As I mentioned briefly in my last post, my son is in the process of filling out applications to various colleges of his (?) choice. I am glad that we are now in the techno- age and this tedium can be completed online instead of the hoards of paperwork covering the floor like confetti.
My son has mastered the first few lines of the application, and I thank God for all the education I paid for so he can fill in his name, address and phone number correctly. On one of the applications his mouse tripped over a tab asking for his ethnicity. He clicked on the menu and viewed the drop-down of options that proposedly describe his inherit make- up. He scanned the itemized arrangement of nouns and adjectives covering the world and turned to me and asked:
“What is my ethnicity?”.
I internalized his question and tried to visualize our family tree to see if I could manage to shake out some Ancestry in under 30 seconds to supply him with a proper response to adhere to the applications request. He interrupted my mental search engine and asked:
“What do I place in the Race?”.
I said: ” Just tell them you won by a nose”.
Finishing his eye rolling he darted back:
“Am I White- non-Hispanic?”
I stated in return:
” See if they have beige with freckles and completing your fourth year of Spanish…….”.
He returned to the menu options and scrolled to the end of a long checklist of titles until he spotted a selection dubbed Caucasian.
“What about Caucasian….click that?”
I stood over the sink scrubbing the burnt remnants resting on the bottom of a pot from last nights dinner and peeled my Rubber- Maid gloves off my fingers and raced over to my sons computer. In doing so, I started to examine his statement: What about Caucasian..
I have to admit I don’t even know what that word describes or means, but I was taught as a kid to check that category….no questions asked. I never liked checking that box or any other box for that matter. What difference does it make.
Caucasians, I later discovered through my sons investigation on the Web, evolved from a dividing line between Asia and Europe with some added spice that included Polynesia. They settled in an area called Mount Caucasus and produced Caucasoids and Europids. (Caucasoid? Europid? These sound like something you need an ointment for……..). This group harbored the likes of Russians, Hindu, Azerbaijan, Armenian, Iranian, Turkey, and North Africa. My son also found that this Mt. Caucasus, in it’s time, “produced the most beautiful men”.
So…where were the women in this mix? I don’t know who lead that Caucus……….
My son interrupted the rant going on in my mind and asked again which option to select. This opened the door to discussions of family genes and the history of our clan. The Ancestry showed we derived from a menu of a Heinz 57 variety and could not be narrowed down to just one Box.
“So??” He continues, ” Which box do I mark and what is the one called Other for?“
I don’t get why they have a need for any classification in the first place. What difference does it make and who set that standards anyway, and he’s right in asking about the “Other”. I never knew what that category includes and I still don’t, and I think Everyone filling out applications should check that Other box. I think we all fall into that category one way or another. I thought having to check the Caucasian selection was odd , but who are the Other’s? I know The Other’s is an old movie set in a haunted New Jersey Mansion featuring a mega star from Australia and directed by a man from Santiago, Chile. I wonder if they checked the Other Box when applying for this movie.
I snapped out of my telepathic tirade and tried not to harangue myself as my son chimed in :
“MOM, mom, moooom….chill”.
I don’t think this application process was meant to be this overwhelming within the first paragraph and I wonder if there are any OTHER teens contemplating the categories offered on this collegiate menu. Or questioning it.
I told my son to leave that section blank and write in his own box and mark it:
POPEYE…I yam what I yam…..AAAHuuUUHGUhGuhGuh
spread the humor.