The “other” category.

Is it possible for a portrait to photo-bomb?

I’m bi-racial.

50% European, 50% East Asian. It’s a pretty sweet deal to be mixed. I get to experience two landscapes, two states, two cultures.
Sometimes, though, I have to say I’m slightly – that is, very slightly – irritated when I face the classic “check-one-box” dilemma. It happens when I’m filling out surveys that ask me about my ethnicity. Here’s usually what I see:
What is your ethnicity? (Check one box)
East Asian
South Asian
Native American
At this point I can either choose between my “two halves” or resign myself to the “other” category.

And let’s face it – “other” is not the most desired label. To be placed into the “other” category is to forgo the privilege of being rightly identified as what you truly are.

Yet I’m finding myself in the “other” category more and more.
I’m not simply a Glendon student, because I’ve spent an equal amount of time at Glendon and Keele.
I’m not just an introvert or an extrovert. Depending on the day I have the qualities of both.
I don’t fit into any of the existing degrees at York, so I’m writing up a proposal for my own individualized major.

In all of these areas, I don’t fit into the existing categories. Does that mean that I should classify myself as “other”? Probably not.

We will never be able to fit all of the criteria for another person’s category. At some point we have to define our own category. Do our own thing.

And perhaps that’s what growing up means : doing the hard work of self-discovery instead of letting others do it for us.


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