"Can we mark you down as white?" the government employee asked.
"No - maybe Caucasian? But I'm not white."
"Well Caucasian is not an option".
"Ok - I choose other."
"How about mixed?" she asked writing it down on the document as if diagnosing me with bird flu.
Apparently a lot of people are marking "mixed" these days and it doesn't seem to have settled well with this Lee County government employee. It's hard to impose stereotypes if you can't determine a person's ethnicity or race. And really who can? (But we try!)
The recent Everglades Coalition Conference I attended last week had energized me to the point of making absolutely sure I was registered to vote. There are plenty of important issues that are at stake and if it means labeling myself on a government form- even as a mixed race - than I'm glad to do so.
But what is race? I had to actually look up what and where the Caucasian race comes from and I'll admit I ain't that.
But I loathe the term white. Who's white? I'm a pink and closer to brown. My ancestry consists of mostly Italian, part Scottish, part English, part Abenaki and who really knows what else. I'm not calling my ancestors out for philandering or anything but family trees are probably more like family vines and aren't we all mixed?
Having wasted the better part of an hour on my diatribe, Ma-Le and I stopped at the grocery store to get some things to make sandwiches. In the deli she proclaimed loudly "I don't like nuthin' French". And...tired of the constant French bashing since World War II, I proceeded to defend a country and their culture. First by correcting her English and explaining it should be "I don't like anything French" and then by standing up for the country. I saw Ratatouille. Who couldn't be swayed by a Pixar rat?
It turns out she simply doesn't like French Bread or French Dressing. I didn't ask about Poodles, Curls or Toast. But I didn't want my Hispanic....(or is it Latino) fiancee offending the French. They are "my people" after all what with them being white.
Mixed isn't so bad. I like mixed drinks and mixed nuts. It just makes it so much harder to be judgmental.