MaltaMedia Click Here!
Toni Sant's Blog
  A blog from the MaltaMedia Online Network | LATEST BLOG | NEWS | WHAT'S ON | FEATURES | WEATHER | CONTACT TONI SANT

Friday, April 22, 2005

Who Are You?

I always knew that I couldn't be the only one this happened to. Someone has finally blogged about it.

It's not as common in Europe as it is in America. However, read what Maria has to say about being recognized as Maltese outside Malta, or rather not being recognized as Maltese. I read her blog this morning and I knew I had to write about this in my own blog.

Perhaps it's not such an interesting topic unless you've experienced it yourself. Yet, I'm sure it's interest to you if you study identity politics or aspect of identity as performance, as I do.

Anyway, here's a list of what I've been called or asked if I am in the last ten years or so:

- Mexican
- Italian
- Spanish
- Greek
- Turkish
- Catalan
- Cuban
- Arab
- Jew
- Latino
- an alien (seriously!)
- mixed blood

My own interest in this subject will play an important part in an academic paper I'm currently writing for a conference entitled Digital Communities, which takes place in Italy next June. This builds on an earlier paper/project from 1996 and my work with/on I'll tell you more about that as we get closer to the date.

Blogger Jacques René Zammit said...

Very interesting point. I myself enjoy the mysterious looks people give you in bars/on buses/on trains as they try the formula of looks + language to try to come up with an acceptable answer for origin (as in nationality).

The 'Mediterranean' face is incredible because its source is the fault line between civilisations (if we accept Huntington's theory) which send out different "messages" to anyone trying to "read" them. Thus when I am "read" as an Italian I might be a threat to someone's girlfriend but not to their personal security. On the other hand when I am "read" as an Arab/Maghreb/Middle-Eastern guy, I tend to be body searched at airports no matter how much I practice my acting skills and put on a face of nonchalant traveller.

Hispanic, Greek, Egyptian... they all fit in. We are the transformers of today. Lovely isn't it. One last grudge is our ID card. Since 1 May 2004 we should be able to travel around Europe using only our Kartà ta' l-Identità. Unfortunately more often than not whenever I try to use my Maltese ID I get the question "Do you have another piece of Identification Sir?". The implication is... do you have anything more serious on you than a card that looks like the entrance ticket to the next carnival parade? (the other implication is... you are one sad arab terrorist... cannot even get yourself a proper forged ID).

Ah... the beauty of diversity. 

11:48 AM, April 22, 2005
Blogger Jacques René Zammit said...

Post scrotum:

Check out this guys site (got to him through wired temples):

His post on April 18th is bang on the subject of identity crises... interesting. Almost as interesting as his Eurovision bashing blogs. 

11:57 AM, April 22, 2005
Blogger alex said...

during my time in prague i was most often suspected to be a romanian or ukranian... on a train in Bulgaria my valiant attempts to prove my Maltese nationality by showing my passport to a border guard were almost in vain. they were convinced i was a turk. In Turkey some Kurds were convinced I was a Kurd. It seems wherever I am members of minority groups identify me with them. In Malta I am often mistaken for a foreigner. In one supermarket my insistence on replying in Maltese has not convinced the cash girls that I am a local. 

12:10 PM, April 22, 2005
Blogger Caska said...

Did you have any doubts that you were not the only one that this happened to Ton!? However, my worst experience on this topic occurred in Malta! I was on a public transport bus, direct route from Rabat / Mdina terminus to Sliema, 40c fare. I gave the driver 50c and I heard the conductor tell him "don't give her the change she is Italian, she wouldn't notice" ... I made sure he got to know I am M-A-L-T-E-S-E ;) 

1:20 PM, April 23, 2005
Blogger d said...

I get Cyprus a helluva lot.

Then I reply Malta. And generally I'm answered with something on the lines of "Ah well...that's still a Greek" 

1:40 PM, April 24, 2005

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Post a Comment

<< Home