My wife calls me ethnically flexible.

Paul,
Portland, OR.

I could talk about this all day. Race, ethnicity, and ancestry fascinate me. The question of who I am has been with me since I can remember. When I was little, we lived near the reservation in South Dakota, and everyone thought I was Native. My sister who is pale, blue eyed and blonde, would tell me that my parents found me on the rez and decided to keep me. (Ironically, I recently discovered there is likely a little Native blood in my father’s family).

Ethnically flexible – being able to claim or blend into many ethnic groups or situations – is actually a great thing and I have benefited from it many times. I first realized this when I traveled to Europe in college. The Italians thought I was Italian, the Spaniards thought I was Spanish, it was great, and I’ve used it to my advantage everywhere I’ve traveled inside and outside the US.

 

Tweets by Michele Norris