There was an anti-war demonstration today, and I happened to be nearby to see a bit of it going on and also overhear some acquaintances being kind of racist about it. I broke in and said, "You know, you really can't talk about Syrian-Americans like that. Besides, you don't even know it, but my family is part-Syrian - my grandmother's older siblings were all born in Syria."
They shouldn't have been saying such racist, prejudiced shit even if my family doesn't have Syrian ancestry, but let them ponder on the fact that they're saying nasty stuff about a person they actually know and see regularly. You know what I mean?
Of course, I have a large, blended family. My Syrian grandmother is actually my step-parent's mom, but as I've been close to that family since I was a child, and they were close friends with my mom's parents back in the day, I never use the "step" prefix, and it doesn't occur to me to do so unless I'm talking about my "dads" or something. I often call my second parents "smom" or "sdad".
Anyway, being proud of my grandmother and loving her dearly, I pulled up her photo on my phone and showed it off. I said how their statements about the demonstrators and other Syrian-Americans were completely unfounded and unfair, and saying that they're all Islamic terrorists is plain wrong. My grandmother has siblings and cousins who continue to live in the area, and they are all Catholic! But they still have a lot of ties to Syria, like folkloric stuff (mmm, Sito's kibbeh is amazeballs, kinda literally?).
I showed another picture of my family, including all of us siblings and our parents, and this is my favorite part: I was told that seeing the pictures and knowing about my grandmother, my acquaintance finally understood why I have a "foreign" look - I take after my grandmother and the Syrian/Arabic genes are strong in me. Of the five of us siblings, I'm the one who most resembles her. (!!!!!)
Grandaddy is the blue-eyed All-American type, by the way. Of my stepsiblings, one is more stereotypical Middle Eastern in appearance while the other was the pale china doll type until puberty, when blond hair turned brown. So I sort of laughed and said "maybe!" even though I know good and well that at least in our family, the "Arabic Race" thing is bullshit, and the fact that I have brown-black hair, thick lashes, and green eyes is more due to the British Isles influence of the Purdy line (my Nanny's mother's maiden name - I take after Nanny and Granny strongly).
As a reminder: Sito and Grandaddy
Me and my Nanny (Two peas in a pod in this photo, especially!)
Five siblings (one of the photos I showed)