Originally I was going to be moving into campus next Thursday. However, I recieved an email saying that I am eligible to move in early on Tuesday for a program intended for students of color. All my life I have considered myself white; my mother is unambigeously so and my while my father does not identify as white he does qualify as White Hispanic on the Census Bureau. I am not offended with the terms “nonwhite” or “minority”, however I do have some issues with the currently acceptable “person of color” as I feel that term defines me by the color of my skin. The nonexistant color of my skin mind you, I am rather pale. Of course, I am not in a position to decide with label is okay and which is not.
Anyway, this early move-in program is intended for African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian Pacific Islanders (I’m not sure why Asians and Polynesians are lumped together, I guess the Census Bureau can’t tell the difference between say Thais and Samoans). Having a Spanish last name means I qualify. Of course race is a purely artificial construct with no scientific validity, so it is based on opinion and perception and nothing else. My mom has Portuguese and Italian ancestry that one hundred years ago would have made her a Person of Color. That’s in addition to an equal ammount of Slavic heritage that in much of Europe was viewed and something “other.” Now all that is viewed as just as white as her Dutch family. As for my dad, we recently found out that my grandmother has a significant abount of Irish and Navajo blood. So like most Americans, I have a rather diverse background that is hard to sum up. Still, most of that is considered White (or at least Indo-European) so I consider myself white.
Whatever I am or people classify me as, I am very happy to be able to move in earlier than I than I thought I was going to. Here is an interesting chart showing Colonian Latin America’s VERY different ideas about race: