Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 Day Challenge, Day 2: The meaning behind your blogger name

the UNchecked other refers to both my being hapa and ethnicity/race identification government forms.  In some forms, there is a box called other in lieu of multiracial/multiethnic or mixed. It may sound silly to some and maybe something only fellow hapas can truly understand, but I've always rebelled against the checking of any of these neat little boxes. Most of the time I write hapa or mixed, but sometimes I simply write in HUMAN.

To be hapa is to live in the borderlands, and to exist in these amalgam lands means that I refuse to check one box in those optional race questions on forms. To choose one race over the other would be to negate the other parts that make me, me. If I check other, it would imply that hapa people such as myself have no place that warrants being named. In my cultures—Native or otherwise—not having a name means that you neither exist nor matter. Unseen and unheard, you are a ghost, stripped of the dignity of what it is to be human.

Conversely, I refuse to say I am a quarter this, half that, or part these. Hapa identity is a whole identity that is made from whole ethnicities, races, cultures, traditions, and people. I refuse to be divided into neat little fractions. My ancestry comes as a whole and manifests its influence over me in a uniquely all-encompassing hapa way.

With my held held high, I choose to be the UNchecked other.


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We must never permit the voice of humanity
within us to be silenced. It is Man's sympathy with all creatures that first makes him a Man.

--Albert Schweitzer

Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

--Viktor E. Frankl