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Ethnic Identity photo

Imposter imposter imposter imposter imposter imposter. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with that shit all day, the Polish-Armenian chorus in my head is already running it on repeat. The collective incessantly chants—a name is not an ethnicity. That coat of arms tattoo on your left shoulder is not an ethnicity. Your subpar attempts at authentic cuisine are not an ethnicity, so cool it on the pandering. Bet you’ve only made lahmajoon from scratch once. Bet you’ve made pierogi dough once. Bet your attempts at grandma’s pilaf recipe are crunchy and undercooked, noodles burnt, stuck to the bottom of the pot. Bet you can’t even keep your Polish food and your Armenian food straight anymore. Bet you drink Ararat Brandy when you’re taking pictures for Instagram, something to show off when you’re with the family you barely make time for outside of the holidays and do you even go home as much as a good son? Have you ever? How can you claim culture without family? No wonder nothing’s been passed down. Do you even speak the language? Did you even do the required reading? Do you ever listen to the vinyl that once blared in your grandparents’ basements or are you running through that Sufjan Stevens album again? When’s the last time you did your research? Did you find your ethnicity on Wikipedia? Did you find your ethnicity on Google Scholar? Can you even keep track of your personal history? What do you really know? Not a fucking drop of effort except when it benefits your stories. A surface-level dive at best. Last time we checked you were in line at the trendy bakery on Sixth Avenue, waiting to order an overpriced cold brew, making dad jokes on Twitter, completely unaware of your surroundings. At this point, you probably can’t even remember the route back to your rented house down the road. You’ve never had a sense of direction. You’ve become accustomed to walking everywhere except back where you came from. So can you even answer the question anymore? Who are you? And what gives you the right to speak for us?


image: Dina L. Relles