It happened again. That funny question that irks and tweaks the underbelly of self-identity. “What are you?”
The snark rises and I stutter, “Ahh…huu..man?”
The smirk flashes annoyance, “No I mean like where are you from?”
“Oh I am Canadian – born in Ontario. Not far from here…”
Interruption arises, eyebrows raised, “No I mean your people where are they from?”
“My parents were refugees, fleeing tyranny. And…”
A spark dawns and interjects before I can finish, “Oh you are Middle-eastern. Turkish?”
Now I am annoyed, and I can feel the emotions brush across my face and furrow my brow.
“How about I finish. They came from Europe. 1956. The failed Hungarian Revolution made my father realize he couldn’t stay because he would be arrested and tortured again. And my mother had just had a baby. So when the river froze in December of 1956 they walked across the ice to what is now Croatia.”
A nod. I see they are listening.
“My mother’s brother was in Toronto, so he sponsored them to come to Canada. And in July of 1957 they arrived in Quebec on a refugee ship. And…”
I can see the question coming before it becomes sound, “So you are European – cause you don’t really look white. Kinda Asian actually. Your almost black hair, and skin with a hint of colour and your eyes are almond which is why I said Turkish…”
My turn to speak up and over, “Yeah. Hungarian-Croatian. Well actually Croatian-Hungarian is more accurate. The village was mostly Croatian, but in the Hungarian side of the border. That part of Europe is a mix of people spilling between tribes and blending. I hear there is some Gypsy – Roma – ancestry in my genetic makeup. And some of the tribes that settled in the area had Asian and Middle-eastern origins.”
The other listens, and nods. And summarized my label, “So you are white then..huh. So hard to tell.”
I sigh, and reply, “Nope I am not white, but I’ve been mistaken for one before. I am human. And while my skin has a lighter-tone, my attitude is universal. The place of my birth, and the colour of my skin has nothing to do with how I have experienced the world, or how I think. My advice to you is top labelling people based on outward appearances. You cannot judge a book by its cover; Nor can you see the human inside the body if all you see are the shape and colour that they wear. Yes indeed we are each unique individuals; but close your eyes and open your ears! And you will be surprised to learn that we are all more alike, than we are different.”
I can see my words have offended, as they turn and move away. Truly they meant no harm in asking such an innocent question. Yet it wasn’t innocent at all, merely unthinking and presumptive. As I watch them leave, I can hear my mother’s voice in my head, “This is why you can’t have nice things – you always break them.”
Yes Mom, I do break them. Because I expect them to be better than that to begin with…
Friends – please be careful during this time of celebration!
Yesterday I went to a Christmas party. You know the story; I had a few drinks – a couple of beers. A scotch or two. Or three. Ending with a Jägerbomb or two. Maybe. It gets foggy.
Well anyway, you get the idea – I was tipsyish. Still I did have the sense to know I shouldn’t take my own car home. So I did something I never do: I took a cab home.
Sure enough, on the way home was a RIDE check. Fortunately though, I was in the cab and so they just waved me through. I arrived safely home without incident.
Which was really a great relief – and a surprise since I had never driven a cab before.
I don’t even remember where I found it.
It is safely hidden in my garage – which brings me to my point: does anyone have any advice on how I should get rid of it?
(…a cut and paste from an email sent to me – with my own custom edits…and be safe when celebrating: Please don’t drink and drive. Ever. 🙂 )
Recently I have been having a debate about the “sacred”.
I find the word is overused as a tool to make people listen – similiar to the way the concept of “privilege” is used to kill debate.
Today I posted this in response to an article about Jennifer Lawrence profaning some rocks in Hawaii with her holy-J-Law butt. Just because I rather enjoyed the sound of my own voice on this one, I decided to copy and preserve my ramble on why “nothing is sacred”
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth whileIf one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,And turning toward the window, should say:“That is not it at all,That is not what I meant, at all.”
Tonight I read a story in a local paper about an elderly woman who had devoted her life to a co-operative community. She had been a founding member of the co-op, and so involved the community even named the Community Centre in her honour! However, a few minor complaints in the past year has resulted in the volunteer Board of the co-op taking steps to evict her from the community. She is about to be exiled from her home, and her life’s work.
Now I know I have only read part of the story. And the Board may indeed by entirely “right” in their belief that they are doing the “right” thing. But here is the thing all “right” action must also “do right.” Justice is not punishment, justice is about making things better.
The news story is here: An 82-year-old woman battling cancer is facing eviction from her home of 22 years.
Please my readers take the time to contact the Co-operative and let them know what you think of their lack of compassion.
This story reads to me as one of elder abuse. Betty, the 82-year-old, may indeed by an annoyance to the current community. However, it is clear she has also helped foster and build the foundation of the current co-operative community. The part of the story where the Board prevented Betty’s friend from providing supportive care to Betty is simply barbaric. Again – yes the notice of trespass may have been justified by the application of the rules. However the Board (and community) should actually have offered to help Betty during that time period. What did the Board do to help Betty cope and adjust?
Contact info for the Co-operative is here:
Telephone: (519) 886-0359
Fax: (519) 886-5593
Email Sarah Tieleman at: office (at) beechwood (dot) coop
Email: chris (at) beechwood (dot) coop
Snail Mail: 693 Beechwood Drive, Waterloo ON N2T 2P6
Yes you can get Trump as an Action figure! Along with his trusty partner Melania…
Get your Donald and Melania set as the package deal of the Troll and Mermaid set! Includes live action gaming instructions. We are going nuclear baby!