LEARNING TO SEE THE MIXEDBLOOD

“It’s My Revolution: Learning to See the Mixedblood,”

-Kristin Arola

3/23/16

     Kristin’s essay describes regalia-a term we’ve been analyzing a lot in class, but she relates it to what it is like being mixed with Indian. She starts off by talking about how she attended a dance that was funded to help raise breast cancer awareness within the native communities. She herself took part in this event by performing a dance with her pink shawl. However the fun went down-hill when she felt that the “real Indians” were gossiping and conveying that she didn’t belong. A woman then approaches her and asks what her “costume” was supposed to mean. It took Arola awhile to realize what this woman had meant. She then digs into the meaning of regalia by stating that “it’s not a costume but an embodied signifier of my past and present experiences as a mixedblood Indian.” The fact that the woman had asked if it was a costume came off very offensive. Throughout the rest of the article, we start to look at Identity in two ways. In her case, is a person Indian or not? Can a person of mixed blood be identified as Indian? She then discusses regalia and how we see online identity. As we become more active online, we often leave a trace or presence of a self-identity.

     I feel that we all act different both online and offline. How I act around my friends is completely different then how I act around co-workers, customers at work, clients, bosses, etc. And in class, a couple people mentioned that they act a little more reckless on twitter as opposed to Facebook. This got me to think about my online self vs my offline self. I think our online self is different because when it comes to social media, we are under the spotlight 24/7. Anyone who is on our contacts has access to our social media, therefore we have learned to behave in a specific manner based on who is in our circle of friends. As a result, we have learned to create a more censored version of ourselves based on our settings. Although both our online and offline selves are inclusive, our online selves seems easier to manipulate. So I feel that it is difficult for me to accept our online selves as regalia.

     Overall I felt this article was very relatable mostly because I come from a bi-racial background. Arola was describing segregation between “real Indians” and for those that are mixed. Although she was discussing a division between her and the “real Indians” this can be related to anyone of different cultures and may be excluded due to not fitting within a “neatly racial category.” How I identify myself was something I had thought of numerous times growing up. My dad is from Jamaica and my mom is from Korea. I remember when I was a kid I had visited some relatives in Jamaica that I hadn’t met yet. My cousins I met for the first time had asked me what I was. They knew I was a foreigner, but when I told them I was black they would literally say “no, you’re not.” My mom’s side of the family did not think I was Asian either. So as a child growing up I didn’t Identify as anything. When checking out the race section on forms I would simply mark “other” as my race. As I got older I learned to embrace both sides. I think some of this struggle with identity seems to come from a struggle of society not being able to accept more than one label. Sometimes it feels like we are attached to binary choices. Are you man or woman? Republican or Democrat? I think people just need to learn that we are all far more complex than that. Although my race doesn’t soley define who I am as an individual, both cultures are nevertheless apart of me.

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