A few years ago, I started noticing the terminus ALAANA ( African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and native American ) being used by versatile dance organizations to refer to marginalized racial groups — including on my application for Dance/NYC ‘s Junior Committee .
As an Arab-American I was excited to see some recognition, given how much we are forgotten in conversations on race in the US ( unless we ‘re bombing or being bombed ). But I was fair as confuse and concerned that Arabs were included at the excommunication of early Middle East and North African ethnicities.
Upon sharing my concerns with others in the dance field, I learned that the distinction between “ Arab ” and “ middle Eastern ” was n’t as normally known as I assumed .
The Middle East/Southwest Asia and North Africa region is fabulously multicultural. It includes countries that are not predominantly Arab ( Turkey, Iran ), ampere good as many other groups with their own histories, languages, and cultures — such as Chaldeans, Kurds, Amazighs, Assyrians, Armenians, Azeris, and Mandaeans. The demand number or definition of cultural identities has room for controversy — but the fact that there are more than one does not .
Upon close inspection, most ethnic categories are not quite historically stable as we imagine them to be, and can have american samoa much to do with patriot politics of the end century as they do with ancient blood ties. But the fact that a class is socially constructed does not make it less veridical. sociable constructs are very adequate to determine who gets the job, who can cross borders, who gets citizenship rights, who gets convicted, who lives and who dies .
In many cases, myths of ethno-national purity have lead to the violent erasure of minority groups through genocide or forced acculturation. By failing to acknowledge the diaspora of these groups in the US, flush unintentionally, we are validating that expunction .
In holocene years, organizations using the terms MENA ( Middle East and North Africa ) or SWANA ( Southwest Asia and North Africa ) have aimed to build broader communities, recognizing the region ‘s multiculturalism, and build solidarity around our similar experiences of racialization and discrimination within the US .
Of course, pan-regional identity is not without its own challenges and controversies. “ Middle East ” is a term that comes from a colonial perspective ( what ‘s it East of anyhow ? ) and many think it ‘s clock to abandon it in favor of more achromatic geographic terms. ( personally, I ‘m not quite ready to police “ Middle East ” out of being, as its alternatives have limited recognizability outside of academic and militant context. )
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Further, some would argue that even grouping this across-the-board stretch of geography together is just reproducing colonial land divisions. Are we not amply acknowledging our places on the continents of Asia and Africa respectively ? Is this partially rooted in our own forms of racism and colorism ?
There are no childlike or elementary answers to these questions, nor would I consider myself the most qualify person to speak on them. I ‘m not a pollitical learner nor an know militant .
I ‘m just a kyd who grew up with an “ ambiguous ” appearance and parents from Lebanon, uncertain of where I fit into the roughly-segregated social view of my suburban North Carolina school. Who did n’t know how to answer a demographic phase honestly, but sometimes checked “ White ” a little excessively aspirationally in the post-9-11 political climate. Who grew up in a bilingual family, but resisted becoming functionally bilingual. Who until recently, assumed this disqualified me from seeking out community about around my ethnicity. Who finally realized that these experiences are common within my generation, and deserving hash out .
The conversations on identity I ‘ve experienced within the MENA/SWANA community are boundlessly more sophisticated than what occurs in the american mainstream. Yet this opening between inter-community and mainstream understanding is by no means limited to the MENA/SWANA category .
In holding a session on “ Words We Use to Talk About race, ” we hope to bring some of the nuance common in community-specific discussions of raceway into the cosmopolitan discussion. To make outer space for personal experiences and divergences of opinion, without assigning any individual the effect of theatrical performance. To allow this complexity to inform the choice of broad organizational language, while knowing that it can never fully be encompassed by it.
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At its best, terminology allows us to find communities, identify patterns of marginalization, build political alliances, and shape social narratives. A terminus should n’t mark the end of discussion, but can open doors to more fat interrogate and criticism .
That said, the current terminology surrounding race in the dance field is holding our conversations back quite than pushing them forward. Let ’ s transfer that .
Nadia Khayrallah is a dancer, choreographer, and writer, american samoa well as the Communications Coordinator for Dance/NYC ’ s Junior Committee. She ’ s decidedly not an technical on this gorge, but winds up explaining it a lot anyhow. She welcomes your feedback, additions, and challenges. www.NadiaK.tk
Category : Birds
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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