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Random Queries > How would you describe your race/ethnicity? How should people mark theirs on forms, if at all?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments An interesting article in the NY Times about the difficulty some people with forms or self-identification by race:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/...

Now, I know there's a difference between race and ethnicity, so I usually just mark whichever one means "white". But I was just in a meeting in which, for accreditation purpose, the institution for which I work struggled with this and decided to let people fill in a blank for whatever they want. For example, some people wanted a "Latino/Hispanic" category but then someone else wanted a whole list of Latin American possibilities (e.g. Cuban, Mexican,etc.). And then someone else said "well, can I mark German if I'm white?" That sort of thing. I stopped paying attention after a while.

What do you think?

I'm white, by the way, mostly German and Croatian, with Italian and some other mutt elements mixed in as well.


message 2: by Brittomart (new)

Brittomart I'm Black!


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

We never get asked these kind of questions. You are either Australian or a foreigner. What else is there to know?


message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca White (rebecca_white) | 1028 comments I'm a mongrel of various Western European ancestries, with a bit of Choctaw thrown in. Or, to make it simpler and more specific, I'm 100% hillbilly.


message 5: by Dr. Detroit (new)

Dr. Detroit | 6031 comments Gail "cyborg" wrote: "We never get asked these kind of questions. You are either Australian or a foreigner. What else is there to know?"

I like the way you think.

Irish-Italian here.


message 6: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments Gail "cyborg" wrote: "We never get asked these kind of questions. You are either Australian or a foreigner. What else is there to know?"

This is a fair question. I think explaining the role of race in America is difficult. Question, Gail...do you ever encounter forms that differentiate between Aborigines and other Australians?


message 7: by Brittomart (new)

Brittomart I remember when I was little, like 3rd grade, the "thing" between black girls was like, "Look at my hair, I got some indian in me!" My hair has never been smooth and silky, so by 3rd grade standards, it was determined that no, I have no indian in me.


message 8: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments as far as i know i'm dutch, caucasian, white, european, whatever the correct term is.


message 9: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Do the Dutch intermarry with Germans?


message 10: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments Larry wrote: "Do the Dutch intermarry with Germans?"

our queen did.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

RA that question does come up occasionally. I think for tax purposed they are given additional concessions. It is also asked on the census forms.


message 12: by Gus (new)

Gus Sanchez (gussanchez) That's a wonderful article I read yesterday, RA. Thanks for sharing.

I'm 100% Hispanic. My background is from Northern Spain (from a small village named Asturias, to be exact) and indigenous South American Indian, and my parents are both from Argentina, so there's no mistaking my heritage. Plus, my last name is "Sanchez," so...duh.

My daughter will be an interesting mix. My wife is Irish-German, and I'm Argentine, so whatever and however she would describe herself at a later age would interest me.


message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael RandomAnthony wrote: "An interesting article in the NY Times about the difficulty some people with forms or self-identification by race:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/...

N..."


Unless it's for something medical, I don't know why one's race/ethnicity is relevant. I'm white. As in never see the sun, always wear a hat, long-sleeved shirts every day white. My ancestry is Russian.


message 14: by Mary (new)

Mary (madamefifi) Irish-Scotch-English-German ancestry here, so I just stick with the generic "Caucasian". I agree with Michael, it rarely seems relevant. At work when some doc asks me who so-and-so's nurse is, I'll say "the tall one with the glasses", or whatvever, not "the tall Fillipina with the glasses".


message 15: by Suefly (new)

Suefly | 620 comments I'm pretty 'white,' or that is what I normally mark off. If it's optional, I skip that entire section. I'm only third generation American on my mother's side. Her family came to the states from Ireland right around the time of the famine, and my father's side is English-Welsh. I'm a common and dull mix, as far as those things go.


message 16: by Phil (new)

Phil | 11694 comments Mary wrote: "Irish-Scotch-English-German ancestry here, so I just stick with the generic "Caucasian". I agree with Michael, it rarely seems relevant. At work when some doc asks me who so-and-so's nurse is, I'll..."

