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This will be a personal story… but its about people and the politics of identity.

Today, someone who I respect a great deal though I havent known them long, turned to me and said… “Really mark, you’re American…. right? I mean….. You’re American…”

So I naturally responded… “YES…. and I’m Portuguese” … a response that is quite automatic from me… people automatically assume by my perfect northeastern American english that I’m American. But they know little as to where Im from and what my past involves.

So the conversation continues…. he says to my comment about being Portuguese… “Yeah… but… YOu’re American… I mean… even in Portugal… (something to that effect) ” I responded, slightly bored – “Yes… and I’m Portuguese in America… I know about both cultures because both are mine.. I can talk politics, art, geography, history… family… as both a Portuguese person and an American.”

The conversation faded to something else after that… but I could help but be disappointed in this person and in general. This is not the first time or the last that I get the “But mark… you’re american” It’s disappointing that people feel the need to put me in a little box… so that they can categorize me and feel they understand all. You see… YOU CAN’T PUT ME IN A LITTLE BOX THAT SAYS “This kind of thing” BECAUSE I REFUSE TO FIT IN YOUR BOX! ITs true that I judge people sometimes.. and thats sad. But honestly, If I ever felt this need to put everyone in this box.. Im not sure how I’d go on in this life. Why do people get intimidated by my identity? It’s my dam identity! If you think its rare or impossible of false…. I have to wonder why you’re so worried about me… after all, I’m the one who has to live with this identity… and might I add… I quite enjoy who I am. I’m a very versitile and dynamic person… I hope and do my best to increase that.

I guess I should just relax… people just worry about my identity…. maybe I should be flattered.