Wednesday, February 2, 2011

MPR's News Cut Blog: "Who are you?"

This is a story by Molly Bloom at Minnesota Public Radio for which I was interviewed.  It is part of a our public discussion of race, identity and how we identify ourselves. Click on  or copy and paste the link below.

Also see my blog entry

Hope your week is going well. I'd love to know what you think.


Joe said...

An article in Smithsonian magazine a few years back told of a 17th-century Virginia graveyard in which "African Americans" were buried alongside "whites." (I repeat the author's word choice.) During that period, in that particular settlement, children of Africa and Europe worked, lived and were buried together. In some later years, of course, the diaspora of those two continents were segregated in both life and death. But the author's choice of words sticks with me. White. African American. This-is-what-I-am; this-is-what-my-editor-said-we’re-supposed-to-call-those-people.

I was recently a lunch guest to a group of people, many from China, Korea and Thailand via California, most of whom had come together at the University of Minnesota to establish a new Baptist church. One young man chatted me up -- as a middle-aged Central/Northern European, I was in the demographic and ethnic minority, and he was reaching out to help me feel included. After a while, he asked, "what are you?" [a pause while I tried to figure out what his blunt question meant] "Are you European?" Oh! So he and I shared with each other our geographic and cultural roots. Too late I thought to thank him for asking the question that way.

Clarence said...

Thanks for the comment, Joe. It is good for us to address these issues and think about them with non-American influences and ways of seeing and thinking. No perspective is without prejudice, but some are healthier than the ones we've grown up with.