Monday, September 21, 2009

On the mend but still taking a break

Hello--for all of you who sent me well wishes when I announced that I'd be taking a brief break from blogging due to recuperating from my surgery, THANK YOU. I just wanted to send a quick note to let all of you know that the surgery went well, and today was the first day I felt lucid and energetic enough to check my email--so I thought I should send a note to let all of you know that I'm recovering just fine and hope that by the end of the week I'll be back to 75% (I think 100% may be another 2-3 weeks away, but I figure slow and steady is the key).

Thanks for all your support--and don't worry, this isn't the last you'll hear from me, since we all know I have MANY thoughts about race in America!


nikki said...

I'm glad your surgery went well and you are recovering, Jennifer. Take care of yourself!


macon d said...

Rest well, looking forward to your return!

AL3x said...

Hi Jennifer, just found your blog while searching for info related to being of mixed race. It seems really interesting, what with the yellow rage youtube skit and your very considerate posting of kennedy's funeral. I don't much about you but I hope that you have a speedy recovery.

I always assumed I was totally white (anglo-saxon ancestery), but have recently discovered that I'm actually 1/4 latino (Mexican from my great great grandfather). Due to my mother european ancestery and my my fathers side consisting marrying into white families, our (family), skin is really light. My whole issue now is weather I want to make light of this fact on college admissions documents and similar official forms. Not doing so seems like snubbing my roots, even if I don't speak much in the way of spainish. Just curious what you think I should do.

Best of luck, Alex.

Jennifer said...


Thanks for finding your way to this blog and for the well wishes--I am feeling much better, thank you.

In terms of your own ruminations about your racial identity and the discovery of your Mexican heritage, it must be an interesting point in your life to find out that your ethnic ancestry contains an addition you had not known about--I hope you are able to have family members fill you in on your great-grandfather and perhaps to discover why there had been silence or ommission or forgetfulness about his role in your family--these things often happen--and it's sometimes hard to get folks to remember things--I find this true when asking my immediate family members about my grandparents.

As for the question you pose, I can't really give you an answer, mainly because it's not my decision but yours and you alone must make it.

I think a few things to ask yourself could be:

*Is it for potential gain only that I want to disclose this information on my college applications? Who else am I sharing this information with? What do I stand to gain and/or lose by sharing this information with college admissions?

*Do I feel like I come from a historically under-privilege racial minority group? Affirmative Action and Target of Opportunity programs are meant to recognize groups who have been historically and systematically discriminated against. If you feel like this is true of your situation, I can well imagine that the addition of finding out that you have Latino ancestry may make you want to share this information with college officials. If, on the other hand, you have not felt underprivileged, racially speaking, then this is something you will have to soul search about. I know that people have pointed out socio-economic issues--wondering why a wealthy African American candidate would still receive affirmative action status. But the reality for any black American student at a non-historically black college is that they will be in an institution in which they will encounter a history of white privilege and white supremacy that three plus decade after the civil rights movemeent is still not erased. In other words, no matter how wealthy a black student is at Southern U., they still face instances of racial dissonance and racist incidents (at least in my opinion from the stories I've heard from students and faculty alike).

*What, ultimately, does being 1/4 Mexican American mean to you? How do you want to incorporate that part of your heritage into your life? Does this mean you will be seeking out LaRaza organizations in college? Are you more interested in getting involved in political advocacy for Latinos? Issues of language or immigration? Do you want to learn Spanish or travel to Mexico where some of your ancestors came from? Ultimately, again, this is a decision that only you can make and decide about, because I'm a firm believer that people absolutely get to choose how they identify--but you also need to be aware that if you decide to identify as a Latino and to tell others you are Mexican American, depending on how you "look" you may get pushback from others, and you will also need to figure out how you are going to handle that kind of pushback.

Good luck to you--hope to hear from you again!