It's relevant in many situations where bigotry and racism were/are huge and need to be addressed. The relevance is not to you as an individual, but to the greater group being queried.


message 17: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca White (rebecca_white) | 1028 comments In the south, the differences people go on about are not the differences between different sorts of Europeans, but when I lived in the Northeast, it was different.Italians, Irish, etc., there was a lot of prejudice.


message 18: by Suefly (new)

Suefly | 620 comments BunWat wrote: "Well I think that there are two things going on really. One is a question of what "race" in the sense of ancestry or genetic heritage a person comes from. That's really, to my mind primarily a me..."

Well said.


Stacia (the 2010 club) (stacia_r) Mutt.


message 20: by Spellbound (last edited Jan 31, 2011 03:31PM) (new)

Spellbound (spellboundreads) | 117 comments White. Italian. Purebred in the sense that all my known family was born in Italy. Genetically speaking, who knows? With all the invasions we've had in history I could be a mix of just about anything.

I've always found it strange when I was asked to mark it in any test/questionnaire I was doing, I couldn't quite figure out why anybody would be interested in this piece of information. Then again I was young and naive and "caucasian" sounded like a dog breed to me.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

RandomAnthony wrote: "This is a fair question. I think explaining the role of..."

Sorry I was responding on my phone earlier and didn't answer the question fully. We do get asked to distinguish between Aboriginal and "other Australians". The "other" covers everyone. There is no question of colour or ethnic background if you are an Australian citizen.

I just checked the tax forms, I had thought there was a distinguishing question on the form, between Aboriginals and other Australians, but there is not. I'm sure it was there in the past, it's been removed.


message 22: by Suefly (new)

Suefly | 620 comments Myles wrote: "White and 1/16 Pequot (not Foxwoods).

Whiteness origin in order of estimated %: Danish, Italian, German, Scottish, French, English.

I'm proud of being part Pequot, but I would never consider myse..."


Forgive my ignorance, but did the Pequot tribe extend beyond the Ct area? I always assumed they were a smaller tribe largely situated in Ledyard. Again, sorry for my ignorance, I'm just curious.


message 23: by Hanna (new)

Hanna (ohanners) | 202 comments I'm siding with BunWat and Susan. When I meet people I usually identify myself by my cultural identity as a Korean-Canadian as my biological parents are both Korean immigrants and I was raised on kimchi, blood sausages and the occasional dog soup. And I also identify strongly with my Canadian side as I embrace our values, rights and duties as a citizen (I can't really pinpoint a specific Canadian 'culture' per se...you could correct me if I'm wrong Barb, Melanie or Janice)

I'm lucky to live in Toronto where multiculturalism and diversity is such a strong asset; if you are racist or bigoted you must be from out of town!


message 24: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments White. I'm so white I check the box with a white pencil. The box I have trouble with is religion. I really am not sure what Protestant means. The only time I ever use that word is on a form that needs checked.


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I don't really know what I am, other than Caucasian. I'm adopted, and all the agency told my parents was that I'm European. Period.
I figure, that means I'm enough different nationalities that it didn't make sense to break it down. Mutt, basically.

I like Italian food a lot, and I tan easily, for what that's worth. :)


message 26: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments 94% white, 6% Algonquin, typical french-canadian. In mid 19th century america that would make me native american/Indian since 1 drop of anything other that "white" blood made you other.


message 27: by Heidi (last edited Feb 01, 2011 12:42PM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments <- ME :)      
     

      Earth-dweller
     
      Human
     
      Caucasian
     
      American
     
      Louisiana Cajun - Arkansas Hillbilly
     
      French, Spanish, with-a-smidge-of-English ancestry


message 28: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments micheles comment reminded me of the alice cooper moment in waynes world


Lyzzibug ~Still Breathing~ (lyzzibug) | 708 comments I'm a mutt, but for form purposes I'm mark Caucasian for race and Hispanic for Ethnicity. My father is Hispanic and my mother is White from Louisiana.


message 30: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) I'm Greek and American Indian...pretty much, you know, like all Americans there is a bit of this and that in there. But, my Paternal G-Rents immigrated, so I'm pretty much Greek.

