My Identity And African American Identity

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When filling out a questionnaire, it is only a matter of time before I come across the predictable: what is your race/ethnicity? I do not have to think long nor hard about my answer. In fact, I do not hesitate to pencil in African American. Why is that? It could very well be that at a glance my skin tone and accent is enough for people to quickly label me as such thus reaffirming my identity. Though, I know people with similar physical dispositions that struggle with the question every time it arises and others complain about the limited options that make them feel pigeonholed into too broad of an identity. What makes it so easy for me? I identify as primarily African American with a secondary Native American identity and to a much lesser degree European heritage. I do not write down the latter identities due to my lack of membership in the tribes that I am ancestrally tied to and my personal disinterest in the European ancestor that forcibly inserted himself by means of master-slave relations. I readily accept the label African American but I do not think about what that means nor what means for my other identities nearly as much as I probably should. While the captured Africans, repressed Native Americans, and the European settlers that fragmented them are all parts of my ancestry and have led to my current identity, my identity now is so vastly different from their modern counterparts. Let me begin with the dominate culture that makes up the bulk of my identity, African

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