This bothers me, but I don't know how to deal with it

ashley1979October 5, 2010

SD is 1/2 hispanic and 1/2 caucassion. She grew up in our town where there is a large caucassion population, but also fairly diverse. SD has dark blonde hair and green eyes. BM has light skin and green eyes and colors her hair blonde. SD never even knew she was 1/2 hispanic until a couple years ago.

Now she lives in a place where the majority of the population is hispanic and being caucassion is the minority. SD and BM have embraced their hispanic heritage.

SD's friends make fun of her because she's 1/2 white. They nicknamed her "Mexican Vanilla." SD thinks it's funny. She now has it as her signature on her text messages. Every time I see that it makes me so angry.

First of all, she's not "Mexican." She's hispanic. Second, I am white and I am offended by being called "vanilla."

DH just shrugs it off, but I feel like someone needs to tell her it's insensitive. How will she ever know unless someone tells her? I can't really say anything. DH has more "rights" to say something, but it may not go over very well.

Let's put it this way, if I were to say something offensive against the hispanics, there would be outrage all over the place. So I'm just supposed to tolerate her being offensive to white people?

Oh, BTW, SF is white so sister is a "Mexican Vanilla", too.

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When I was growing up in a small town in Texas, the polite thing to describe our Spanish-speaking classmates was "Spanish";
in my elementary school, calling somebody a Mexican could start a fight.
Then the 1960's came along, & those classmates & a lot of others claimed "Chicano/Chicana" as a better, prouder, more accurate description.

Then somewhere in maybe the 1980's, "Hispanic" became the new preferred identification.

& now people from Eva Longoria to George Lopez to a cop friend of mine proudly call themselves Mexican.

(The cop has a t-shirt that says:
"I am not a Hispanic;
Hispanic is a person from Spain.
I am not a Latino;
Latino is a person from Italy.
I am a Mexican."
Accurate or not, I appreciate the sentiment.)

It would be one thing if someone were calling her a bad name, but "Mexican" is by no means a dirty word or a racial slur, & it's what she choses to call herself.

& I just don't understand being offended at the term "vanilla".

Nobody is calling you vanilla, or anything else, anyway;
she's claimed vanilla for her own.

& Mexican Vanilla is cute.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 6:06PM
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I know that some people don't like to be called Hispanic, this terms reminds people of Spanish colonization (because really they are Hispanic because of Spanish colonization).

Some people prefer to be called Latino and some prefer to be called by the name of the country of their origin like Chilean and so (if they happen to know). If one is Mexican then that's how one should be called.

Unfortunately too many do not know their origin and all of a sudden decide to be Hispanic/African-America/Asian (even if their heritage is like 5%) because it is cool to be a minority plus one can get college scholarships.

I think whatever people want to be called is fine with me as long as it is not offensive term. Mexican Vanilla is a somewhat derogatory term. It is not as bad as N word of course. Vanilla Bean means Hispanic trying to fit in with whites. Mexican vanilla implies something similar IMO.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Vanilla bean means Hispanic trying to fit in with whites?
Like banana or Twinkie for Asians?
Or Oreo for blacks?
LMAO. I never heard Vanilla bean before.

Is SD embracing the "good" parts of her heritage, or just the cool parts? In other words, is she planning for Dia de las muertas or an upcoming folklorico dance or is she just cruz'n with her homegirls?

I'd work with her on finding things to do to educate her/introduce her to her heritage.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 11:18PM
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I'm half Mexican, Half White ~ BOTH are Caucasian, so SD is Caucasian. Mexican, Spanish, Italian, is an ethnicity. Caucasian is a race. Hispanic is not an ethnicity or race as far as I know, I thought it was a slang term but then I read that it was used to describe people from Spanish speaking nations. Latino is another term to describe people from Latin heritage, but as far as I know, neither Hispanic or Latino are anything more than a description. (Wikipedia says Hispanic describes people from Hispania, which might make it an ethnicity)

I also grew up in a mostly all white very small community. (One black family, Two middle East Indian families, and one other half Mexican/White family) When I was in middle school, we moved to the community where my mom's family lived, high Mexican population, lots of Hmong refugees, lots of different races & ethnic groups. It was pure culture shock for me. I was a fish out of water & because my (Mexican) mom wasn't available, I had no way to try to fit in. I wasn't really accepted by many because I didn't speak Spanish or we didn't eat the same foods as they did, I was different. I was quiet, shy & didn't know their culture (we used store bought tortillas!), they thought I was uppity, so I can understand why your SD would go along with the nickname to be accepted, even if it bothers her. All the Mexican girls in school had nicknames... *Shorty*, *Sad Girl*, *Smiley* or something in Spanish. I wasn't Mexican enough to have a nickname... it was tough growing up there. I would have been okay with them calling me anything as long as it was done as friends.

