Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

Which box would you check given my heritage?

Black
 17 (77.3%)
Middle Eastern
 1 (4.5%)
Other
 4 (18.2%)

Total Members Voted: 21

Voting closed: January 19, 2007, 02:45:26 PM

Author Topic: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?  (Read 17369 times)

suge

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Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« on: December 20, 2006, 02:42:38 PM »
My father is from Somalia (East Africa). The term "black" usually refers to those with African origins. Somalis are Black in appearance. However, Somalia (as well as Sudan) are considered part of the Middle East. In addition, Somali culture parallels Middle Eastern culture in terms of religion (Islamic) and most other customs.

Filling out LS apps prompted me to question this critically.

To complicate matters even further, my mother is Swedish.

Your thoughts?

dbgirl

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 02:50:02 PM »
I'm always surprised by people who don't seem to have an identity.  :-\
As pookie said, that's a question only you can answer.
When you have somebody dying because they are poor and black or poor and white or because of whatever they are ... that erases everything that's great about this country.

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flyaway

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 02:50:02 PM »
My father is from Somalia (East Africa). The term "black" usually refers to those with African origins. Somalis are Black in appearance. However, Somalia (as well as Sudan) are considered part of the Middle East. In addition, Somali culture parallels Middle Eastern culture in terms of religion (Islamic) and most other customs.

Filling out LS apps prompted me to question this critically.

Your thoughts?

Well... I guess it depends on whether they are asking about race or about culture.  I think they *want* to be asking about culture, but that's even less straightforward than race, so it has come down to having to ask about race.  So, I would say you are black.

I think they would be unhappy if a white person whose father was white South African put down African-American.  I'm not saying it's an identical situation, but it's somewhat similar in my opinion.

If you were raised in Somalia yourself and you had the option to check more than one box, I think it would be legitimate to check both.
Michigan Law Class of 2010

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 03:23:58 PM »
post a pic and we'll tell you  :)

redemption

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 03:24:53 PM »
My father is from Somalia (East Africa). The term "black" usually refers to those with African origins. Somalis are Black in appearance. However, Somalia (as well as Sudan) are considered part of the Middle East. In addition, Somali culture parallels Middle Eastern culture in terms of religion (Islamic) and most other customs.

Filling out LS apps prompted me to question this critically.

Your thoughts?

Somalis are black. End of conundrum.

suge

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 03:27:04 PM »
My father is from Somalia (East Africa). The term "black" usually refers to those with African origins. Somalis are Black in appearance. However, Somalia (as well as Sudan) are considered part of the Middle East. In addition, Somali culture parallels Middle Eastern culture in terms of religion (Islamic) and most other customs.

Filling out LS apps prompted me to question this critically.

Your thoughts?

Hi Jibah- welcome to the board. What is your mother if you don't mind me asking?

Remember that Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea are only considered part of the Middle East because of the Islamic majority and Arabic language ties. However, many identify these countries as East African because they are originallly negroid people who mixed with Arabs, Persians, and Ottomans. What is interesting is that many Arabs do not consider these nations Arab states nor do they consider their citizens Arab people.

I think that taking your mother's race into consideration might help significantly...

HTH

To complicate matters even further, my mother is Swedish.  ???

redemption

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 03:28:12 PM »
You're black. Marcus Samelsson's black and so are you. You are overthinking this.

suge

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2006, 03:37:37 PM »
You're black. Marcus Samelsson's black and so are you. You are overthinking this.

I see your point but at the same time, Ethiopia isn't the same as Somalia. In addition, this doesn't keep me up at night. I thought it would be interesting to see the responses I get.

redemption

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2006, 03:43:53 PM »
You're black. Marcus Samelsson's black and so are you. You are overthinking this.

I see your point but at the same time, Ethiopia isn't the same as Somalia. In addition, this doesn't keep me up at night. I thought it would be interesting to see the responses I get.

Haha. A philosophical question, then. The answer remains that you're black. If whitey can't tell the difference between you and an Ethiopian, then there isn't a difference at all as far as checking boxes goes. If Homer Plessy was black, it doesn't matter that your mother is (white) Swedish -- you're black.

suge

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Re: Am I Black or Middle Eastern?
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2006, 03:53:45 PM »
You're black. Marcus Samelsson's black and so are you. You are overthinking this.

I see your point but at the same time, Ethiopia isn't the same as Somalia. In addition, this doesn't keep me up at night. I thought it would be interesting to see the responses I get.

Haha. A philosophical question, then. The answer remains that you're black. If whitey can't tell the difference between you and an Ethiopian, then there isn't a difference at all as far as checking boxes goes. If Homer Plessy was black, it doesn't matter that your mother is (white) Swedish -- you're black.

That is exactly why I have always identified myself as black. That's cool how you referenced a case.

On one of the apps that I filled out, candidates have the option to have their applications reviewed by different student groups (Black Law Students, Middle Eastern Law Students). I checked both of the above. I think my choice in that situation was appropriate.