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Response to Lucinda (Reply #33)

Fri Sep 8, 2017, 12:40 PM

69. It was kind of random, you know?

Her dad is from Jamaica and her mom is from India. She is not bi-racial but multi-racial.

But this being America, where the media could never get a grip on Tiger Woods being half Thai and he finally gave up and just let them call him black, I think it was also the media that definitively decided Kamala Devi Harris is African American.

Or maybe, confronted with a row of "pick only one" boxes all her life, she assigned it to herself. I follow her on FB, and her posts are heavily weighted toward African American achievements.

I am an Irish-American, raised in a multi-ethnic culture where it was the norm to be multi-racial. At some point in my youth I realized that both cultural identity and race itself are malleable. (In 1968 a college roommate told me the dread secret of a friend of hers: he was an octoroon. I looked at this young man with the square Saxon face, blue eyes, and straight blond hair, and realized that traditional Southern attitudes toward race were 100% insane.) Kids where I grew up could reel off the family tree from Denmark to China and all of Polynesia with a grin.

Sorry to go on like this, but it is a pet peeve of mine. I tried to write last night but had to quit. I have been back on the Mainland for almost 40 years, and can still be taken by surprise, tho why I don't know. After all, in Hawai'i I was just another haole (Irish? Pfft), but in California was informed by an African American co-worker that I am an Anglo, which would make my Irish ancestors turn over in their graves. My husband was born a Jew in Belgium, raised a Jew in New York, and transmogrified into an Anglo in California. When I was on the County Affirmative Action Commission, a younger Latino said in an accusatory tone that all the members of a particular subcommittee except himself were "WASPs," but I laughed in his face. I said, "Wrong by definition. Two Jews, two Irish, and a Catholic will never be Anglo-Saxon Protestant."

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