So two posts on Facebook this morning got me thinking today about race, racism, what it means to be Canadian and who I am in the midst of it all.

Anyone who looks at me can tell I’m not quite white – but they can’t quite tell what I am and therefore how to categorize me within their minds. I know it’s not my imagination because of my own hyper/awareness that I am not quite white – it’s human nature to compare and categorize.

Because of my basic understanding of psychology, I know they’re not doing it on purpose – categorization is just how our minds work.

So the question, “What are you?” In reference to my ethnic background is a natural one. Though rather tedious at times. You know, on the rare occasions I haven’t already preemptively introduced my ethnicity in my introduction or bio.
Does it matter?
Can’t I just be Canadian?
Do you ask obviously white people this question?
Do you ask obviously black people this question?
Why am I fair game?

I know the answer. I think. I’m hard to peg because no one really assumes a mix. Everyone is used to one thing or another – or at least a close mix, like Irish/German (like my men, I search my memory now to recall if their ethnicity has ever come up aside from conversations that began when someone asked me…and I fail to recall one)

Because I AM hard to peg, I have been confused for nearly everything except North Asian (I stop and wonder if this is the right terminology…if East Indians are South Asians than the alternative is North, right? Because Oriental is not politically correct, I think – surely someone will correct me in the comments if I’m wrong)

Lebanese, French, Greek, Mexican, Spanish, Part-black, Russian, First Nations (though admittedly this one was after hearing I’d lived in the known First Nations communities of Chateh and Cadotte Lake), Spanish and Arabic (if you consider the man who accused me of being Bin Laden’s niece every time he came to my till at the grocery store in the weeks after 9/11)

Yes, all in all, I’d prefer people ask – or for me to pre-emptively state…

Yes, I am a weird mix of East Indian, Scottish & English

I used to say I was Heinz 57.
And sometimes mixed breed.

Does it matter?
Can’t I just be Canadian?

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