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Thread: Who are we?

  1. #1
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    Default Who are we?

    It's the start of another school year, which means time to fill out more paperwork. For 3 kids, gets to be a pain in the ass. Especially when they all want to know students name, students address, parent #1's name, address, employer, phone, work phone, cell phone, parent #2's name, address, employer, phone, work phone, cell phone, emergency contact #1, phone, emergency contact #2, phone, dr., phone, dentist, phone, insurance, phone, group, policy, etc. Can't they just print out the stuff on file and send it home - "shit still the same? sign here and return with the appropriate child:"?

    But what really annoys me is this:

    "Is your child Hispanic or Latino? (Please mark only one.)

    # No, my child is not Hispanic or Latino

    # Yes, my child is Hispanic or Latino - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

    "What is your child's race? (Please, mark all that apply.)

    # American Indian or Alaska Native

    # Asian

    # Black or African American

    # Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

    # White - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe the Middle East, or North Africa (all of the other choices have definitions, too but since "Black or African American" would be the only other one pertinent to my oldest son, I didn't include them)

    I checked none and added my own choice - # American (and if there was room I might even be smartass to add my own definition). All of my children's parents were born in America. My wife's parents were born in America; my parents were born in America. Not sure about the fathers of my oldest two where their parents were born, but really, what does it matter? I know my paternal grandfather came from England, and I'm not sure if my paternal grandmother was born in America or Canada - but really, what does it matter? We've been here long enough, who cares what countries our ancestors migrated from? Seems to me, that's more up to us if we want to celebrate some English tradition or some tradition from some other ingredient in our melting pot - has no bearing on our day-to-day interaction with society. We're Americans, we do the American thing - baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. I refuse to sort other Americans or myself and my family sorted by the colour tone of their skin. I mean, shit, Alaska and Hawaii have been states for 50 years now - and we still need to sort them out? I'm sure my son's teacher will look at him at choose what she feels is the "correct" answer.

    But that's America, I guess - can't be happy to be Americans - gotta be black or white, Asian or Hispanic; Democrat or Republican; Christian, Jew or Muslim; Eat Us And Smile or Up Front Fanatics...

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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    It's the start of another school year, which means time to fill out more paperwork. For 3 kids, gets to be a pain in the ass. Especially when they all want to know students name, students address, parent #1's name, address, employer, phone, work phone, cell phone, parent #2's name, address, employer, phone, work phone, cell phone, emergency contact #1, phone, emergency contact #2, phone, dr., phone, dentist, phone, insurance, phone, group, policy, etc. Can't they just print out the stuff on file and send it home - "shit still the same? sign here and return with the appropriate child:"?

    But what really annoys me is this:

    "Is your child Hispanic or Latino? (Please mark only one.)

    # No, my child is not Hispanic or Latino

    # Yes, my child is Hispanic or Latino - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

    "What is your child's race? (Please, mark all that apply.)

    # American Indian or Alaska Native

    # Asian

    # Black or African American

    # Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

    # White - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe the Middle East, or North Africa (all of the other choices have definitions, too but since "Black or African American" would be the only other one pertinent to my oldest son, I didn't include them)

    I checked none and added my own choice - # American (and if there was room I might even be smartass to add my own definition). All of my children's parents were born in America. My wife's parents were born in America; my parents were born in America. Not sure about the fathers of my oldest two where their parents were born, but really, what does it matter? I know my paternal grandfather came from England, and I'm not sure if my paternal grandmother was born in America or Canada - but really, what does it matter? We've been here long enough, who cares what countries our ancestors migrated from? Seems to me, that's more up to us if we want to celebrate some English tradition or some tradition from some other ingredient in our melting pot - has no bearing on our day-to-day interaction with society. We're Americans, we do the American thing - baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. I refuse to sort other Americans or myself and my family sorted by the colour tone of their skin. I mean, shit, Alaska and Hawaii have been states for 50 years now - and we still need to sort them out? I'm sure my son's teacher will look at him at choose what she feels is the "correct" answer.

    But that's America, I guess - can't be happy to be Americans - gotta be black or white, Asian or Hispanic; Democrat or Republican; Christian, Jew or Muslim; Eat Us And Smile or Up Front Fanatics...
    I worked at a day program for the homeless a couple of years ago, and all our intake paperwork had the same choices. One of my black clients took issue with the African American choice. In a very irritated tone, he says, "I'm not African in any way. I've never even been to Africa, none of my family has ever been to Africa.....I'm an American!" So as not to piss him off even more, I just added a box labeled American, and checked it.

