Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Where Am I From

I came across this video at Feministing.  It is a segment of 60 minutes where a woman finds out through DNA testing that she has a white male relative.  Jessica correctly points out that there is no mention of the systemic rape of black women that occurred during slavery.  We are to embrace our common ancestry without discussing the possibility that this ancestry only exists because of white male violence against black females. How do I know that these weren't love affairs? It is simply a fact even the most racially tolerant white person existed with such racial privilege, and power that it negates any possibility of equality in a relationship. Power in this case removes the possibility of consent. We cannot look at relationships like that between Sally Hemmings and Thomas Jefferson as a love affair when he literally held the power of life and death over her.

Where am I from is a question that most blacks want answered. We know that we have a relative that was enslaved in Africa, but because our identity and ancestry have been lost to the sands of time, we cannot know what country or tribe that descendant came from. It is a question that I have often wondered about.  Somewhere across an ocean I have relatives who go about their daily lives in complete ignorance of my existence. Somewhere I have a family that was cruelly severed from me, perhaps forever. Who are these people? Would I find myself reflected in their eyes, or their patterns of behaviour? According to the following 60 Minutes report there are some answers available. Will these answers bring closure or will they simply lead to more questions? In the end I believe that  these questions about identity, may only be answered by accepting the fact that though there are differences between us, we are all apart of the same human family. In a sense we are all of the same blood.

5 comments:

julie said...

The DNA of all humans goes back biologically to 7 women and a book was written on this called, "The 7 daughters of eve". By Brian Sikes.

We can only trace back the mothers through Mitochondrial DNA. This does not mean that men did not exist BTW.

Worthwhile site to read on this.

http://tinyurl.com/b7c27

There are sites you can visit that will give you an idea as to your ancestry through facial features and there is a DNA kit you can buy.

Dr.T has written a good post on it.

http://tinyurl.com/4fzxvu

GallingGalla said...

I kind of think that the geneticist who was being so critical of the testing services was being rather unfair. Of course Vi (not sure how to spell her name) got matches on different tribes from different companies. She's got these millions of ancestors, and each testing company found matches on the ones that they knew about. I don't think that makes the testing any less valid, and I think that most people are smart enough to figure out that they're not being given The One And Only Answer about their ancestry.

The reporter played right along with that doubting Thomas, and it's interesting that she challenged the black geneticist but not the other geneticists. Almost like she wanted to make illegitimate the desire of black people to understand their ancestry.

"It's really cool and wonderful if you find out that your related to some white dude, but we'll question your motives for finding out your related to Africans." -- that seemed to be the subliminal message to me.

GallingGalla said...

I kind of think that the geneticist who was being so critical of the testing services was being rather unfair. Of course Vi (not sure how to spell her name) got matches on different tribes from different companies. She's got these millions of ancestors, and each testing company found matches on the ones that they knew about. I don't think that makes the testing any less valid, and I think that most people are smart enough to figure out that they're not being given The One And Only Answer about their ancestry.

The reporter played right along with that doubting Thomas, and it's interesting that she challenged the black geneticist but not the other geneticists. Almost like she wanted to make illegitimate the desire of black people to understand their ancestry.

"It's really cool and wonderful if you find out that your related to some white dude, but we'll question your motives for finding out your related to Africans." -- that seemed to be the subliminal message to me.

GallingGalla said...

I kind of think that the geneticist who was being so critical of the testing services was being rather unfair. Of course Vi (not sure how to spell her name) got matches on different tribes from different companies. She's got these millions of ancestors, and each testing company found matches on the ones that they knew about. I don't think that makes the testing any less valid, and I think that most people are smart enough to figure out that they're not being given The One And Only Answer about their ancestry.

The reporter played right along with that doubting Thomas, and it's interesting that she challenged the black geneticist but not the other geneticists. Almost like she wanted to make illegitimate the desire of black people to understand their ancestry.

"It's really cool and wonderful if you find out that your related to some white dude, but we'll question your motives for finding out your related to Africans." -- that seemed to be the subliminal message to me.

GallingGalla said...

Sorry for the triple post! The word verification kept rejecting, but the comment apparently posted anyway.