the “nationality” dashboard project

People who insist they know better than me where I’m “really” from:

“Where are you really from?” It’s a question that many people, particularly BAME people know too well. And underneath it is the sinister implication that you are not really part of “us”. I have a strong British accent but still people seem to insist by just looking at me that I really must be from somewhere else and tell me so.

This project was borne out of the frustration of constantly battling that question. I have decided to limit myself to times when people have fought me on my national identity; responding to my answer with an insistence that actually I have to be from X country instead. The graphs are live and updated as need be.

For the record I am British and Sudanese but no-one has ever even guessed even just one of those countries.

“No, but really you’re from…”

Number of (incorrect) individual countries guessed so far:

The current assumptions

So what? You get mistaken sometimes, big deal.

When someone insists against what I am telling them that I am really from somewhere else, what they are actually saying is “I don’t believe you are one of us and I will never think of you that way no matter how many generations of your family reside here“. It’s not an innocent guess – it’s about who belongs in a place, and is frequently used to uphold ethno-nationalist ideas of what race or ethnicity a particularly country should be home to.