Reading the Census Form I could not help but to start giggling at the thought of the many people pondering what to answer to questions 8 and 9.
Number 8 was easier. After all I know my family’s origin. Nevertheless, my thoughts also were with the many adopted children from Guatemala, Colombia, etc that are now part of ‘American’ families. Does the rule apply to them, or has becoming part of the family changed them?
Now when I looked at question number 9 I knew what my answer would be. And once more my mind went flying to many people that I know who probably are still in denial about their origins.
For example, for the many descendants of Europeans who consider themselves ‘white’, do they really belong to a group of people than never suffered any of the African and Asian invasions throughout history?
Lately when genetic mapping has been done through DNA testing, very ‘white looking people’ have realized that more than one kind of genetic elements constituted their make up.
But I don’t have to think only of people from United States in order to have samples of denial. I’ve even had calls from Latinos who were quarreling about calling themselves ‘white’, since that’s how they consider themselves in their places of origin, or were they Mexican? Chicano? Indian? It was really a very valid question since it was culturally passed on that the more European you looked, then the better bred you were.
I chose to declare myself a “Mestizo” instead of choosing “multiracial”. In my particular case I want to honor the indigenous part that tints my skin and also acknowledge my slight European portion.
When I recognize that I am a Mestizo, I want to affirm the history of pain, dominance, slavery, robbery and blood that Europe brought on the peoples that populated all America from Alaska to Patagonia.
Yes. I am of mixed blood. I know it. I acknowledge it and I am proud of it.
The peoples of the Americas even to this date continue to share their land and products with the impoverished Europeans. They came looking for a better life, fleeing from hunger and persecution and they found places to settle and people who taught them about the products from their land, and also how to fish and plant.
To this date most medicines in the world come from the plants of America as also most of the fresh products at the table.
I am aware that for many Mestizos as they escalated in power and ‘whitened’ their ways, they have also contributed to expanding their power over the local native people. We can see this in most countries of Latin America.
Once more life presents us with the challenge of recognizing ourselves as one specie in different shades and shapes and in doing so to be able to work for the well being of everyone, looking beyond the separation of ‘race’ (a myth created by power), or class (also created by power).
The separations have built not only divisions but also perpetuated hate.
I decided to fill in the form as “Mestizo’ and hope that the distribution of funds will really help us all.
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