Being an identity is a problem. We become ‘things’ that others do or not do to us, for us, against us, and through us – just because of that identity. We even do things or not, according to the identity we have labeled ourselves. This is different from understanding that we are part of a group of people and perhaps a community or communities, that we have inherited certain cultural norms, values, perceptions, worldviews, etc. That is great. At least I think so (not counting the amount of self-hatred that may come into play).
Whether you want or he or she wants, it doesn’t matter. Through the filter of our learned textbook stories in schools, to our parent’s privileges, and to the repetition of certain kinds of actions and thoughts, the solid stone-like formation of IDENTITY looms large in our conscious or sub-conscious. We see through filters. Fears come and angers come and apprehension comes and attractions come. We sometimes call it ‘fate’ or ‘love’ or ‘hate.’ But these have large socially-constructed energies behind them as well. These feelings and relationships do not just happen from a deep pure interior of self, or just mandated by God or fated by the universe. Let’s look at the social constructions…….. ?
So I’m supposed to be a be a ‘mixed-race’ person. Or some would have it: Multiracial, multi-ethnic. Some would say ‘mutt.’ Some would say that I’m a ‘walking United Nations.’ Some say that I’m confused and don’t know who I am. That last one comes from the idea that being ‘mixed’ is impure. We are all ONE THING. This is where a look at our histories would be useful. We are not one thing. Ever. A white European woman of upper class, walking into a room of upper-class white men becomes a class and gender issue. That same woman, walking into a room of African-American women would bring different behaviors not just based on gender. If you’re an Irish-heritage person, it would be very different from Italian or Russian or a German background. If you are gay, bisexual, transgendered, open or not open about it, would then change the dynamics. How do people treat us according to what they either know or see, or both??
Am I half-Japanese, half African-American? Sometimes people say I am. How ridiculous can that be? I’m not half anything or anyone. I was raised in Japan in different neighborhoods. Even in Japan, there are differences between regions, neighborhoods, cities, towns, rural, urban. In my case, I was born to an American soldier and a Japanese mother. Another dynamic. I was never ever confused about who I was. But I was never half of anything or ‘mixed.’
But others would say different. I say these things not to say I’m speaking a universal right and truth. I say these things to begin dialogue on how we assimilate to mainstream and/or dominant notions of making people ‘things’ or shall we say that we do things and we practice things and we make use of certain values for certain purposes? I do.