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(US-nc) Not being default

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    [opinion from Duke University The Chronicle Online] What do vegetarian food, Lady Foot Locker and ethnic dolls have in common? They re not default. If you re a
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2006
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      [opinion from Duke University The Chronicle Online]

      What do vegetarian food, Lady Foot Locker and ethnic dolls have in
      common? They're not default. If you're a vegetarian on a transatlantic
      flight, the default meal isn't going to work for you. You have to
      request a special meatless meal in advance.
      ...
      If a girl doesn't want a default white doll, she's got to specially
      request an ethnic one—just like the vegetarian requesting the meatless
      meal.

      Having a set of defaults is of course not unique to American culture.
      In India, for example, people use the term "non-vegetarian" to refer
      to meals with meat. Last December while on a domestic flight in India,
      the flight attendant asked me whether I wanted a "veg or non-veg"
      lunch. Vegetarian is the default. Meals with meat are specially called
      "non-vegetarian."

      I mention this distinction between nameless defaults and specially
      termed non-defaults to bring attention to what it's like to live as a
      non-default person relative to the larger society. As a vegetarian
      woman of South Asian heritage living in the United States, I am not
      default in many aspects of my identity and lifestyle.
      ...
      Presently, I believe these issues of identity can't be resolved; they
      can only be managed. Reminders of which categories of people aren't
      default—whether vegetarian food, Lady Foot Locker or ethnic dolls—are
      simply part of the human condition.

      Preeti Aroon is a graduate student in public policy. Her column runs
      every other Wednesday. Toss in your two cents at:
      http://preetiontheweb.blogspot.com

      --
      full story:
      http://www.chronicle.duke.edu/vnews/display.v/ART/43e0ad00a54ac

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