I’ve gotten back to reading blogs on a pretty regular basis but I must say I miss the verve and drive to post lengthy, regular posts that I once had. I suspect much of this has to do with the fact that I’m no longer bridled with many, many hours in which to mull, marinate, and otherwise mentally work on things to write. And it’s not even that thinky-things aren’t happening. It’s just that a lot of them are tricky things, things that need a lot of thought and pondering before I share them with the world.
Now that I’ve opened with that, let me give you an idea of what I’m talking about. I’m going to try to remain fairly obtuse… we’ll see how it goes. Note that none of this is anything solid, it’s just some stuff that’s been on my mind.
I grew up with an ethnically identifiable last name. Three of my four grandparents are first generation immigrants and two still have strong family ties back to the homeland. (They’re all still living, by the way. I have awesome genes.) As a result, I grew up with a strong ethnic identity that, while mixed, featured distinct ethnic backgrounds.
Note that I use the past tense on this. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until that last sentence, but there’s a reason for it.
My maiden name is Hispanic. Thus, I identify(ed) strongly with a Hispanic ethnicity. (Irish was another strong one, in case you were wondering.) Since marrying (and taking a decidedly NON-Hispanic last name) and moving to the US Southwest, however, I have been taken to task on several occasions for identifying as Hispanic. Sometimes I’m (rightly, I think) forced to deal with the ways I flip-flop between “white” and “Hispanic” without considering the implications of those moves, especially in such a racially segregated region.
But sometimes it’s less intellectually and personally challenging and more straight up ignorant and mean-spirited. Like when a classmate opens up on me for my interest in Dia de los Muertos…
It’s not your holiday.
…or an HR rep at work cracks jokes about the legitimacy of my heritage…
What are you this week, Puerto Rican?
I don’t have answers for all this. I don’t think they exist. It’s good that my “claim” to Hispanic ethnicity has been challenged – I’ve used it for affirmative action bonus points and street cred more than is necessary. With that admission also comes my adamant, steadfast belief that I’m solid in my ethnic identification. The fact that my ethnicity doesn’t fit neatly into the boxes on Census forms or into the definitions created by my coworkers or classmates doesn’t mean I’m wrong.
That’s something I’ve been marinating on.
Part two, Infertility/Kids/Pregnancy, tomorrow. If I remember to post it.