I wish “white” wasn’t a race.

IMAG1362Eirann Betka,
Grand Rapids, MI.

I wish white wasn’t a race.
Because where does that mean I come from?
I am given five options of classifications to choose from. Five checkboxes. None of which correctly identify my origin, and of all of them, white seems vague and without a home. Where is white? How can I tell you stories of heritages rooted in white?

I can take a map and point out where American Indians and, even more specifically, Alaskan Natives established themselves. The descendants of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders have an identifiable history; and although they are large regions, generations of civilizations have called Asia and Africa home.
Hi. My name is Eirann. My ancestors come from…white.
I used to be afraid to recognize the differences in race. I held the migration of humanity as my world view, accepting everyone as uniquely coming from the same place. As I begin to truly understand the need for individuals to express themselves in order to find commonalities with one another, I can acknowledge that I really do see color. I just have yet to see the same color twice. It seems to be that on surveys, applications, forms and censuses, the choices are white, and other races that aren’t painted white. I started skipping over these checkboxes.
Do other countries define race in another way? Do they identify other races, because, maybe one of those would suit me better than white. And which of the classified races settled on these checkboxes, anyway? The more I pay attention to race, the more questions I raise.
I would, personally, appreciate some more checkboxes. As many checkboxes as there cultures and genetic traits and colors of people.
Hi. My name is Eirann. My ancestors come from Ireland, Bohemia, Germany, Poland, and so many other places in so many other times. I a story of the whole world in my hand. I haven’t decoded my genome, but I assure you, my molecules are made of the same organic energy as anyone else’s. And the color of my skin can be made by mixing two parts water, one part sand, one part soil, and a sprinkle of dust blended into part of the sky found just between the pink and orange horizons of the sunset. I am not white, and I wish white wasn’t a race.


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