i think people should be careful not to confuse culture with race.
on the phone a colleague talks about what isn't available in america
due to ways of doing and studying the world, how they don't know
about much what goes on outside americah. americans, she says, not
that i want to be racist here, are pretty narrow-minded.
not racist, culturalist, i asserted. a-sert-ed.
on the census form here, about race,
you had several options to tick.
and some subgroups in between.
under the white box, they had two choices:
british or irish.
sorry, dunno if irish and british are different races yet, but well,
better bow out on that one.
then, to write in the space for 'white: other', what?
hand poised to scribe 'australian' when it froze, nup, still
divisions of race there, and the original australians aren't
considered, well, assimilated enough yet, no sirreee!.
so i wrote 'mixed european' for the both of us.
'mongrel', the term i prefer, might have seemed a little unseemly.
you know, the skool i went to most of my friends were jewish. i
always felt on the outer, the one without the creds. one of them was
a bit middle class enough to say to me i'd probably marry a jewish
boy. no chance. they don't want no shiksa nitwits who are flakey like
moi. i knew that. but i hoped anyway. the guy i had a crush on went
hippy and took off to israel to work on a kibbutz. also, their
parents were still a bit concerned about the race thing, the line
passing down via the female and all, as soon as the parents found
out, i'd be politely ignored.
so my mother says, tell them you are jewish, like, my father's mother
was jewish, doesn't that count? no mum, sorry lah. anyway, a lot of
those parents were like e's i think - they had got out in the nick of
time and not all of their families either, so they may still have
felt a little on the alien side. my friends though, all born in oz,
seemed oblivious except to stretch their eyes when telling tales of
how orthodox aunties wouldn't show their arms and had to boil even
their saucepans before passover.
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