I hate paperwork. And yes, I do mean hate, even though that’s a very strong word. I don’t like it because of the boxes that I have to fit into. I never know which ones to fill in in most cases. Sometimes I have to pick the closest answer. Why do we have to categorize ourselves into boxes for other people? Do others really need to know every detail of what they think we are?
For a start, race/ethnic background. Race in and of itself is a made up term, since we are all human. Then there is the ethnic background. I come from one that doesn’t exist. After all, there is no group of Native Americans. There are 450+ different nations who co-exist within the United States.
So now we move on to sex/gender. there are always two choices, Male and Female. But that doesn’t cover a fairly large number of people who are genetically both. Nor does it take into consideration people who “gender flip” depending on the situation. And of course, this leads to “married, single, divorced” . Sometimes none of the above apply. And other options don’t always fit in either.
From there we move to Housing. Rent or own? Or the other options, like Living in nursing home,halfway house or community center, or homeless, living in a hotel,car, shelter or friend’s couches.
And the lists go on and on! And the boxes get more and more ambiguous. trying harder and harder to pinpoint exactly what the person answering is.
That is the true problem. Most people aren’t just one thing. They don’t fit neatly into little boxes. More and more of us have problems with identifying all the mixes we have. Mixed-race really doesn’t cover it. And they NEVER provide all the possible combinations of mix we are. Bi-racial doesn’t work for people with three or more “races”. Sometimes it’s just easier to pick the race you look the most like and claim that. Other times there are a few groups that come close.
This is why I develop a sense of humor about it. If its a fill in the blank option I will sometimes develop a sarcasting sense of humor and actually put human on the form. Or I’ll put the term I think apply to me most. Border lander. A border lander is a person on the outskirts. They are part of more than one group,standing on the border,where they have a foot on either side, so to speak. Border landers don’t fit in any group really. None of their sides may truly accept them. And they need to survive caught between catagories, and literally outside the boxes.