Check One Box Only, Please

I suppose that more than any other question in this course that I have asked myself, the one that has been the most pertinent to me, has been “Who am I?”. Identity seems to have been something most (if not all) the authors and their characters in this class have struggled to define. Whether born in one country and raised in another, raised and born in the same country but discovering that identity can still not be found, or thrown into exile and struggling to define if you are one-thing or another, it almost seems something that immigrants, if not a majority of people, may fight with at one point in their lives or other.

I feel like society today really aims to categorize people, to literally place them in boxes. It seems at times almost an obsession.

Check ONE of the following:

African, Asian, East Asian, Middle-Eastern, Pacific Islander, Caucasian, Hispanic, Latino/Chicano, Native American, Other.

What if a person wants to check more than one box? Are they thus forced to check other? Or what if they don’t want to be identified as an “other”? What if what they identify as isn’t even a box that can be filled? What if they do not want to check a box altogether? Or why is blank space not provided so people can self identify?

This course and its readings and discussions have made me question who I am, and also made me conscious that this is not at all an uncommon question. I was born in the United States, in Seattle. My mother from Indonesia, but her ancestry is Chinese. She sees herself as an American though, even though she doesn’t have her US citizenship. My father was born and raised in Washington, to a Canadian mother and an American father. Combined, he is Native American-Dutch-German-Norwegian-Canadian-Scottish-French. But he identifies as American. And I study in Canada. So what does that make me? An American-Canadian-Indonesian-Native American-Chinese-Dutch-German-Norwegian-Scottish-French-Seattlite (that happens to be studying Spanish)?

Does the order in which people state “what they are” or “who they are matter”?

I choose not to define myself. At least not right now.

What about you?