    On the flip side, I used to do school visits at a magnet school that had only black students and staff. (I don't know how that came to be, and didn't ask.) Anyway, I had to talk with the vice-principal about a student, and she refers to me as a "Euro-caucasian woman." WTF??? Nobody has ever called me that. I found it really presumptuous on her part, and it surprised me that I was truly annoyed and confused as to why she would say that.

    As far as those familiar forms with all the choices regarding race and ethnicity...I'm guessing it has to do with funding.

    btw, Billy....my grandfather came over here on a boat (in 1918) directly from England. When asked about his origin, he would always respond, with great pride, "I am an American."
    .

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    It's the start of another school year, which means time to fill out more paperwork. For 3 kids, gets to be a pain in the ass. Especially when they all want to know students name, students address, parent #1's name, address, employer, phone, work phone, cell phone, parent #2's name, address, employer, phone, work phone, cell phone, emergency contact #1, phone, emergency contact #2, phone, dr., phone, dentist, phone, insurance, phone, group, policy, etc. Can't they just print out the stuff on file and send it home - "shit still the same? sign here and return with the appropriate child:"?

    But what really annoys me is this:

    "Is your child Hispanic or Latino? (Please mark only one.)

    # No, my child is not Hispanic or Latino

    # Yes, my child is Hispanic or Latino - A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.

    "What is your child's race? (Please, mark all that apply.)

    # American Indian or Alaska Native

    # Asian

    # Black or African American

    # Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

    # White - A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe the Middle East, or North Africa (all of the other choices have definitions, too but since "Black or African American" would be the only other one pertinent to my oldest son, I didn't include them)

    I checked none and added my own choice - # American (and if there was room I might even be smartass to add my own definition). All of my children's parents were born in America. My wife's parents were born in America; my parents were born in America. Not sure about the fathers of my oldest two where their parents were born, but really, what does it matter? I know my paternal grandfather came from England, and I'm not sure if my paternal grandmother was born in America or Canada - but really, what does it matter? We've been here long enough, who cares what countries our ancestors migrated from? Seems to me, that's more up to us if we want to celebrate some English tradition or some tradition from some other ingredient in our melting pot - has no bearing on our day-to-day interaction with society. We're Americans, we do the American thing - baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. I refuse to sort other Americans or myself and my family sorted by the colour tone of their skin. I mean, shit, Alaska and Hawaii have been states for 50 years now - and we still need to sort them out? I'm sure my son's teacher will look at him at choose what she feels is the "correct" answer.

    But that's America, I guess - can't be happy to be Americans - gotta be black or white, Asian or Hispanic; Democrat or Republican; Christian, Jew or Muslim; Eat Us And Smile or Up Front Fanatics...
    Billy, if you put down, "American" you and your family are gonna miss out on all sorts of, "Back to school deals" coupons and free family night dinner at Golden Corral. A popular choice is Indonesian Canadian with just a touch of Arab. I think you get a free pair of NIKE shoes if you choose that origin.

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    My origins are London Brit and Highland Scot, and somewhere along the line, someone hooked up with a Native American, because somehow, my grandfather had a perpetual tan, while I am fair-skinned and red, but freaking hot nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZeoBandit View Post
    We are the people our parents warned us about. (Thanks Jimmy Buffett!)

    ...that's 'cuz "the wino and I know the joys of the ocean like a boy knows the joys of his milkshake in motion..."


    Sorry kids, but Zeo just touched on my one other ABSOLUTE musical love right there.

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    I consider myself "American." Not white or caucasian. Actually, I'm probably more of a minority than what I look like. My dad's parents came over from Estonia, so that would make me 1/2 Estonian. During college I had to check one of those boxes, but in the "other" box I put Estonian-American and the lady looked at me in disbelief. I just laughed and handed her the form and walked away. My assumption is that she changed me to "white" after I left.
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    "american" is a nationality...and not even a very accurate one if we're only talking about people from the United States...as "american" can refer to anyone from canada down to argentina.

    The question about hispanic/latino is one about ethnicity while the question about white, black etc are questions about race.

    As for the "african american" who didn't think he was african...no he's not african but he is black and had we left things as simple as that, it wouldn't be an issue today because "african american" is not really a statement of race but rather nationality...like saying "cuban american."

    I do think there is way too much emphasis on race and ethnicity, too much emphasis, too much ignorance, too much arrogance, too much of everything.

    I see nothing wrong with recognizing and appreciating people for who they are and race, ethnicity and nationality are all parts of that. I think it's up to the individual to rank those in terms of which one is most important and which one is least important.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  10. #10
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    First of all, unless the student is an actual immigrant, who cares what their "ethnicity" is.

