A few weeks ago I had a mommogram (if you have breasts and are of a certain age, I can feel you cringing).
During my appointment at the hospital I was handed a clipboard with and intake form, and a survey.
I was pleased to see many options for the gender category along with some definitions at the bottom of the page (well done!). However, when I arrived at the ethnic/cultural identity question I had a moment.
There were many choices, yes, but the instructions were to pick one. ONE!
Impossible to choose
As a biracial individual, I have a lifetime of trying to fitting into a category.
Although my mother is European, I’m not white because my skin is brown.
And my father is Caribbean, but I’m not Black because I don’t have the cultural intel.
Some days fitting in was a real struggle, other days not choosing was liberating. These days, I’m learning the blessing of accepting both “sides” and all of who I am.
And now this form was making me choose one. UGH.
Sure it said “which one BEST describes your identity” but that didn’t cut it. It was impossible for me to pick. So I didn’t.
I checked off both European White and Caribbean Black. And then I wrote a note beside it asking why we had to choose just one.
What are we missing?
In a city as multicultural as Toronto, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has an issue with the pick one limit. But I wonder how many people force themselves to choose.
What part of themselves do they discount with that choice?
What information does the hospital lose because they are forcing a choice?
When we have narrow definitions of who people are, it comes with a cost – to the individual as well as to the organization.