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Thread: Haliwa-Saponi Genealogy

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    High Point, NC
    Posts
    3,405
    I agree with your sense of it. We are so brainwashed in this country to think that we have to define ourselves either/or. It's so unnatural. Other culture would think we're insane, but we're all bought into it. My friend, Thomas McElwain, says that every country has its area of insanity, and for us, it's around race. By that he means each culture has some culture-specific value that's taken for granted within the culture, but seems very strange to anyone outside it.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    The Great Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    372
    This issue about defining people by race is one of my strongest pet peeves here on the mainland. I was mostly raised in Hawai'i, and we define people more strongly by culture than by race. Its completely normal for people to pick and chose which of their background they'll identify with, or even if they identify with a culture that is not from their race. Racial features play a lesser role since most people are of mixed race. We put a stronger emphasis on where you were raised and in what culture.

    For instance, a full blood Japanese person raised in Hawai'i is in a completely different category then one raised on the mainland or in Japan. I was raised traditional Hawaiian and Japanese, my racial background is Caucasian, east coast Indian, and central Asian. Folks in Hawai'i had no problem with that, but on the mainland, folks keep thinking that I must be part Hawaiian or Japanese cause I grew up speaking the languages and eating the food, and I donít look full Caucasian. Or they think I am Northwest Indian because I am very familiar with their ways. As far as I am concerned, someone can claim black and Indian at the same time, no problem.

    Just this morning I was chatting with friends when a random fellow walked by and asked if I was from Hawai'i. He turned out to be a Hawai'i tourist from my island visiting my current home here in isolated Eastern Oregon. He said he could tell I was from Hawai'i just by body language. And I havenít lived there for 11 years!

    Shad

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