What is parethnicity?

Parethnicity is a broad term used to encompass a common experience within the plural communities, an experience that is wholly unique and separate from any other.

Parethnic is defined as “the state in which a pluran is ethnically different from the body the pluran inhabits''. This term was originally coined to give plural people who share this experience the language to talk about it, as parethnicity and parethnic people currently exist under a burden of shame and are expected to remain silent or even change themselves despite the harm these expectations cause.

It acknowledges that the pluran in question still has white privilege (if applicable) and should not invade the spaces of POC the body does not belong to, while also acknowledging the pluran’s internal identity and the potential importance of said identity.

“Parethnic” was officially coined on April 9th, 2020 by Leliel^Fallen Hearts Galaxy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. “Who can use the term parethnic?”

A. Any pluran who meets the definition of parethnicity can choose to use the term parethnic. This is regardless of the system’s skin color, race, or collective ethnicity; it is a term open to both white systems and systems of color. It is, however, exclusive to plural people. If you’re still not sure, refer to the “Am I Parethnic?” page.

Q2. “What’s appropriate behavior for someone who is parethnic regarding POC spaces?”

A. When it comes to interacting with POC spaces, one should go by the collective’s ethnicity rather than their own parethnicity. Before participating, one should do their due diligence and research. If what they wish to participate in is open, they should engage with it in a respectful manner. If what they wish to participate in is closed to those of their collective ethnicity, they should respect that boundary as well. Being parethnic is not a free pass to enter spaces one’s system does not belong to.

Q3. “Are you actually claiming to be a POC in a white body?”

A. No, we (the coiners specifically) are not claiming to be a POC in a white body. As stated previously, parethnicity is “an experience that is wholly unique and separate from any other”. A parethnic person cannot speak on what it’s like to be a POC (unless they collectively are also a POC), and POC likewise cannot speak on what it’s like to be parethnic (unless they also are parethnic). There are, of course, people who are both, but these two states of being are separate experiences nonetheless.

Q4. “Isn’t parethnicity a white systems term?”

A. No. It was coined by us, a white-bodied system, but it has always been inclusive of systems of color and was intentionally defined to include them from the very start. There are many different systems of color that use this term as well.

Q5. “Aren’t you going to confuse people by referring to yourself as parethnic?”

A. We originally received this question out of a concern that using the term parethnic would confuse people, and we’d be mistaken as this-world POC. Personally, though, we’ve always been up-front that we’re white-bodied, and if someone does get confused, it’s hardly the end of the world. It is simple enough to correct mistaken impressions, and now there’s this handy resource to help explain it.

Q6. “Parethnicity as a term is racist!”

A. This isn’t a question, but we’re addressing it anyway. We have frequently received this response from white systems specifically; systems of color, on the other hand, have been our biggest supporters. We’ve never received an actual explanation for why this term is considered racist to them, save that we’re white-bodied. If we had also been a system of color, these people may have responded differently. However, as we’ve stated numerous times, we’re not claiming to be this-world POC, and we never have. We simply gave ourselves terminology to talk about our own unique experiences.

It is a commonly accepted part of plural culture that plurans can have a different gender, sexuality, appearance, etc. than the body, yet ethnicity alone is considered taboo. Plurans generally cannot control how they exist, nor should they be expected to either change or silence themselves for the comfort of others. People also often forget that parethnic headmates aren’t a “white systems only” experience. Many systems of color also have parethnic headmates and are harmed by the backlash to them simply existing as well.

If you firmly believe that someone is racist for simply having a parethnic headmate or being parethnic themselves, if you believe someone is racist solely for how they exist, you have much bigger problems than this resource can address.

Proper Terminology Usage

For those interested in seeing how these terms are used, here are some examples for each.

Example: “Though our body is African-American, my parethnicity is Korean.”

Example 2: “I am a parethnic Japanese person.”

Example 3: “I am parethnic.”

Example 4: “Insisting that white-bodied systems can’t have headmates who aren’t internally white is a common form of parethniphobia.”

Example 5: “Automatically assuming that parethnic people are only parethnic because their headspace form (presumably) has darker skin than their body is parethniphobic.”

Note: When discussing one’s parethnicity and parethnic-related experiences, it is important to always include “par” at the beginning/never drop it to just “ethnicity”. This is because par is used as an indicator that one’s shared body is a different ethnicity and one is simply discussing one’s personal experience only, which is not reflective of this-world experiences at all nor should they be taken as such.

What is being parethnic like?

As previously stated, parethnic is a broad term covering a ton of experiences. For some, it is simply the acknowledgment that their parethnicity is different from their body’s ethnicity, no different than hair color or body type. For others, it is a deeply meaningful and personal experience that some may even consider defining traits. Since the authors cannot speak for others, the original coiner will share his own personal experience here:

“For me personally, being parethnic is a core and deeply valued part of who I am. I am a member of a group that lives in another world entirely (commonly known as a gateway). Our other world is as vibrant as this one is, with as many ethnicities and races that this one has, if not more.

For me, being parethnic is about so much more than what I look like. The fact that my other-world body doesn’t match the same skin tone as this body is barely scratching the tip of the iceberg. To me, it’s about my family, my culture, my society. I know that the experience of being Japanese in our other world is not the same as this world - the same as many other experiences, such as sexuality and gender, and other social constructs. Even so, I hold these experiences, this part of me, so dearly.

It isn’t just me, though. In our other world, there live billions and billions of people. The idea that the entirety of our other world should only consist of white people is, to me, a deeply terrifying concept. There should exist no world in which POC do not exist, regardless of the fact their experiences won’t be the same as this-world POC. That is my belief.”

Please note that there is no wrong or right way to be parethnic. Parethnicity simply is and is as broad and diverse as the people within the parethnic community.

Am I parethnic?

The coiners have received a lot of questions about who does and does not qualify as parethnic. These questions will be answered here.

Q1. “We’re not white-bodied, are we allowed to use the term parethnic?”

A. Yes. Parethnicity is when one’s parethnicity does not match the body’s ethnicity. Being parethnic is not and never has been exclusive to white-bodied systems. There are several systems of color in the community who use the term for themselves already.

Q2. “Does parethnicity apply only to this-world ethnicities?”

A. Nope. Parethnicity is not supposed to be a sneaky way to enter BIPOC spaces you don’t belong to or claim experiences you bodily don’t have. It is strictly about someone’s parethnicity not matching their system’s body. If that parethnicity is not of this world, they still fit that definition and can still consider themselves parethnic.

Q3. “What if I feel like ethnicity as a concept doesn’t apply to me?”

A. Since you’re still essentially saying that your parethnicity doesn’t match your body (as “null” can be read the same as “not [body ethnicity]”), you’d still fall under the umbrella that is parethnicity and could still consider yourself such.

Q5. “I’m the same skin color as the body, but not the same ethnicity. Can I still consider myself parethnic?”

A. Yes. It’s a common misconception that parethnicity has to have anything to do with skin tone. It can be a factor, or it can not be. That’s really up to the individual’s situation. If a system is ethnically Irish, but the pluran is parethnically German (for example), they’re still not the same parethnicity as the body. They can still consider themselves parethnic.

Q6. “Okay, but I fit the criteria for parethnicity and I don’t like this label/have moral objections to it/[insert reason here]. Do I have to use it or allow others to use it for me?”

A. No, you don’t. This is an opt-in term, not an opt-out term. If you don’t like the term, simply don’t use it. If someone uses the term regarding you, correct them. This is true for all plural communities terminology, by the way.