I don't get easily offended by terms people use, I may be offended by stereotyping terms.... "Lazy Mexican", "Dirty Mexican", "Wimpy White Girl/Boy", or name calling. Vanilla reminds me of Vanilla Ice, the rapper. It wasn't an offensive term, he embraced his "white" with it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 8:44AM
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It doesn't bother her. It bothers me. Maybe it shouldn't bother me, but it does.

She's not Mexican. Maybe from centuries ago, but her family has been in the US for 4 generations.

And I have never heard the term vanilla bean, but I have heard oreo before and I feel it is deragatory.

She can call herself whatever she wants. I could care less but if I said that all Mexicans were landscapers, she'd be all offended. I just want her to have the same consideration for every race that she expects other races to have for her.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 1:14PM
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What is she doing that makes you feel she's being disrespectful to "other races"?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 2:06PM
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I think it's the "vanilla" Sylvia.

Of course, if one were to look into this with a little different perspective, bean is also slang for a whoo-ha. Puts the term "vanilla bean" in a whole new light.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Sometimes I think we can get too sensitive about racial issues. If the term Mexican Vanilla or vanilla bean (never heard tht either -- kinda cute) is not offensive to her, then I think she should be able to use it. (Kinda the same way African Americans can get away with calling each other the N word.)

My first husband was a banana or twinkie -- Asian on the outside, but all-white on the inside. So my older son is a Hapa (Hawaiian for half-Asian or half-white or half- native Hawaiian). I've never considered any of these terms to be derogatory, because to me, they've never had a derogatory connotation -- and I think that's the key.

I was once rebuked by an American friend of Mexican heritage for referring to another friend of mine as Mexican. I simply replied that she was born and raised in Mexico City, that her family still lived there, and that she was in the US on a student visa -- What would he call her?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 3:02PM
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What is acceptable to some people may be unacceptable to others. I think the part that offends me is that everyone lets it slide.

I am offended when black people call eachother the "N" word. It personally offends me. I don't go around calling my friends "crackers" or "b*tches". All it would take would be to say something like that to the wrong person for someone to get charged for racial discrimination at their workplace or to ruin a friendship.

In my office, I was the only white female for about 2 years. There were 2 black girls, 1 girl that was 1/2 black and 1/2 hispanic (she considered herself black), and 2 hispanic girls. They were always making fun of the way I said words like guacamole and burrito. The black girls would say things like in a joking manor such as "oh that's cuz your white" or "oh well you don't know cuz you're white" or "you white folks don't live in the real world". It truly made me feel awful.

Sweeby, I don't think you were out of line to call your friend a Mexican. Mexican, Korean and Chinese aren't races; they are nationalities. My SD isn't Mexican. She is hispanic or latino. She's an American.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 4:12PM
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"Is SD embracing the "good" parts of her heritage, or just the cool parts? In other words, is she planning for Dia de las muertas or an upcoming folklorico dance or is she just cruz'n with her homegirls?"

Silver, it's all about fitting in for her and BM. When they lived here, they never mentioned being hispanic. Now, she is ALL hispanic. It's because that's how they fit in where they live. I totally get that. At 15, all people want to do is fit in.

I have not heard of her embracing her culture. She does have a Spanish style home, but all the homes where she lives are that way.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 4:23PM
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Mexican vanilla is a source of pride. There are two types of vanilla in the world; one from Madagascar, one from Veracruz, Mexico. Mexicans (and I count my family in there) are very proud of that -- like Kentucky whiskey, Kansas City BBQ or Wisconsin cheese.

To get offended because someone Mexican attached the word "vanilla" to "Mexican" makes as much sense as getting offended by American cheddar or Canadian bacon.

I suppose if you're looking for reasons to be offended, and find fault, you'll find it.

