I’ve always found it interesting when people talk about where they “come from.”
Not their home town… though, that can be a fun talk too… No.. it’s when they talk about their family tree.. their roots.. lineage..
It used to be a big joke.. You know.. how everyone is related to some king or patriot.. Hell, myself?? I’m a descendant of Myles Standish (aka Miles) That not-really-a-pilgrim Pilgrim.. The man hired by the “Pilgrims” to be their military advisor… I use “” around “Pilgrim”.. because at Plimouth Plantation (Plymouth Plantation) they use the term, “The English Colonists at Plymouth (many people call them “Pilgrims” today)”.. and they use the term a lot..
That’s on my Dad’s side… believe me.. The way my Grandma went on about it you’d think we all had something to do with who he was… alas.. we came AFTER… but I digress.
On my Mom’s side the Ace that we drop is Thomas Paine… yes _that_ Thomas Paine.. the one who wrote, “Common Sense.”
I guess I never thought twice about it.. I mean.. sure.. I’d read an embarrassingly small bit of Common Sense a LONG time ago.. and lately thought about it while watching our country’s citizens give up their rights.. (and recently with the fight against the Toll Troll!) But really.. what did they have to do with me.
The older I get… the funnier the whole thing is… except that it isn’t funny at all. It’s racist… and that’s sad. Sad because I should be able to be proud of any of my relatives without it putting anyone down.. bear with me..
As I grew up things slowly sunk in. While working at a ski resort in Colorado I got to hang out with some people from Australia. And we got to talking about being “from”.. and to be “from” Australia means to be one of the convicts that got shipped over to the penal colony…. so they all have a Scottish relative that they are “from.” (I hear that’s slowly changing.. I hope so!)
South Africans.. white ones.. well.. it’s a Dutch versus England thing if memory serves. English? Sheesh for such a small Island each chunk has it’s own dialect and, from my experience, they get extremely defensive if you guess the wrong region (hint.. don’t guess.. guess something like New Zealand and let them laugh at you.. it’s better that way.)
I’m getting way off point… but maybe that’s the point.
Why do we have to define who we are by our racial lineage. And if we must do so.. why do we always leave out the entire story? What do I mean by that?? Well.. we’re all mutts.
I was watching … geez, it was a while ago.. anyway.. I was watching a PBS show where a guy was doing genealogical work on a group of famous black people. It was interesting to watch as their actual dna was tested to show where they were “from.” It was interesting on many levels.. One simply because I’m “white” and can’t know what it’s like to be always seen as a color… But the fascinating thing was how they all hoped to be from Africa. It was obvious why they wished it so… They gave plenty of stories of how it was looked at among their peers to be whatever shade of “black” they were. I’m not going into the detail here.. ya gotta watch the show… which I don’t have a link to.. but here’s a link to the follow up show, “African-American Lives 2.”
The reason I brought up that show is because it shows how silly the idea of being of any “race” is.. I mean .. sure.. we’re all of the human race.. but that’s the point.
Some of the people were shaken to find that while our society was busy putting them down they were actually mostly “white” in dna. And it wasn’t visually apparent what the dna was going to reveal. I used to say that I’d be willing to bet anything that any “white” had “black” dna in there… Not a thing to tell some people if you want to keep your nose from being punched.
But why would they punch your nose? I mean.. really.. it’s not who they are.. Their lineage doesn’t define them any more than I define Thomas Paine… does it??
I’m leaving something out, though… Society… the herd… We are a fearful lot.. we humans.. Like Zebras at a water hole.. we let others go check to see if things are safe.. if they don’t get eaten we’ll all rush to the water.. and flee as a Croc pulls one of us down.. ..maybe more like a pack of wild dogs… If we see weakness we exploit it.. attack it..
Weakness… color is not a weakness… but numbers can be. If I can classify you as “other” than me.. and I am in the bigger group…. Ah Ha!! Now we’re talkin’ .. now I’m better than you.
Man.. I’m ramblin’… My point was that race is a pointless word. A couple of years ago they discovered the “DNA Change” that led to white skin.. It came from a guy leaving Africa 10,000 years ago. .. so there ya go.. we’re all the same… There ya have it… we’re all from the same stock. Come to think of it.. “White” is a mutation.. Mutant.. there is a word with negative connotations..
I got travelling down this path tonight by watching video of Art from a guy that started wondering about race when he had to fill out a standardized test. “White(non-Hispanic), Hispanic… etc..” White was the only one with an extra classification. .. the one club it was hardest to be in. Go figure.. they are.. after all.. Mutants.
I always check the box for “Decline to answer” .. I used to check other.. but someone told me that made me a Pacific Islander.. Cool!!… but I’m really just a Pangea Native.