Wednesday, March 11, 2015

You Can Just Call Me a White Entitled American

Mark hates the term "African-American". Nobody in his family has seen Africa in hundreds of years, so it's probably time to drop the hyphenation. Mark says that if he must be categorized as something, he would prefer "Slave Descendent American". In a pinch, Black will do. The truth is that Mark would truly like to simply be American. After all, not once in my life have I been called "European-American". Unfortunately there is this weirdness among us to put people into niches so that we can somehow feel superior. The us and them division that politicians find very handy.

For Mark's birthday last December, I got him a DNA test from AncestryDNA. Because of the peculiar situation where most of his ancestors were kidnapped, shipped across the ocean in the bowels of a ship, and then stripped of all identity when they were sold into slavery, Mark's family history is a big blank. Sure he knows about his parents, grandparents, and even a bit about his great grandparents, but after that it's pretty much a dead end. Honestly, I could say the same about my family except for the dead end part... and the kidnapping part.... and the slavery. Okay, if I wanted to I certainly could trace my family roots back to Europe, back a lot further than Mark can. So returning to Mark's DNA test, how did it turn out? Well for one thing, Mark is only barely fifty percent of African heritage. He found that he has some British, Irish, and surprisingly, Scandinavian DNA. But the thing that really has him stumped, the thing that he can't quite figure out, is that he has a large percentage of East Asian DNA. So Mark is a mix of all the major human races. Which might just explain why one night I might get served meatloaf, potatoes, and peas, the next night barbeque ribs, slaw, with mac & cheese, and on another night, stir fry.

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