Social Question

meagan's avatar

If you are "half" of something, which do you identify with?

Asked by meagan (4640 points ) July 29th, 2010

Today I was asked if I was “mixed”.
Obviously most Americans identify “mixed” with being half black, half white. However, I’m half “white” and half American Indian.
If you are half of something, which half do you identify yourself?
How do you know what to choose in a job application, census form, etc?

Do people just get to “choose” which half they want to be.. and stick with it?
(Sorry for all of the questions. ‘Just very curious!)

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23 Answers

Jounouchi's avatar

I think it’s a little harder for me to choose what I identify myself as. I was born here in Miami but my mother is from Guatemala. Dad was born on US territory but they’re still Hispanic so obviously I consider myself to be of Hispanic origin as well. I used to be able to simply write Hispanic on my forms and papers but I’ve noticed ever since the 2010 census came in that I wasn’t simply allowed to just put that – I also had to put if I considered myself black, white, Indian, etc and even if it sounds silly I just consider myself as Hispanic even though I’m aware it’s ethnicity and not race. In the end I ended up having to write white because I sure as heck don’t feel Indian or Black even more so…no offense to the races I just don’t feel like I even fit into those.

Well, that’s my story…

Symbeline's avatar

I’m too French to have a half, but my mom does have some blood from Holland and Norway. I identify myself as a Frenchy, but on applications I just check Caucasian, obviously.
I would check zombie fan if that was an option but…

lillycoyote's avatar

I always joke that I’m “half West Virginian,” because that’s where my dad was from and I’m very proud of that heritage, but I know that’s not what you’re going for here.

shego's avatar

I’m mixed classic example black and white. When I was little my parents told me to identify myself as black, so ever since that is what I have done. But personally it does kind of bother me that I have to choose between the both.

meagan's avatar

@shego Is it because you “look” more black? I’m starting to believe that people choose the race they more look like, instead of which they more identify with.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’m half idealist and half realist. Long-term I identify myself with the first, short-term depending on the context I identify myself with the latter.

truecomedian's avatar

What a cool question, don’t know. I guess it’s what you resemble more. Even people that are one fourth black, are called black. You really could choose either. But there may be a benefit to picking one on an application of some kind. Such as there being some benefits that only American Indians can recieve. I’m white, but there’s whiter than me. I guess there is like three or four basic races, I think.

Frenchfry's avatar

I am the better half in the relationship I am in.

BoBo1946's avatar

ummm…that is a good and tough question. i’ve never “walked in those shoes” before. Well, whatever i decided at the time, would be proud of my hertiage and do it with pride. After all, as the great Martin Luther King said, “it is not the color of our skin, but the content of our character that counts!”

truecomedian's avatar

Why is skin color the definer of race, would getting a tan make me a better dancer?

BoBo1946's avatar

@truecomedian it should not be, in the way @meagan asked the question, how would you feel if you were part something and part something else? Especially, as she pointed out, when you are filling out an application, etc. It is a tough question if you never dealth with that before. My response, was much like your’s, would be proud of my heritage no matter what I was…but, again, i’ve never “walked in those shoes!”

Good answer @truecomedian !

ChocolateReigns's avatar

I am a very Heinz 57 person (a little bit of this, a little bit of that…We can’t figure out exactly what we are), so I just say 100% American. What we have been able to figure out is that I have a bit of Swedish from my dad and a bit of Dutch from my mom.

shego's avatar

@meagan no if you saw me walking down the street? You would think I’m from south America. I am very light in the fall and winter, and then I become very dark during the spring and fall, so to me I get the best of both worlds. But because of it, literally everytime I fly since I was 14, I have been pulled for extra screenings, and that is too why I’m staying the hell away from Arizona.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am half white and half Mexican. I consider myself a Latina, even though I appear to be white to most people. I grew up around Latinos and I only knew the Mexican side of my family, so I identify more with Latinos than with whites. I am still not comfortable being around white people only. I just didn’t have that life experience.

TexasDude's avatar

I’m half Italian and all-American.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Half German, half Old New England WASP. I don’t much identify with either. I fill out that line on the census form with “none of your damned business”.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It’s a great question, and the answers have been fascinating. While I understand the need for companies in the U.S. to ask this question, it’s time to either update the options or just let it go.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m half Russian, half Armenian and am half sane.

meagan's avatar

I’m more or less wondering which side everyone would identify with. Not really “what are you”?

Which side do you pick to claim on forms, and why?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@meagan Oh. I identify with the Russian side.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@meagan My Germanic side is more “interesting”.

undertaker's avatar

i am half white and half black. i was born to a black father and a white mother. i do not pick “being more of one” over the other. i am me and am comfortable and secure within my own self as not to have issues of this nature. i am not ashamed of either parent thus i use mulatto or biracial, not black or white. i think that society has more of an issue with how people of mixed ancestry should be categorized than multicultural people themselves. but i do not speak for all interracial people. to each their own veiwpoint

wordWarrior's avatar

I am mostly danish, though i have a variety of other European blood in my veins, My danish ancestors make up approximately 50% or more of my background, being that both sides, mother and father have strong danish ties. When i chose a mate, i want to find a girl who has less danish blood, or a vastly different genetic history.

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