SIGNIFICANT OTHER: Increasingly Significant Issue

Mike Salovesh t20mxs1 at CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Wed May 15 11:48:19 UTC 2002

Catching up with a month's worth of ADS-L interchanges scares me: I hate to
delete those interesting messages unread, but I feel that I'm falling
farther behind rather than keeping up.

I can't quite parse out who said what last Thursday, so I'll credit Ruth
Barton and Alice Faber and Steve Kl. and Lynne Murphy in hopes that the
real author is properly acknowledged. (I suspect that I missed the right
name, though.) Whoever it was wrote:

> >>Actually, in this day in age, I'm astounded by the number of telemarketers
> >>who ask for Mrs. Dubuque. It seems so presumptuous on so many levels, not
> >>just queer/straight ones. Haven't these people ever dealt with widowers,
> >>for example? It seems like such an easy way to get off on the wrong foot.


It makes me mad as hell, too.

I just spent a month in Guatemala and Mexico, where I had a horrible time
with standard immigration forms. Both countries asked  for my marital state
("estado civil"). Neither offered me a choice that fits comfortably.

My wife died last year. After 45 years of marriage, I find it odd to say
that I am single ("soltero"), but I don't see how a spouseless man can
claim to be married ("casado"), either. I'm a widower, and there's a
perfectly acceptable Spanish word for that ("viudo").  Trouble is, the
official forms don't make that choice available.

I'm not just picking on our neighbors to the south.  In the U.S., the
Census Bureau and my university's Office of Affirmative Action insist that
I pick one and only one "race" or "ethnic group" as a self-label. I can't.
I am like all other human beings in that regard: I am of mixed ancestry.

I'm told that if I insist on affirming the biological truth, then I should
provide the details of what is mixed with which.  Well, like all human
beings I can't be at all sure what would be in my individual mix if I could
trace ALL my ancestors back for a mere two thousand years or so. Even in
that short  a time, I suspect that my genealogy would reach out to every
continent and include the ancestors of some members of each and every
"race" or "ethnic group" enumerated in the official list of available

Besides, I'm also told that, as a matter of written Census policy, if I
were to claim that any of my ancestors were dark-skinned people from Africa
south of the Sahara it wouldn't matter how few they were in relation to all
my other ancestors: the Census would count me as "African American".

Why is it that bureaucrats insist on making me lie down in some rigid
Procrustean bed?

-- mike salovesh   <m-salovesh-9 at>   PEACE !!!

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