Thursday, September 23, 2010
Feeling my ethnicity
As an anthropologist, I am all about questioning essentialisms like race and ethnicity. Yet, as a person, I also feel their significance.
For example: This evening, an invitation comes through my Inbox to come out to a Little Feat show.
I turn to StraightMan: "How do I answer this? What is Little Feat?"
I entertain the possibility that it might be my age - the Wiki on Little Feat gives me the impression that the band had its heyday during the 1970s? I mean, look at the photo above.
StraightMan, also my age, however, exhibits a brand of familiarity and ease with (and enthusiasm for) Little Feat that provokes in me an emotion that ought to have a German word giving name to it: A response that is connected with the surprise of the familiar being made suddenly strange, like looking at one's own face in the mirror and not recognizing it, like talking with one's spouse and realizing that there are depths there that I fear to plumb.
So, I have to ask him: "Is this one of those bands that white people like?"
A pause. "Maybe." Another pause. "Probably."