As someone who is half-Mexican and half-American, my heart aches for this girl. Teenage years are hard enough without an adult in your life getting huffy and deciding that you're not "dark" or "ethnic" enough to qualify for calling yourself Mexican-American.

It's hard to take the ethnic advice of someone who uses "hispanic" (small "h") seriously -- that shows me zero interest or respect for a large portion of this girl's heritage. To say that the only thing "hispanic" about her is her "Spanish style home" sounds, well, petty. And totally clueless.

Like someone who would say, "I mean, I love Taco Bell and Dora the Explorer. So I understand Mexican culture."

I get that you resent this girl and her mother. It comes across in your dismissive post pretty clearly.

But you are being very mean-spirited to say that her budding discovery of who she is, and who her family is, is all about "fitting in." That the only reason she's calling herself hispanic (sic) is because she's 15 and that's what all the cool kids do.

Suuuure. Because people are rushing to be associated with "anchor babies" and "illegal immigrants" these days. That's totally cool and so positive.

In one post you complain about her not calling or getting close to her dad; in this post you clearly show that even if she does, she's not good enough for you.

She's not acting white enough, or identifying white enough, for your taste. She's offending you simply by existing, and expressing the nickname she likes (Mexican Vanilla for the moment).

Is it really any wonder she doesn't want to hang with you guys?

If you have big issues with her mother, take your frustration out on her mother. Not on her ethnicity or sense of self. That's just low.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 7:32PM
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ashley not to be mean but I think she was advised by someone in the family to claim herself Hispanic so she can qualify as a minority to fit into hiring and college acceptance quota, as well as qualify for scholarships. When DD was applying for college, we searched for scholarships in the US and we saw plenty for various minorities. DD was laughing that she is a minority, Jewish and gay. But of course no such scholarships (well to be honest there are some but very few and one has to be above and beyond). LOL

My SO's office has a requirement to hire that many African-Americans and Hispanic, they have to and these are very prestigious well paid jobs. So your SD might be doing something smart here...

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 7:44PM
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Well said Ninadial.

Ashley, why would you want to pick a fight with SD when you and your DH already have such a disconnect with her? If I recall correctly, didn't you have a different thread recently about how you do NOT insert yourself in their relationship? Personally, I would re-read Smashley's post on that thread.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:43PM
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I do agree with other posters that ashley should not say anything to SD. And so far she did not, she asked for advice here.

There are different types of vanilla if we discussing baking/cooking recipes, but using vanilla to describe someone's mixed ethnicity is a derogatory slur. Just because vanilla has few different meanings, it does not make it OK. Word "fag" has different meanings too, but I doubt you would condone that (but who knows, some people think ti is OK too).

But i do agree that if that's what SD wants to do, oh well. She is not Mexican but wants to call herself so, pretty silly, but not ashley's business. But she has rights to vent here and ask for advice. I don't see how she runs and says anything to anyone, she asks here.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 6:13AM
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I have to respectfully disagree regarding heritage/ethnicity/nationality. If your a descendant of people from Mexico, you ARE part Mexican. Yes, you are an American, but to deny your Mexican heritage because you are 2nd, 3rd or 4th generation in America is wrong. Everyone here (with exception of Native American Indians) came from another land. (My white father is a descendant of a German on his father's side, My Grandmother was Dutch; My Mexican mother came from a Mexican father & my Grandmother's family was from Spain) We may be "Americans" but where we came from (ancestry) is also important. It is a part of who we are, the reason we have certain customs, the reason our family celebrates certain holidays, eats certain foods, has certain traditions, etc. It's just as personal as religion. (Quite frankly, I am offended a little when the only box offered to check, is hispanic. Hispanic or Latino covers such a wide group of people... Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Columbian, Brazilian, Chilean, and any other nationality that comes from a Latin land.)

Ashley, it seems you have feelings based on YOUR personal bad experiences & you are entitled to feel how you want about it for yourself, but it is unfair to get upset over what others do because they don't feel the same way. As I said, I grew up in a small community of mostly white people. I was teased relentlessly on a daily basis because I was not a white girl. I had long straight dark hair & was called Squaw, & other names. They didn't even know what a Mexican was but they thought I was Native American. I was glad when we moved away to a community where there was diversity, but then when I didn't fit in there either, it was worse. I could live my life resenting what others did, said or how it made me feel. The reality is that I had to find out WHO I AM.... and find pride in being me. There are always going to be people that stereotype, judge or tease. That is THEIR problem if they can't accept others for who they are... whether it's their heritage, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else.

