In the shoes of others

Physically, I do not have the apparence that stereotypically Moroccan people have

- So, I'm just going with something I thought about immediately when I read the question. I'm originally from Morocco, but physically, I do not have the apparence that stereotypically Moroccan people have. And I sometimes wondered why do I have these reactions like « Oh, but you don't look Moroccan, you actually look from Brazil or from France » or from any other part in the world. I think people should be aware that just because your blood or your genetics or whatnot belong to a certain place, it doesn't necessarily mean that the idea you have about a particular country has to suit the sort of picture you have of it, because there are Moroccan people who have white skin, dark skin, blue, green eyes, brown eyes, dark hair, blonde hair, and I believe that also applies to other countries, you know, physical appearances are very variated, genetics are very variated, and it's not a fixed sort of thing. People should be aware of that. And also, some people believe that they can choose where you are from or not. Like, I'm a mixture, I was born and raised in a different place from where my parents are from, and then certain people decide where they think I am or not from, and I think it's up to me to decide and feel a certain way.

- I see, yes! How was that a problem for you, if it was?

- Well, I didn't really have a problem. Just, it felt like because I was white skin, green eyes and well, my hair is not really brown, but I dyed it blond and people think it's my color, so that kind of like "saved me", even though I shouldn't even say that... sometimes I even heard « Oh but you're prettier than Moroccan people » ! So they were like « Well, surely you can not be from Morocco », and I was like « What the ...? ». So I didn't really receive any "bad treatments" per se, it wasn't an issue, but it did make me wonder, what if I was actually looking like what people consider a North African person? And obviously, I will never know the answer.

- You never will, no... is there good sides about this mixture of genetics and culture? There might be things that you perceive in a certain way and that others wouldn't? I know, it's such a vague question...

- Well, I think there's many positive sides and aspects about being from...

- A multicultural background?

- Yeah, I don't even know how to call this because I actually believe that's going to be the future anyway. But yeah, I feel it's fascinating because it gives you more of a progressive or sort of open minded mentality. I think it makes you see the world in a more broaden context, rather than seeing everything in boxes. And I think it makes you more empathic towards other aspects that are not related with nationality. So yeah, I think multiculturalism is the best. I always say I'm like a plant! (laughing)

- Like fungi, from everywhere! (laughing) Okay! What do you tend to identify to, like... you are born in Morocco...

- No, my entire family are from Morocco. But my brother and I grew in Spain, and then I spent my pre adulthood life in the UK, England and Scotland...

- Okay, so when people ask, what do you say you are?

- Well, it depends. To be honest, I have different answers depending on my mood. Sometimes I say I'm Spanish just because you know, I don't want to be bothered to explain anything. Sometimes I'm like « I'm Spanish and Moroccan ». And sometimes I'm just like « You know what, I'm from everywhere » ! (laughing)

- Okay. Is there anything else you would like to add to other round that?

- Well, thank you for listening, and I hope that people try to be a bit more understanding and comprehensive towards everyone else's lives and the fact that we are all... I believe that we're all kind of one, but obviously at the same time, we're all unique in our own way, so it's about comprehending and understanding those sort of uniqueness and to respect each other and trying to... see further. I feel like in our society, there's a lack of depth. Like, we try to just stay on the surface level of things, when you can go in depth to empathize with other people.

- Yes... I guess it's difficult because like you said, sometimes you just say « I'm from Spain », because it's just more simple and if you have a quick chat with someone, you don't especially want to go into details...

- Yeah, that's true...

- I'm wondering how does it feel for you when someone reacts sort of negatively to you saying that you have origins from Morocco? Like, what's the feeling when people sort of mistake you I guess?

- Well, in Spain it's a different story. But here people are more like « Oh, you're from Morocco, that's amazing! »...

- How is it in Spain then?

- In Spain, they're not that interested. You know, it's just because there's a lot of Moroccan immigration there, but the typical reaction is like « Oh but you don't look Moroccan, how can that be?! ». And I've been in situations when people are like « No but, you're not Moroccan! » or « No but, you're not Spanish! », you know, and they do decide that and I'm just like « Well, I think I'm the one that knows what I am ». And because I don't really want to go further in a vicious circle of an argument, I'm just like « Yes, whatever! ».

- So they don't believe you sometimes, it's kind of strange, no?

- They're just ignorant. I mean, we're all ignorant and we just ignore different things. And I feel like culturally, yeah, they're very ignorant. They don't know, and there's obviously nothing wrong with being ignorant. It becomes a problem when you choose not to want to know or understand.

- To know more, yeah...

- Yeah, and you just, again, stay on that sort of like small boxes thing and decide that you have the last say, and that's it. It comes from your head, and you think that that's right, and actually, well, no, really...

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