What It’s Like To Be Ambiguously Ethnic

This YouTube video came to me via The Daily Beast and was originally created and published by BuzzFeed:

After watching it a couple of times I found it profound but it did raise a question: what does that word “ethnic” actually mean?

I  am a wrinkled old white guy with blond hair and blue eyes (and can’t jump). Perhaps at some time people wondered about my ethnicity or that of my forefathers, but not anymore. Still it’s there and it’s also very ambiguous. I am Welsh and British with a smudge of unknown Oklahoma blood that might even be aboriginal. My late wife was Hungarian on one side and German on the other. In her case I think it’s accurate to include her in the “Ambiguous Ethnic” column.

It’s that word “ethnic” that bugs me. I had a good friend who was Filipina … did she consider me ethnic? If we look at Wikipedia (or most any source of definition) it says:

An ethnic group or ethnicity is a socially-defined category of
people who identify with each other based on common ancestral,
social, cultural or national experience. Membership of an
ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage,
ancestry, myth of origins, history, homeland, language (dialect),
or even ideology, and manifests itself through symbolic systems
such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style,
physical appearance, etc.

So we’re all ethnic and some of the ambiguity has been blended out of significance for many of us while others are just recently gone under the MixMaster, and still others are firmly a member of one of the world’s great ethnic groups. I believe science has suggested that many of the color variations we now see in humans will gradually blend and one day all of humanity will be a pleasant shade of ecru … or maybe ochre.

What are your thoughts on this?

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