It shouldn’t be such a hard question, but it’s not something I’ve ever put much thought into, or how it shapes my identity and sense of belonging. I’ve always called myself a “hybrid,” although I’ve grown up in white culture, I’ve always felt somewhat exotic in my ethnic makeup. I fall in the middle of a dimension between white and, something else. I say something else because appearance wise, I’m hard to pin in terms of ethnicity – I’ve had people guess just about everything, and guesses are usually wrong. I have quite a bit of fun in hearing others guess, actually. But I can change my hairstyle – either go straight, or get my hair braided, and I move in a certain direction along that dimension. People treat me differently, I catch the eye of different guys (or at least perceive that I do) it’s quite interesting really. But when I am stuck in the middle of that dimension, it somehow feels solitary, to look around and realize that you don “˜t look like the people around you. There is a sense of belonging that comes with looking like a certain ethnic group strictly “white,” “asian,” “black,” “hispanic,” etc we apply these labels, I think, either consciously or unconsciously to most that we see.
I am thinking of race less in a biological sense and more in a social construct sense sharing a collective identity with a group of people that can add to my own sense of identity and solidarity. Having this sense of identity would add to confidence and a sense of belonging and in that line I am thinking of the song from Sesame Street “one of these things, is not like the other!!” Anyway, I can’t say I have this stability.
There is most definitely a model, or example of beauty for each type, of course propagated by the media I know that in my mind I have a solid idea of what a guy finds “beautiful” and “attractive” in a girl. The only ideal that I can come close to meeting, thanks to my running and Scrubs/gym time, is thin-ness, and nothing else about me fits any schema very well. I don’t look white, even though that is my “culture,” and I don’t look anything else either, and I can’t imagine what sort of guy, other than another confused hybrid like myself, might be drawn to me. Of course I only see out of my eyes and am unaware of my own physical appearance, so I can imagine that guys I might be attracted to based on my cultural preference would tend to not be attracted to my appearance. I just don’t know but it is clear that for the question “What am I?” I don’t have a very good answer.
Sochat, Vanessa. "What am I?." @vsoch (blog), 15 May 2008, https://vsoch.github.io/2008/what-am-i/ (accessed 23 Nov 23).