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Thread: Co-opting Ethnic Identifiers

  1. #11
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    One of the things that is evident to me is that being "white bread" as I am makes other ways endlessly more fascinating. When I was little, I spent hours poring over books with Native American photos trying to emulate their face paintings and clothing (or lack thereof). In third grade, I unknowingly insulted the only black student in the whole school by asking why she didn't wear bones in her hair; that is how they were portrayed in cartoons of the day. My best friends in elementary school were both from large, Mexican families and I fell in love with their tight-knit family structure so different from mine. An Indian woman I work with recently brought me lovely dresses to consider wearing to DD's wedding, but I knew that wouldn't fly with the conservative new in-laws. I love to participate in all these various cultures as I can (food, friends, festivals, etc) but as you say, often feel stuck in my white box. On the other hand, I love meeting people who are complete surprises based on their apparent race/income level/culture.

  2. #12
    Low Tech grunt iris lily's Avatar
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    Fortunately, being the insensitive person I am, I don't worry about taking over someone's culture. And you all can take my antique sari only when prying them out of my cold, dead hands.

  3. #13
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    Never! Love means never having to hide your Sari.

    Part of my issue is that I don't feel like I have traditions. I'm white bread but with parents from two different cultures- stiff as sticks and white as wonder on my father's side, "I am this but you are not" from my mother's 1st gen Danish immigrant side. They are at war over who "we" are, I've chosen to stay out of it, but it makes me feel very colorless. And still, I find myself uneasy with taking on any color at all. I do pick and choose ideas and foods, but somehow draw a line when it comes to personal appearance. My inner ethnicity has dreadlocks and likes gypsy skirts with boots and speaks like Victoria Beckham.

  4. #14
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Yes, I'd probably take that as a compliment, too! I think we should all seek our inner Native American.

    If I were to maintain my cultural identity and step back a couple of hundred years or so, I guess I'd have to live in a cold, drafty place and eat a lot of meat. I'd probably have the adventurous spirit of the colonists, and I'd probably wear something along the lines of the Puritans, given my 10th great-grandmother died in prison in Salem, MA. Hmm...

    Anybody have a spare feathered headdress?
    Hahaha! That's pretty much what I do now, at least by SLN standards. I refuse to emulate anything about the Puritans from their drab clothing to their rigid, uptight beliefs, even though I partially spring from them.

    And that Dolezal poseur was from Spokane, I believe. Far, far away from here. I don't think her act would have gone on as long as it did in a city with more than a tiny minority population.

    If we didn't all borrow from each other's cultures, it would be a boring, boring world. If someone has the hair for dreadlocks, how do we know their ancestors didn't wear them, no matter their color? What if you married into an Indian family? Could you wear a salwar kameez then? What if your husband really, really liked you to? It's an interesting conundrum; you'll be criticized regardless. So I'd say, do what suits you and deal with the fallout.

  5. #15
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    I came uncomfortably close to being a stripper once...(Somebody cut that woman off!) I had a bit of a wild side.

  6. #16
    Senior Member kib's Avatar
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    Actually that little pigtail thing the king of Denmark had was something called a Polish Plait, one big sticky dreadlock in the back. Possibly my next ethnically-correct fashion update ...or not ... maybe I'm just blaming my blandness on my ethnicity when in reality I'm just bland!

  7. #17
    Simpleton Alan's Avatar
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    I don't believe in ethnic identifiers, unless business casual is ethnic. I plan to retire soon and when I do, I'm considering biker chic.
    "Things should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler." ~ Albert Einstein

  8. #18
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    In my youth, people routinely identified me as Southern European, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Native American... I'm baffled as to why.

  9. #19
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kib View Post
    Never! Love means never having to hide your Sari.
    Ha!! I just may make that into a bumper sticker! It would go over well in my neck of the woods.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  10. #20
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    In my youth, people routinely identified me as Southern European, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Native American... I'm baffled as to why.
    You must be a very swarthy Puritan.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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