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I've been thinking about these questions and wondering how they apply to me, let alone how I can answer them. I don't know that I even have all that much of an understanding of who I am or what, if any, communities I am a part of. But I will try.

Ethnically, I am a basic Euro-mix American. My heritage is primarily German, English, and Irish. I have fair skin and green eyes, so I would be pretty easily identified as a person of European descent. On forms, I usually leave the "race" question blank as a matter of principle, but anyone would classify me as "white."

Culturally, I don't really identify with anything. I don't feel any particular ties to the culture of my ancestors. I am a product, for better or worse, of the larger American culture, so there's that, but I'm alienated from much of it as well. And I am a member, in one way or another, of various subcultures--the parenting subculture, the guardianship/foster subculture, the natural living subculture, the politically active liberal subculture, the homelearning subculture, the autistic/LD subculture, the traditional Christian subculture, the oversees abuse survivor subculture, the clinging-to-middle-class-ness subculture, the chronic medical issues subculture, the stay-at-home-moms-about-town-in-midmorning subculture... All of these are things that, if mentioned, cause me to perk my ears and think "I'm one of those." They are parts of my life, parts of my identity, but not the entirety of it. More than anything, I am an outsider, a lone individual, an independent.

I have become more aware of racial identity since becoming the guardian of my toddler cousin/foster son, who is half (or so) black. To us, he is one of the family, but when we're in public, the difference is conspicuous. Pale woman, pale man, three pale children, and one brown child--which of these is not like the others? It angers me that the difference is considered so meaningful. He is an oblivious little baby, but I know the day will come when he will ask why people look at him differently, and I will have to say that it's because he looks different from the rest of the family. It is so frustrating to me; I have come to hate race, just as I have hated culture since I was a teenager. I hate the divisions and limitations and preconceptions that are forced upon people. But even at the same time, I have to acknowledge that most people have strong feelings about their cultural identity.

Other people who looked at me, who didn't know me well, would, I suspect, classify me as "white American suburban middle-class housewife." And I could not dispute that. But I would not want to be limited to it.
 
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