• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Thursday, February 17, 2005

    Who will win the RACE?

    Besides the reference to Cake's Fashion Nugget album, I liked MGO's comments about "inclusion."

    I have mulled over this question a lot recently. When I applied to universities, I couldn't decide what to do. My neighborhood, in suburban Houston, and the schools I went to, were diverse. Many of my friends came from other ethnic backgrounds. Honestly, when asked the question of race, my first response (if allowed) would have been Texan, and second, American (yes, that's a typical Texan).

    Now life is more muddy. I am applying to medical school, and every school wants my race. Does this mean that if I score a 35 on the MCAT, and someone else scores a 30, we are equal because of our heritage? What does this say in my case, where I don't know what group to put myself in? My skin color is white, but I hate checking that box, because many of my international friends from Spain, Italy, and other parts of Europe have the same white skin I have. My grandmother came over from Denmark when she was 18, learned English, and had a successful carreer in the fashion industry. I consider myself ethnically Danish. I am 25%. People who are 25% hispanic or american indian qualify for scholarships at my university and I don't.

    Don't get me wrong. I am not arguing about their scholarships. My argument is this: I am a second generation immigrant but I don't see scholarships because of my skin color.

    Now I'm even more confused. I have lived for a couple years among the Vietnamese population in Orange County, CA. Before returning to school two years ago, I honestly felt Vietnamese. I lived with them, ate their food, understood their culture. I lived as a Vietnamese-American. I just happened to look Danish. It made me feel odd when Viets would point me out as white. I didn't think of myself this way.

    This makes it harder for my children. My wife is Vietnamese. My kids will be Vietnamese-Danish-Americans. Or is it Danish-Vietnamese-Americans? Do I want them to get into a good college because that school needs to fill a quota, or on their own merit? Does labeling my children Vietnamese-American take away from their rich cultural heritage found on my side of the family or vice versa?

    Sometimes I wish they would stop asking this question all together. After all, my answer is simple: I'm Texan.

    No comments: