The Man was reading an article about Macedonia FYR vs Greece Macedonia on BBC this morning (www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42963058) and we got talking. He was quite put off by the whole situation. I described to him how, in 2004, I attended the European Youth Parliament in Durham, UK, and in our team we had a young girl from FYR Macedonia and another one from Greece. The Greek didn't even want to talk to the Macedonian! During the introduction round ("Hi, my name is Maria and I am from Estonia...") the Greek girl made a speech about Macedonians not having the right to call themselves Macedonians. For the rest of the session the Macedonian girl, basically, attempted to refer to her home as FYROM instead because every time she called it "Macedonia" the Greek would roll her eyes and get grumpy at her.
I found it quite... sad and comical at the same time. Sadly comical. At one point the FYR Macedonian girl actually ended up crying over describing the joy of being able to live in a country independent of the Yugoslavian system but now in a feud with Greeks instead.
The Man talked about an ancient skeleton unearthed near where he used to live in Bishop's Stortford in UK. According to DNA analysis and post-mortem the man was determined to be fairly dark-skinned and had blue eyes, with dark curly hair. His mitochondrial DNA was shared by most of the European population and, originally, we all really are from Africa anyway.
The Man described his frustration with the geopolitics of borders, national identities and the ensuing fight over natural resources. The lines drawn between countries are often very trivial and lines between ethnicities even more trivial at times. Yet, the fights that follow are often not trivial at all!, resulting in conflicts that are regularly leading to people's deaths.
And that's where The Man made that statement. From now onwards, he said, when asked about his ethnicity in various statistical and government questionnaires, he is going to tick a box saying "African" because, in the end, that's where we're all from anyway and he's tired of following the trivial lines drawn between various ethnicities, even if those lines are for statistical purposes only.
I usually tick "New Zealand European" at the moment.