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When you look in the mirror, who stares back at you...?

A tired single student mama, who nevertheless is joyfully optimistic at most times...

I usually note my sagging breasts and my not-quite-trim belly. I note my scars and stretchmarks, my freckles and moles, and those freaky throat / chin hairs that grow inexplicably despite my adamant plucking....

But I also see the muscles in my shoulders and my arms, from carrying my baby; the toning around my lower ribcage and belly button from so many mornings of Yoga; and the strength rippling through my legs from hot sunbaked hikes through hills and craggy leaf-littered trails.

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

I would say I am a White, Basque / Germanic hippie prairie mama, as yet without a prairie to call home...

I was raised to be extremely proud of my Basque heritage... and I grew into the idea that I could also be proud of how I define myself through my actions ~ loving parenting, political action, education, and community outreach.

My community is all White, and all poverty-stricken. The area I live in is one of the most economically depressed in the United States, and within the apartment complex in which I live, we're some of the poorest of the poor. It's hard not to define ourselves as "Oakies" / "Poor White Trash" / "Trailer Trash." We are the Working Poor, the ones who can work 7 days a week and still not earn enough to pay the bills. The ones without adequate health insurance, who have to sell drugs to get medicine for our children when they're sick. If an Anthropologist were to sit outside some night with us, as all us parents gather around outside and the kids play on the small grassy areas around the complex, they would find us to be a minefield of Weapons of the Weak.

In Orwellian terms, I suppose I could define my community as the Proles.....

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?

While I have had some people ask if I'm Italian, most other people I've spoken with ~ at work and in my community ~ just call me a Raging Hippie Liberal Feminist. Perhaps because I live in a predominately White community, most people here don't use racial terms to define other White folk. The only ones defined by their race are the few minority families; there are two or three Black families, and they're always, without fail, referred to like "You know so-and-so ~~ the Black Guy." The Mexican families are the same, only there is far more scorn directed at them..... and honestly I think they are *the* most hated group around here. There is an incredible amount of anti-immigrant ~ and primarily really anti-Mexican ~ sentiment around here. (Historically of course this is easy to explain: every time in American History that we've had socioeconomic problems, the very first step we take is to blame immigrants for our problems.
: )

I am frequently defined not by my race but by my life choices, experiences, and circumstances; when people talk about me, there is a significant amount of judgment over the fact that I am a young single mama who had her first baby in high school. But I judge myself over that too
so I don't think there are any real differences.
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