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AIBU?

To let my kids define their own ethnicity?

84 replies

Whatareweanyway · 07/09/2022 21:20

As a child of parents with a range of ethnicities - some of which are unknown, forms that ask for ethnicity can be quite annoying. The question is normally 'Are you x, are you y, are you x + y'?

To be fair the forms have got a lot more varied than when I was a kid, but they still separate ethnicities quite rigidly. Obviously alot of forms ask for ethnicity to gather statistics, so fully understand why the questions are asked.

Filling in forms for my kids normally involves a required question about ethnicity. I raised this with a cousin and they said 'Well they're black, aren't they? Why would you put anything else?! Are you denying that you are black?'.

Obviously black isn't an ethnicity and as my kids are a mix of African, Asian and european and have fairish to brownish skin, black doesn't seem to be a very good description. They arent even teenagers yet, so I don't think it's right to tell them that they're 'black' and ignore their other origins. I have a majority African heritage as far as I know and I'm proud and happy with that. My kids father has European heritage.

I am perfectly open with the kids that they are a mix of multiple origins and they can 'identify' however they want and they are perfectly happy with this and enjoy learning about the history of different countries.

The problem is with family who insist they are black and insist I put them down as black British on forms because that is how they identify. I have never judged or questioned how individuals in my family identity and as far I'm concerned they can identify however they like, but aibu to tell them that they can't tell me and my kids how we should define ourselves?

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bellac11 · 08/09/2022 00:04

TrashyPanda · 07/09/2022 23:55

Actually, it can be an issue for non British Caucasians too.

i once queried the extremely narrow range of ethnicity options on a trade union survey and was told that racism wasn’t as bad for white people. I said that my family members who were put in concentration camps because of their ethnicity would disagree.

Well and 'British' can be problematic

English people may well describe themselves as British more of the time than English

But Welsh and Scottish people will more likely say Welsh and Scottish

People from NI are more likely to say British.

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maddening · 08/09/2022 00:14

lovelilies · 07/09/2022 21:39

Those who think it's no big deal and are so blasé are probably Caucasian yes?
Because it IS a bloody big deal to those with other heritage(s) actually.

You can be caucasian with a mix of heritages

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TrashyPanda · 08/09/2022 07:19

People from NI are more likely to say British

not if they are Catholic

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MidnightMeltdown · 08/09/2022 13:21

Actually, it can be an issue for non British Caucasians too

I find it odd when people talk about 'Caucasians' as if it's synonymous with being white.

South Asians are also Caucasian - at least according to the original classifications by anthropologists

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MidnightMeltdown · 08/09/2022 13:38

In the past, anthropologists classified people into 3 or 4 'types'.

One of these types was Caucasian.

I don't want to say what the others were in case they are offensive, but given that we aren't using the other terms these days, I wonder why people still use the term 'Caucasian' as a way to classify people.

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bellac11 · 08/09/2022 18:28

TrashyPanda · 08/09/2022 07:19

People from NI are more likely to say British

not if they are Catholic

Good point!

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bellac11 · 08/09/2022 18:29

MidnightMeltdown · 08/09/2022 13:38

In the past, anthropologists classified people into 3 or 4 'types'.

One of these types was Caucasian.

I don't want to say what the others were in case they are offensive, but given that we aren't using the other terms these days, I wonder why people still use the term 'Caucasian' as a way to classify people.

Well it was raised on this thread, by someone who clearly thought themselves better informed and more aware of diversity than others.

Unbelievable.

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Elreychalino · 08/09/2022 22:16

@MidnightMeltdown yeah I just assume people are talking about the ethnicities originally coming from those that lived in and around the caucus mountains in what is now Georgia and Azerbaijan?

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Flatmountains · 08/09/2022 22:45

Human. Just always human.

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