Sunday, July 09, 2006

perfectly, as God made me

There are times I am amazed at how many people claim me into their ethnicity. I am particularly filled with glee and satisfaction when yet another “different” ethnic group claims me. A week ago I scored yet another ethnic group: Greek or maybe more particularly Greek Orthodox. The lady who I had introduced myself to didn’t ask if I was Greek, she simply said, “Now, you are Greek Orthodox (as opposed to the others I was with).” Along with this versatile complexion, comes a sort of internal mechanism that tunes me into the mannerisms and habits of the culture group around me subconsciously. My accent changes slightly. I bow slightly when greeting my Hmong neighbor. I wow my Japanese friend with my “polite” table manners—polite according to the Japanese—I have no conscious knowledge of Japanese graces. I speak softly to two other Hmong neighbors and I start talking black to my other black neighbors—and stop abruptly as I realize, oops, some people take offense to that.

Long black hair is my most versatile feature. Olive toned skin blends me into a majority of the 10-40 window nations. My dark browns place me almost anywhere. I tend to assimilate into most people groups and situations—if that is my intended purpose. Challenging and reforming is my other intent once I have infiltrated. Appearance is only a tool toward that end. The character, Mystique, in the x-men trilogy, is my characteristic character. (That she is in close relationship to Destiny, in the comic series, is interesting). I also find an affinity to Vin Diesel, because, ethnically, he’s a little hard to place. If I wouldn’t be a Christian, I think I would pursue employment as an information thief, spy or an infiltrator of some sort. I would have to learn how to lie though.

I have been all of the following: African American, Cuban, Columbian, Mexican, any type of Latin American—that is the lighter skin toned mix of Latin American. I have been Italian, Middle Eastern, a light mix of Indian, Spanish, Gypsy, Italian, Greek. I am rarely identified as German which is what I am 100%.

Actually, my brother also has a lot of the same features and coloring I do. He was searched and interrogated to the nth degree when he traveled to Israel. They thought he was Palestinian with his black hair and prominent 5 o’clock shadow.


Blorge said...

"my brother also has a lot of the same features and coloring I do"

I actually disagree, I think that you are just the female version of your brother. It is really uncanny! When I met him, I was like, now I know what she'd look like if she were born a boy.

I originally thought you were latina, but the name Abigail Miller wasn't exacly like Consuela Rivera... I asked you what you were and you said German, but not very. I didn't get it, I thought you meant you were only partly German, but apparently you meant that your ancestors came here a long time ago (if I understand you rightly). I tried telling you about how I'm mostly German and then part French, Belge, English and Bohemian. I was sure you had some sort of mediterranean or Latin ancestory so I was trying to draw you out, but you weren't budging.

Michelle said...

The students at Kel's school though Audrey was a mulatto baby. People will often come up and just start speaking spanish to my Dad. Especially when in the summer when he gets very dark from the sun.
We are mostly Italian and Greek with a sliver of Irish.
Kenosha was a perfect town for us to move to, becasue of the large Italian population. The president didn't stop at Tenuta's for just any reason when he came through town.
I am only the thrid generation to live in the states. Both my great grandparents didn't speak english.

espíritu paz said...

Hah! I love it!

Now that ethnicity has become a sort of curiosity rather than a thing to overcome.

blorge--you have a too perfect memory. I remember wondering what the purpose of this conversation might be. Nothing came to mind, so, I deemed it over. I guess I just demonstrated how German I really was with that.

Today I was asked if I speak Arabic and was given a phone number. I needed that "if God wills" phrase when asked if I was going to use it.

Good to hear the stories michelle.

Blorge said...

I'm not sure what you meant by that, but I was a little unnerved when I met your brother. I don't know what being German had to do with your discarding the memmory. I should hope that if you were to meet my family and to make a comment, I'd remember it. In shah Allah, that is.

espíritu paz said...

I don't think we're talking about the same thing here. my comments about the too perfect memory are about when we first met 3 or more years ago. My response to you trying to "draw me out" left me wondering--what is the point of this conversation? Which is actually a very German response. i've learned a bit more about decorative talk since then.