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hmmm . . . this is a very interesting discussion, and something i've been thinking on for some time.

as far questions of race goes, for all intents and purposes, i check the caucasian box. my mothers parents, well her father was 2nd generation italian immigrant. her mother was . . . what is called a mutt. but my family identified themselves more along class lines than any kind of race or descent. we were 'poor white trash.' you know all those jokes starting with 'you might be a ******* . . .'? those were us. as such, we were in a weird place with regards to our views on race. on one hand were people like my grandfather, who worked and lived with african americans, and loved it. he appreciated and enjoyed the different take on life. on the other were folks like my uncle, who just hated anyone and everyone. many people that i met growing up were like that. it seemed like, since they didn't have much posession-wise, that they hated anyone who did.

on my fathers side, well, they're primarily english and scottish. but for some reason, whenever i meet people, they think i'm irish. being the only fair-skinned blondish (sort of a strawberry) child of more 'italian-looking' people, it was sort of interesting to see the reactions. i look nothing like my brother or sisters. or my parents.

racism itself, well, we were taught degrees of racism. sometimes it seemed like we were around people of other race/descent because it was a good thing to do, and not because we particularly liked them as people. there was always lots of bad talk. lots of racial epithets. but it was said more like a joke. it doesn't make it right, i know now, but that's how we grew up. so its something i struggle with. not because i think anyone else is 'less' or 'other', but because i don't want to seem as if i'm just being nice *because* of a particular race. (does that make sense?) thankfully, the people of different race that i have met have been extraordinarily tolerant of my often ignorant questions. they seem to know that i'm not coming from a place of meanness or intolerance, but of genuine curiosity and a desire to get behind their eyes and know how things are for them, as people and as members of a different group of people than i.

but on a great note, my family is becoming much more diverse. two of my cousins, and now my sister, have children of 'mixed heritage.' beautiful, lovely girls. my dad was appalled!
and even better, my son, the "white one" as they call him sometimes, doesn't like my dad, but my neice, the "brown one" (again, their term) is her grandpas baby.
i spent my childhood listening to his prejudices, i *love* that he has to face up to them and deal with them now.

so who do i see when i look in the mirror? i see me. 26, wife, mom, and a person with a lot of growing and learning to do. i see milky boobies and unwashed hair and bags under my eyes. i see someone who has trouble fitting into any community. (although sometimes i come close to fitting here.) i see a person determined to be the best of what i am, and to leave the rest behind like old clothes that don't fit anymore.
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