In my opinion, there is only ONE race... the HUMAN race. However, I would never fault anyone for stating their race because that is a part of who they are.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 9:16AM
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Ashley, if I understand correctly what is bothering you is the apparent hypocrisy of some people. That is understandable. But consider it all in a larger context.

Take the Irish-Americans. I'm sure you've seen drunken morons running around with buttons proclaiming that "Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day!". Most of these people have absolutely no idea of the massive discrimination against the Irish immigrants that took place during the 19th century. Or the teenagers who dress in oversize clothing and listen to rap music in an attempt to "act black" (as if all African-Americans behave the same way). I honestly doubt that many could explain what Jim Crow laws were.

My point is is that some members of races or ethnicities who were discriminated against fought back - by saying "Yes, this is who I am and I'm proud of it" instead of trying to deny their heritage or hide it. And they were successful enough that now people of other races or ethnicities want to be like them! They might not be taking the best parts of the heritage but it is still a step in the right direction, I think, from the days when Irish or African-Americans would sometimes try to "pass" as something else.

We all know that there is a huge amount of discrimination against Hispanics in the US right now - maybe not overtly, but I've heard a lot of muttering about illegal immigrants coming to steal our jobs and force us all to speak Spanish. Seriously?! The Hispanic population here is 3%! If they're so organized they can pull off some kind of coup than I for one think that they should be in charge of our local government. :-)

Your SD is a teenager, trying on different personas and wanting to fit in. Good for her - let her learn about part of her heritage. And perhaps in 50 years teenagers in Alaska will be learning to speak Spanish because it's cool to be Hispanic.

As for the possible anti-white sentiment, I find it difficult to take seriously anyone who proclaims that this is how whites are, anymore than how blacks, Mexicans, rednecks, liberals, Jews, or any other large stereotype of a large group of people. And I just don't waste my time trying to reason with stupidity; it is like wrestling with a pig in that you get dirty and the pig enjoys it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 9:58AM
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"I do agree with other posters that ashley should not say anything to SD. And so far she did not, she asked for advice here."

Ditto. I think that feelings are complicated, and Ashley has a right to hers. She didn't say anything to SD, she vented to us, and even admitted that it bothers her, but she doesn't know what to do with that.

Let's not fault her for her feelings on the matter.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 10:06AM
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Thank you, PO1!!!! At least SOMEONE was reading the posts!!!!

I have NOT said anything nor have I gotten "huffy" about anything. I AM just venting on here and asking for advice. Thank you to those of you who offered that without accusing me of all sorts of things.

Lonepiper - you were way out of line to attack me. You accused me of some things I said very plainly I haven't done and will not do.

Ninadial - I NEVER SAID SHE WASN'T WHITE ENOUGH FOR US!!!!!!! AND I DON'T FEEL THAT WAY, EITHER!!!! YOU OVERSTEPPED SEVERELY WHEN YOU SAID THAT AND I AM DO DEEPLY OFFENDED! That was not my intent on posting this, nor was it what I said. My intent (and what I stated) was to find a way for someone (not me because I have disengaged which you should've known since you read my other posts) to show her how to be sensitive to the very things that offend ALL people, not just her, not just white people and not just Hispanic people. Did you not get that?

She doesnt have to lose her "white" culture (German, to be exact, as all DH's family is of direct German descent) just because she is immersed in the Hispanic (happy Ninadial?) culture.

Ima - I totally understand what you are saying, but I am not faulting her for anything. This is not about "picking" a culture and going with it. It is about not dismissing one part of her heritage for another.

Why am I feeling bad because I want to know how to help her blend her cultures without one completely overrunning the other?????????

I have talked about this to a guy I work with who is 1/2 Mexican and 1/2 white. He has said it's a phase she is likely going through as he did when he was her age. He said that he didn't fit in with the others in his community because his skin was lighter and they made fun of him.. He said that as he has grown up, he has learned to love being bi-racial and the many ways being bi-racial has made him unique. That was great advice and it helped me understand her point-of-view, too.

