Saturday 18 March 2023

How Akin became Yankee

Ticking the funny boxes

When it comes to the context of identity, I find that I can be quite pedantic and regimented in my thinking. I recognise the many influences that form the expression of who I am, by heritage, birth, association, involvement, recognition, and soon also by marriage.

The way I have for all intents and purposes become something of a world citizen, though I am yet to travel the world enough to lay that claim, I wield a passport that at least provides a welcome to most countries for a sojourn, but not a residency.

When I am asked to tick ethnicity boxes, the one I want to tick is Black English rather than Black British, sometimes, I would write in the box for Other, Black English, then we have orders of granularity, Black Caribbean, Black African, Black Other even as there are large populations of in the Americas, both north and south. These boxes do not fit anymore.

The quagmire of identity

Then with the recent penchant for claiming whatever identity or pronoun you desire, you wonder if you can detract from the obvious to impart the almost superfluously ridiculous; yet, conviction, is one you cannot dismiss easily if I have convinced myself I am Caucasian or Asian, who is to question me when they have assumed by default and accepted norms that I am what they see rather than what I seem?

There is no keeping up with identity politics, and we old fogies have a lot of catching up to do. Who I am is so different from what you see, and to make assumptions without enquiry to ascertain and verify what I have become because of what and who I think I am, without having to explain why it is that way is slowly becoming a hate crime.

Now, you need to be aware of deadnaming (2013), misgendering, pronouns, and much else. I am surprised the first two words are not neologisms, they are in our English dictionaries.

An English American

However, I have a nickname at home, that everyone can subscribe to and by that, we reduce the power-distance index to the point where we can communicate easily as peers. I like that kind of conversation with my siblings and it works well for me.

It was only a fortnight ago in a conversation with my mother that I learnt the real provenance of my nickname. It would appear strange that for someone who is quite proudly English, their nickname would be so distinctly American, also too American for my liking, yet it stuck and I have not quibbled about it.

Attending an office where my mother had to have my name registered, for the many times she said it to the hearing of the official, he just could not get it. He twisted and mangled my name into the spectacle of him giving the rendition of a patriotic nursery rhyme. That is how Akin became Yankee. [Yankee Doodle – Wikipedia]

I purposely did not use Anglo-American in the last section title.

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