Monday, June 9, 2014

Racial Confusion

So this is more of an opinion post. It's something that has really irritated me and I was thinking about it the other day and I thought to myself....I should blog this... Get my feelings about it out with slim chance of any one reading it. So here it is....

So, I'm racially mixed. My father is Turkish (still lives there) and my mother is a full dose of the Caucasian cocktail (Dutch, English, Polish, Irish, etc...). When you see me though you can tell I'm not just "white" (speaking biological features only right now). I'm constantly asked if "¿Habla espaƱol?". When people ask what I am (sometimes I try and have people guess, because no one ever remembers Turkey.) and when I say Turkish I always get a "Really?? I thought you were like Colombian, Brazilian, Dominican, etc...".
Nope, I'm Turkish. Despite my father not being in the picture I'm very attached to my Turkish roots. My cousin is also Turkish so hey, at least I'm not alone.
What this post is really about though is comments and arguments I've heard in the past and I wanted to address them. I act white & my mom is white, I get it. Does that make me "white"? Would you tell a half white & half African-American person that they are white? Would you go up to a Korean person who's married to a Caucasian person and say "Nope, you're not in an inter-racial marriage." Probably not right? Why though?
I got in an debate with someone once, for the record I'm married to a Caucasian man, a friend of my sister's (my sister is also mixed, Japanese and Caucasian) who is Caucasian said in passing she thought that people should marry whoever they wanted, but that she did believe that races should try to stay together (I'm paraphrasing, it was more like "African-Americans and Caucasians getting married is weird" again still very much paraphrasing, but pretty much she thought whites and blacks should stick to their own races.)
I was in complete shock, I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped and everything. Here is a paraphrasing of the dialog we had (by the way this took place like 3 1/2 years ago so I can't remember word for word.)

Me: "Are you kidding me right now?"
Person: "What?"
Me: "That's a pretty ignorant thing to say... I'm mean hey, I'm in an interracial marriage."
Person: "No you are not!"
Me: "Um, excuse me?"
Person: "You're white."
Me: "No, I'm not. I'm half  "white"."
Person: "Carolyn, you're white."
Me: "What makes you consider me as "white"?"

At this point I was outraged, mostly at the fact that what she said about interracial marriages but they proceeded to tell me I was white and not in an interracial marriage? Please, tell I crazy? Should I consider myself solely white? Where is the cut off? Please tell me where I can reference the socially constructed scale of who is considered racially different and who isn't?

People tend to make comments when I'm around. I've heard people speak ill or make snide remarks about the Muslim people to me......TO ME.....and these are people I like KNOW. I just sit there with this face -> O.o dumbfounded and
thinking to do realize half of my family is Muslim, right?

I used to work at a pizza joint and we had this Indian family who would come in regularly. They were vegetarian so they wanted the pizza cut with a clean blade. Totally understandable, right? My supervisor would always make comments to me like "Oh great, the haggi's are here!" "go back to your own country" and comments about them being Muslim...? I know, I have no clue.
Thoughts in my head at the time....
THEY ARE INDIAN, NOT MIDDLE EASTERN! THEY ARE HINDU NOT MUSLIM!!!!!! And even if they were middle eastern, Muslim or both.....YOU'RE BEING SO IGNORANT!!!
I finally flipped on him (who was well aware of my ethnic identity). I said,
" Seriously, stop it. please? You do realize not only and I middle eastern, my family is Muslim."
He apologized and I could tell he meant it..... maybe now he thinks twice before he makes comments like that?

Input please? Am I crazy? Am I over-reacting? Has anyone else had this issue? Am I "white"?!

Why is everyone so racially confused?!?!?!??!

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