trigger warnings: i take accountability for the fact that i have not done tws in the past. i will from now on be conscious of putting "tw: [content that may be triggering]" before posts that i think need that. i will also put those into the tags for use w/ things like savior. please let me know a preferred system for you/tw's that i do not do that you need and/or want.
i’ve been thinking a lot lately about race. how i identify in terms of race. this has always been muddy waters for me. i mostly check the “other” box if i have the opportunity on forms. if that’s not a choice, “mixed” or “interracial” is my next choice (as if all “mixed” people are a single race…?). if i must, i check both white&korean, or i choose one haphazardly. i’ve never felt/thought of myself as either white or korean, so mixed and other always felt more real to me. but a lot of people don’t like to stop there when they ask “what are you” or “where are you from” (and follow up with “i mean like… your parents. what are they?”).
this brings me to how i am identified by others in terms of race. i was out this past weekend- the group of friends i was with knew the manager and we were able to stay after they had to clear the bar because of being over-capacity. the manager came over and said something to the effect of “oh no, it looks like i just let all of the white people stay!”
granted i had been drinking, that comment almost brought me to tears. i can’t identify exactly why it bothered me so much. in thinking about it more, i think it has to do with the incongruence between how i self-identify and how i am “pegged” by others. the phenomena of “self-identification” as the most important aspect of identity that is championed in some queer-oriented circles seems to go completely out the window in situations like this. i can identify however i want, for years, and feel established in that identification. and this can be stripped from me in a matter of seconds with an off-hand comment from a complete stranger. i felt totally powerless and erased in a way that i was not prepared for.
i am very aware that i must acknowledge the white privilege i have. (i “pass” for white often, especially depending on the company im with at the time.) i have it. i am constantly investigating it and making sure to (try to) keep it in check. i make mistakes a lot and am in no way trying to erase that i have a lot of privilege in many spaces. the part that is jarring is the large part of the white privilege that i have being a result of how others percieve me which is at odds with how i perceive myself.
what i’m realizing is that for all of my actions, i must consider them first in terms of my own identity, but secondly and lastly i must look at how they are understood based on how i am identified by others. since i am unable to know how others understand my race, i feel completely unable to understand how what i am saying or doing appears. this is paralyzing and i’m often in a state of suspension, inaction.