    Second of all, my oldest son has a "white" mother and a "black" father. And that "black" father also had one parent that was "black" and one that was "white" - so by percentages he's 75% "white" and 25% "black", but his skin is "black". The other four people that he lives with (my wife and myself and our other two sons) are "white". So which box do I check (well - you already have my answer in the first post)? It's bullshit to keep sorting ourselves out this way - for one thing, it still leads to a lot of automatic pre-judging. If someone lives here and respects our law and considers this their home and would defend our country before all others, they are an "American" or a "United Statesian" or whatever you want to call them. No need to sort them any more than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    First of all, unless the student is an actual immigrant, who cares what their "ethnicity" is.

    Second of all, my oldest son has a "white" mother and a "black" father. And that "black" father also had one parent that was "black" and one that was "white" - so by percentages he's 75% "white" and 25% "black", but his skin is "black". The other four people that he lives with (my wife and myself and our other two sons) are "white". So which box do I check (well - you already have my answer in the first post)? It's bullshit to keep sorting ourselves out this way - for one thing, it still leads to a lot of automatic pre-judging. If someone lives here and respects our law and considers this their home and would defend our country before all others, they are an "American" or a "United Statesian" or whatever you want to call them. No need to sort them any more than that.
    well, the state, minority groups, the federal government and white people all want to know how their kids are doing in school and they want that information broken down dempgraphically.

    I completely agree that the minority complex that people have about themselves and others does more to tear apart society than bring it together because people haven't really figured out healthy ways of simply acknowledging differences...everything has to be dressed up in some ridiculously silly and patronizing multi-cultural day or diversity day or whatever other such nonsense.

    I think there's a lot to be said for nationalism taking priority over people's individual background but I also think there's a lot to fear about a society that would seek to deny and diminish that background in hopes of creating a homogenous nationalistic society.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post

    my oldest son has a "white" mother and a "black" father.

    (my wife and myself and our other two sons) are "white".

    I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but I still had to read it twice.
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  13. #13
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    yes - he does not share my DNA, but he's still my son!

    I'm not saying anyone's background should be denied or diminished - if folks want to celebrate Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Christmas, Easter, Cinquo De Mayo, St. Patricks Day, Oktoberfest or any holiday that is mainly associated with another country or religion - they should be able to do so. But as far as counting who's who anymore - should either be "United States Citizen" or "non-United States Citizen". We've been a country now for 233 years - and although not all of our families have been here for the duration, I think enough of us have been here long enough that we don't need to really care about our European or African roots.

    Here's a question for our Australian friends, since I believe that country is made up of a lot of people from other places (and we have a fair number of Australians on this site) - do they do this kind of sorting down there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    yes - he does not share my DNA, but he's still my son!

    I'm not saying anyone's background should be denied or diminished - if folks want to celebrate Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Christmas, Easter, Cinquo De Mayo, St. Patricks Day, Oktoberfest or any holiday that is mainly associated with another country or religion - they should be able to do so. But as far as counting who's who anymore - should either be "United States Citizen" or "non-United States Citizen". We've been a country now for 233 years - and although not all of our families have been here for the duration, I think enough of us have been here long enough that we don't need to really care about our European or African roots.

    Here's a question for our Australian friends, since I believe that country is made up of a lot of people from other places (and we have a fair number of Australians on this site) - do they do this kind of sorting down there?

    do you read or value the statistics provided by the school districts explaining the breakdown of the student body, grade and test results?

    Some folks do, I tend to read through them even though I don't have any kids. I certainly wouldn't want my kids to go to a predominantly black or hispanic or asian school...I'd want them to go to a school where they'd feel comfortable and see plenty of faces that look like their's. I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I would also want to know, if a school does have a high minority population, what the test scores and grades are for those groups to see if they are following national trends of blacks and hispanics lagging behind whites and asians because I want my kids to be surrounded by as many smart and successful students as possible.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    yes - he does not share my DNA, but he's still my son!

    I'm not saying anyone's background should be denied or diminished - if folks want to celebrate Kwanzaa, Hannukah, Christmas, Easter, Cinquo De Mayo, St. Patricks Day, Oktoberfest or any holiday that is mainly associated with another country or religion - they should be able to do so. But as far as counting who's who anymore - should either be "United States Citizen" or "non-United States Citizen". We've been a country now for 233 years - and although not all of our families have been here for the duration, I think enough of us have been here long enough that we don't need to really care about our European or African roots.


    I think the whole thing is wrong. I cite as my favorite example, my friend Steve. He is the only true African-American I know. His mother is an American citizen that gave birth to him in Tunisia. He has citizenship there too...African-American
    Of course, it would be more appropriate to say he is African-American-Italian. If his father had been born one year earlier hee would have been in Hitler's Youth. And Steve has been known to not disagree with certain aspects of the Nazi Party. Not exactly the type of person who should be listed as African-American.
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