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Originally Posted by Karen Salt View Post

But who are you? When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you with eyes full of wonder, mystery, and knowledge? If you had to describe yourself, what community, race, or cultural terms would you use for yourself? 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?

What would happen to your experience of your life, if all the names, origin-stories, history, and information you had collected to clothe yourself in the knowledge of 'who you are'... turned to smoke? How would your life be different?

It's taken me 31 years to establish, finally, that my concept of who I am is a transient thing, due largely to my inability to secure a firm perception of that very information that most here (and in the world at large) take for granted.

I am the product of an Artificial Insemination, 1975, in Montreal Canada. I was born in Calagary to my Irish/Canadian, Catholic-rasied-ex-communicated mom, and her husband. They divorced 2 years later, and I was raised in Oregon, after 4, by my mom and my Jewish-by-descent/Atheist Dad, who adopted my bro & I.

I'm still a Canadian Citizen, with permanent residency in the states (or at least until we move outta country...).

I declared as a Baha'i 3 years ago.

I find it striking that the questions refer to how we perceive ourselves, and how we think we are perceived by the 'world at large', and for me that's tough. I've no familial history to speak of, save vague references to coal-miners and Irish immigrants to New Foundland and Nova Scotia. My mother does not know the nationality of the donor... her case was one of very few, when the procedure first became publically available. I will never know my ethnicity.

I am armed with an array of jokes and redirection from questions re; nationality or race.

I was not made aware of the circumstances around my delivery unto the earth, until I was almost 20. I thought one thing the first 20 years... and then poof! Smoke...

I am only now beginning to realize that my perception of myself is malleable and dependant upon the input of others... and I don't always care much for what others see at first glance. I think others see a short, heavy-set, dark-haired, long-nosed, green-eyed, pale-olive skinned (but winter's over, and we're going to Hawaii in 2 months!) busty woman. I don't look much like my family, tho now that my bro and I have both gained some weight,we look more alike than we ever did as children. I know that white folks see me as darkish-white, "There's something there..." people say as they peer a little closer, at my nose, at the dark around my eyes and in the hollows of my cheeks... "Greek? Middle-Eastern?" I dunno. I think the majority of people would just say white. Sometimes I put "Other" in the box on the form, since I don't know. I'm thinking about trying a different nationality each year, see which one I like best. This year, so far, maybe it's Irish/Greek. I think next year I'm going to say Irish/Czech.

Anyway, as someone who is perceived socially as predominantly white, in a white-dominated society, I don't feel like my view of race, my experience of race in this culture, has much audience, nor should it, according to some.

FWIW, as a meditation guide and spiritually journeying Woman, I feel that I chose this experience, because this is what I needed to learn about. I often joke to friends in my Circle that in a previous incarnation, I was a Jet African Nomad-Shaman; and a chubby white girl in an affluent society came to me in a vision and gave me my path... Now, in my meditations, I see that Shaman self. I am both of them! I am Baha'i, we are all One People.
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