Let’s Talk About: Being Bitsas

In a time when there seems to be so much hate and pain and fear in the world, sometimes it can be easy to forget to look at things with an open mind. Often, the media, politicians, and even our social group, can frame things in a very black and white way, drawing on historical prejudices and nationalism to explain and respond to tragedy and fear. It can be so easy to define ourselves against “the other” when the other is simply a nameless, faceless block of potential evil.  A friend of mine shared this video on her Facebook timeline, and I just had to share it here. It’s message, of openness, tolerance, and acceptance, is so important.

Perhaps, being Australian and the daughter of a first generation immigrant, I find it easier to accept that individuals do not fit so easily in a single ‘nation’ or ‘racial’ category, and find it hard to connect with people in the beginning of the video.  Australian settlers have come (and continue to come) from all literally every inhabited continent, and as a result the majority of our population is at least a little bit ‘racially’ diverse (even if that’s just European diversity), and most of us know that.

I’ve never done a DNA test like this myself, but I’d love to.  I know that I have Welsh, English, Scottish, Scandinavian, French, and German ancestors, but I’d love to know where else parts of my DNA have come from.

Growing up, my dad used to tell me that I was a “bitsa”, because I’ve got bits of everywhere in my genes. Most of us are bitsas, but it can be easy to forget that and try to slot ourselves into one category, whether that be national, racial, or any of the other categories we’ve constructed for ourselves. It’s being bitsas that makes us all awesome and unique, and we shouldn’t feel we need to stifle that, particularly not as a coping mechanism for fear.

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