practically everybody is hapa-something!

Laughed about marking the dark ones one thing and the lighter ones caucasian. My mom, bless her racially insensitive soul (thought about typing "racist" but I suppose she's not that bad), is quick assure me that my son (who is hapa-haole) isn't only Filipino, he's caucasian, too! Phew! Love your blog, linked here from our darling TAMN. She'd check the box "other" because "fab-you-less" wouldnt't be on the list.

Token Asian Friend said...

:) Paula-you are right. TAMN isn't white, she is tan!

Ruth said...

Oh, I don't know how I missed this post, but I totally know what you mean. I usually mark Pacific Islander (when available) because most people in that category are Asian, White, and Polynesian. But what am I going to mark for my kids? I guess they'll be more Caucasian than anything else since Hispanic isn't a race!

Last week I took two online surveys. On one I marked White and on the other I marked Asian. I figure that should even out the statistics in the long run.