The Befuddled Muddled Mutt writes in with an interesting question...
I’ve been reading this minority debate with interest. While I have never used minority status to get into college before (I tend to check ‘other’ and leave it at that) some of the schools have great minority scholarships. BUT, while there are nice little boxes to check of ‘black,’ ‘Hispanic,’ ‘native or pacific islander,’ etc., what is lacking is an ‘all’ or ‘my mother was a raging psychotic who never took her medications and one of her major delusions was race and ethnicity’ button.
So, depending upon the mood of the only parent I know, I am black, Hispanic, German, full-blood Dutch, German, Cherokee, Mohawk, etc. I know that to claim Native American you need to be registered with the government, and that’s a whole other political debacle. So I’m wondering if I apply for scholarships not knowing, they’re gonna look at me when I get there and say, “What the hell?” On the street I’ve been everything (meaning, I’ve been asked if I’m any number of ethnicities), and if you go by comfort level I’m everything, and I consider myself to have no ethnic ties in terms of background, although I identify with the literature of certain cultures/traditions over others.
So, is it worth it to apply for minority status when who knows if I’m technically whatever ethnicity is on the endangered lists? Do I just forget about it, apply on the strength of my writing and to fully funded/mostly funded schools (yeah, I’m leaning toward that, but interested in the opinion nonetheless)? I don’t feel like doing a genetics ancestry test just yet.
This is a complex question to say the least, BMM. I'm way out in man-facting left field with this one. In fact, I'm outside the ballpark.
I mean, if you don't know one parent (I'm presuming), how do you go about proving ethnicity? And would you have to prove it? Could you just look like that ethnicity? Is that enough?
We're diving into both legal and ethical territory here, BMM, so I'm not going to casually man-fact. I'm going to say: I don't know. And I'd be careful if I were you about claiming to be something legally, if you can't prove it.
Anyone have some practical or experienced advice on this matter? BMM and I would appreciate any insights.