When I lived in the UK and was asked my identity, I always checked the box for ‘Other’. I’m Scottish-Persian, and that made sense there, where Persians are Asian, not white. In the US, where I live now, Persian is considered Caucasian, so I’ve been tending to check ‘Caucasian’, in order to play by the rules.
Then Brexit and Donald Trump happened.
Last week, I was filling out a form, and veered towards the Caucasian box. Then I found myself defiantly checking ‘Other’, thinking to myself, ‘Screw you, system. This is who I am.’
I don’t feel like playing by the rules right now. I am proud to be an Other, as people talk of nationalism and walls.
Then I read this article, which I really identify with. In it, actress Meghan Markle talks abut growing up between two worlds. Her conclusion, however, is that she will draw her own box.
While my mixed heritage may have created a grey area surrounding my self-identification, keeping me with a foot on both sides of the fence, I have come to embrace that. To say who I am, to share where I’m from, to voice my pride in being a strong, confident mixed-race woman. That when asked to choose my ethnicity in a questionnaire as in my seventh grade class, or these days to check ‘Other’, I simply say: ‘Sorry, world, this is not Lost and I am not one of The Others. I am enough exactly as I am.’
It’s her choice to reject the term. And I respect that.
But, sorry Meghan, one month after a pro-white, anti-Muslim, pro-big business, wall-building presidential election, I’m flying my Other flag more proudly than ever.
Read Meghan’s article here: http://www.elleuk.com/life-and-culture/news/a26855/more-than-an-other/