I mark all forms Caucasian, it's easier than "other" and I really don't care. Greek is never an option with a tick box.


message 31: by Heidi (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments I was sooo embarrassed when I was about to start college and my dad had already filled out a form for student financial aid requesting assistance because I was a minority - Cajun. : / I actually went back to the school, picked up a blank form and filled out everything all over again, minus the Cajun part.


message 32: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Does Cajun count as a minority, like American Indian? I mean, are you? Can you get grants for that? Hell, I'd have done it!


message 33: by Heidi (last edited Feb 01, 2011 12:55PM) (new)

Heidi (heidihooo) | 10825 comments No. It doesn't count as a minority... at least it doesn't in most states outside of Louisiana. To doublecheck, I asked the person at the financial aid office about it while picking up the blank form. She looked at me like I asked a super absurd question.


message 34: by Michele (new)

Michele bookloverforever (lovebooks14) | 1970 comments If you are a certain % of native american, dartmouth is free because it was founded as an indian school.


message 35: by Meels (last edited Feb 01, 2011 01:29PM) (new)

Meels (amelia) Only works if you have a tribal # Mich. You can use your parent's or grandparent's number if you don't have one. My grandfather never got one, mom either. I was hosed there. I checked. I am 1/4 Blackfoot or something. I have a grandfather living on a reservation somewhere I've never met. Anyway, I was only bothered about it for like 10 seconds since I don't feel I'm owed anything from the federal gov't just because I happen to have ancestors that were Indians. Native American, blah blah. When did "Indian" become offensive anyway? The Indians I know up here in the good old NW refer to themselves as Indian. Is this like the "N" word only African Americans can use? (Not that I have any urge to use the "N" word...)


message 36: by Jammies (new)

Jammies I want a box for Overwhelmingly Pink Person.


message 37: by Sandysconnected (new)

Sandysconnected | 43 comments I'm porcelain. Seriously, I glow in the dark. I think I'm my own race.


message 38: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments in school everyone claimed some sort of fractional part native american. (we used to say indian) not sure 1/32 choctaw impresses anyone anymore.


message 39: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Where I went to school it was best to be part something than just "white"...

I don't look Indian AT ALL. I have the Greek hair, but even that didn't touch the skin color. My sisters and cousins are all olive skinned and tan well. They tease me and say that my skin isn't even white, it's faintly blue and I don't tan. I burn and then go white again. If it wasn't for the DARK curly hair, I'd swear I was albino. Still, there is a distinct lack of melanin. I have no idea what throw back trait I inherited.


message 40: by Meels (last edited Feb 03, 2011 08:59AM) (new)

Meels (amelia) BTW, Kev, you're going down. :)


message 41: by Kevin (new)

Kevin  (ksprink) | 11469 comments ^^^^ amelia is issuing a major league butt whuppin' on my playing words with friends


message 42: by Auntie (new)

Auntie Raye-Raye (fabulousraye) To make it simple, I'm Eurasian. Mostly European with a dash of Chinese. I usually check white, unless I'm in a mood that day.


message 43: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1107 comments Chinese with a hint of Thai, but I'd say Chinese/Asian.


message 44: by Meels (new)

Meels (amelia) Rach, you must have the most beautiful, shiny, straight, black hair! My dream hair!!


message 45: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1107 comments Hahaha, actually mine is really wavy, and no matter what I do, I can't get it to stay straight.

But yeah, I kind of like my hair, even though I sometimes wish it were a lighter shade. :)


message 46: by [deleted user] (new)

i usually just check white. but im the only irish raised in an italian/british house.


message 47: by Félix (new)

Félix (habitseven) Rachel has beautiful hair.


message 48: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) Black


message 49: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Esquire (MalcolmEsq) Amelia wrote: "Only works if you have a tribal # Mich. You can use your parent's or grandparent's number if you don't have one. My grandfather never got one, mom either. I was hosed there. I checked. I am 1/..."

Apparently you are on the wrong continent to be an Indian, so you are a race apart, so to speak. Columbus or whoever thought that they landed in India.

And then I suppose in more modern times someone/group deemed the term Red Indian or just plain Indian offensive.

Think yourself lucky. Look at the minefield it is to define a African American, as I understand is the correct term is, judging by the last inaugeration speech you had.


message 50: by Knarik (last edited Feb 22, 2011 01:51AM) (new)

Knarik I have some difficulty to choose. I am Armenian, so i am white, but then some Armenians say that we must mark Other and write Armenian in the box. But we are white, so why mark other?? I guess it depends if they ask for race or for ethnicity, which is not specified.


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