Oh, yeah, and BTW, he didn't at all accuse me of being racist or hating my SD. Go figure?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 10:26AM
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PO1 - yes, you are partly correct. When we were there in April, BM was talking about all of SD's activities, one being acting school. BM told us that the instructor told BM that she would be more marketable as a "Hispanic girl with green eyes." So, yes, that is part of it, but it's not all of it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 10:33AM
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Mattie hit the nail on the head and said it way better than I did. I HATE the hypocricy when it comes to this subject!

"And I just don't waste my time trying to reason with stupidity; it is like wrestling with a pig in that you get dirty and the pig enjoys it."

Best advice I've heard in years!!!!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 10:36AM
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Hmmmm. I wouldn't say anything to her.

I have embraced my Spanish heritage since moving to the southwest. I enjoy learning about the culture. And my heritage is a very small percentage Spanish and I look very very Western European.

I say, help her learn about her ethnicity. Both sides. Nothing wrong with learning about different cultures. She'll find her way.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Well said, Mattie. We are all entitled to our opinions, but attacking someone is not the way to get your point across.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 1:49PM
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I agree wholeheartedly with Mattie.

Ashley, I am sorry you were attacked.

We all have a right to express our feelings and opinions on this board, and should be able to do so without fear of a personal attack.

It is one thing to disagree but quite another to jump all over someone personally.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 2:40PM
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Thank you Mattie. I was speechless.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 4:32PM
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The fact that ashley and her DH made some mistakes with her SD (and they did, don't we all make mistakes?), does not mean she is not allowed to address anything at all. Not like she called SD and demanded anything, she asked here. And past mistakes are irrelevant to this particular post.

When she asks advice about how to fix her mistakes, then we'll advice her on that. But this post was about something she considered ethnic slur, you don't think it is a slur, fine, why get all upset. You don't even post here, all of a sudden you know everything about everybody. Troll? Or someone else under a different name.

And to regsiter on gardenweb takes exactly 2 minutes, not even 2, maybe 60 seconds, unless of course you were kicked out and aren't allowed to come back. Hmmmm

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 5:33PM
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"I'm a long time lurker who hasn't posted in years (not for lack of trying; GardenWeb doesn't exactly make regestration easy)."

it takes 60 seconds to register on gardenweb, it couldn't be any easier than it is

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 5:35PM
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"unless of course you were kicked out and aren't allowed to come back. Hmmmm"

I kind of had the same thought.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Huh? Ashley who said your DH uses his German heritage, I missed it. I never heard of any job privileges for Germans in the US, there are advantages of being German in Germany but not in the US, so i don't see how being German is any advantage? One does not put in on job application (no box for that), "Hispanic" is on job application.

By the way racial terms are very confusing in the US. Spanish people in Europe are Whites, yet in the US people of the same decent are Hispanics as a separate race. They are not separate race but separate ethnicity, different thing.

lonepiper, of course everyone has rights to post whatever and ashley has rights to reply to their "whatever" with her "whatever".

And it is cool, let's all say "whatever", but there are some things that are crossing boundaries here like saying that "n" word is harmless and is embraced by blacks. No need to do that. And we have African-Americans on this forum too.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 6:14AM
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You know what? I'm actually really thankful for Ninadial's posts. They sound exactly like the way BM would spin things. It shows me just what kind of alternate reality BM has created and what she is using to poision SD with. Ninadial's post shows how no good deed goes unpunished and how they get used against us.

What Ninadial and BM have in common is they both believe that BM has complete control of the child's relationship with her father. This is evident in the two statements starting with "I would never send my child...." That is exactly the way BM sees it.

Ummmm, a CP can not keep an NCS from their child. It's against the law. She will have a rude awakening when can no longer control SD.

Thanks, Ninadial and Lonepiper for showing me BM's side of things. Now I know the issues she will bring up to continue poisioning SD.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 9:57AM
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I thought the same thing, unless there is documented neglect or abuse one cannot not send a child to NCP, even if they think dad and SM are not good influence still no documented neglect, must send a child.

Your DH made a mistake by not having court order, but it shows how some moms (and dads) think. They don't like dad and SM, they aren't sending a child.

Not every NCP is that compliant, some would file for contempt and after repeated refusal to send a child would get full custody. My ex would dragged me to court if I refused to send DD because i don't like him or his wife.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 5:24PM
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