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identity crisis my first name is scottish, my middle, indian, my last, german. i was born in calcutta, india but raised on the streets of baltimore, maryland which is the city i know, the city i love, it is where i am from. -------- my mother is scottish, my father is german and irish, my older sister wears a kilt and plays the bagpipes even though she is half black and half jewish, my younger sister has my grandmother's nose and looks like my mom when my mom was a teenager, my younger brother looks sometimes like my dad's brother's son and others like my mom's father when he was much younger to me. so what exactly does that make me? -------- i've been called everything from peruvian to argentinean to puerto rican to mixed to light-skinned to punjabi to chilean to panamanian to egyptian to middle eastern and the list goes on. in more recent times symbol of peace and harmony i've been called muslim in a hateful way even though i was raised presbyterian and want to study buddhism at some point in my life. so what exactly do i look like to you? -------- i've been told that i don't act or talk or dress indian, but if i really wanted to identify as indian wouldn’t that mean that i do indeed dress and talk and act like an indian? -------- during my most formative years during high school the majority of my peers were black and, by default, i assumed that identity. it was the first time i was able to associate with an identity other than white because before high school my identity had been so closely linked with that of my family. but that clearly was not me. -------- i remember laying in bed awake at night, wishing my skin was either all the way black or all the way white because i felt like i did not have a group to which i automatically

belonged; a community. -------- the truth is that race shouldn't matter, but it really does. i wouldn't have struggled with the concept so greatly if it did not matter. -------- but now i have decided i am multi-ethnic and multi-racial and multi-cultural and that is the truth because parts of me are white and parts of me are black and parts of me are indian, too. ------- i am free to define myself and can be puerto rican or mixed or white with a really good tan if i am bored one day. ------- i am everything and at the same time, i am nothing, and, for once, i like it that way.

ryan artes

5

symbol of unity and human relations

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