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But who are you? When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you with eyes full of wonder, mystery, and knowledge?

A young pale woman with no direction for the future and no real ties to the past. I'm blonde haired and blue eyed. I probably look just like an ordinary "American caucasian person" and normally don't merit a second glance. I guess I feel like that's what I am.

If you had to describe yourself, what community, race, or cultural terms would you use for yourself?

I'm white and blonde and blue-eyed, just like my siblings, just like my parents. My mom does genealogy, and both sides of my family came to America from Europe (mostly England) in the 1600's. We've been here for over 400 years. One of my ancestors was a survivor of Jamestown. I'd like to say "I am American," but I don't feel that I can - I feel like that honor should go to the ones that were here before my ancestors were. My European heritage is so far in the past that it may as well not exist. I was also raised with no religion, so I have no religious tradition to call upon (I think that my family were Quakers until 2 generations ago). I have no larger culture to belong to than the generic "American" rootless culture and it makes me feel small and lonely and separate from eveyone else with their rich backgrounds/cultures/traditions/communities. I feel completely community-less.

I remember feeling this quite poignantly when I was at the activity fair hosted by my college my freshman year - I couldn't join 90% of the clubs since I had no heritage (for instance, the german club or the korean christians or the latinas in engineering). There are no groups for rootless, religionless white girls.

When other people or institutions in the community describe you, what racial terms do they give for the complexity of your lived experience? Do you use the same descriptions as others? If not, why do you think there are differences?

I'm white, I'm "normal." No one ever delves deeper than that.

I guess I consider myself white and "normal" too. But what is normal? It's all relative. If I lived in Japan I'd probably be anything but normal. When I was a little kid my family went on vacation in Germany, and all the Germans assumed we were little German children and were always very surprised when we spoke English. There were busloads of Japanese tourists who would want to have their picture taken with us because they thought we were just the picture of perfect little blonde-haired German children. They would even come up to us and pet our hair and coo.

I am always jealous of people that can say "I am Irish-American" or "I am Korean" or "I am Jewish." What can I say to compare? I don't have a people, I am just me - I guess I don't feel like that's enough for me.
 
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