Monday, 29 January 2007

State Race

Maybe I'm being dumb but what race am I? I've been asked this question on several forms and struggled to think of an appropriate response. The forms are of little help, although one offerred "Chinese, Malay, Indian or Other (please specify)". So I'm clearly an Other, but what?

I considered Caucasian, but even after a whole childhood of Starsky & Hutch, The Streets of San Francisco and even Hill Street Blues, I'm not confident enough to use it. My main issue with Caucasian is it's one of those technical words that America seems so good at finding and exporting (Homocide [Murder], Hydrate [Drink], Deposition [Statement], Extreme Prejudice [Violently], Extraordinary Rendition [Moving Prisoners]). Did you know that at US airport security checkpoints, you empty your pockets into Divestiture Bins [Plastic Trays] and get everything back at Composure Tables?

Apparently even Caucasian would be dated as American law enforcement are switching to European American (mirroring African American). I settled for European which was accepted, probably proving it wasn't important, rather than correct.

I pointed out to an HR lady that the Chinese were lucky in having an easily identifiable race for such situations but she didn't seem relieved at this stroke of collective fortune.