I’m a Token Slav

A colleague contacted to invite me to join the meetings of academics who specialize in Slavic Studies.

“You know that I don’t do Slavic Studies,” I told him. “I’m a Hispanist.”

“Yes,” he said, “of course. But we are inviting you as a Slavic person. It’s good to run one’s research by somebody who is actually from a Eastern European country.”

I never get any mileage out of my Slav identity, so, of course, I agreed. For once, somebody wants a token Slav around. Usually, my intensely Slavic appearance and last name get me negatively stereotyped from the get-go. And here there are people who have dedicated their lives to Slavic Studies, which must mean they actually like our culture.

My debut as a token Slav is scheduled for tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “I’m a Token Slav

  1. Hey, I’m the token faculty of color at my university. Seriously, I’m classified as such by Human Resources, so I get invitations to mentor minority students (usually African American). I do it because I like mentoring and I think I can relate to being an outsider (in certain ways). But I’ve surprised a few with my skin tone when I first showed up for meetings.


  2. You will love it! I know that you are not a specialist in Slavic studies but you have many things to say about it. Just read your blog!

    I wish I were something like that in French. Alas! I do not count. I am not French… I am not African… I am not from the French Caribbean…

    As a white (although in a couple of occasions I was told I am not white) man whose first language is not English but still grew up in North America I often like to call myself the “silent minority.”


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