A few weeks ago, in celebration of Black History Month, I completed an ancestry composition report through 23andMe. I found myself interested in their claim of helping clients find where their DNA came from around the world, since DNA can tell where a person’s ancestors lived more than 500 years ago. After completing my home-based saliva collection kit, I quickly received my results:
- Sub-Saharan African: 67.2%
- European: 31.5%
- East Asian & Native American: 0.6%
- Unassigned: 0.6%
When I read the results and found I was as much Native American as I was miscellaneous.
Of all the emotions which materialized from the results, the two strongest were disorient and shame. I thought the results would simply confirm what I was told by my family; instead, they discredited their allegations.
Which brings me to the rationale behind the second emotion the results unexpectedly surfaced:
I found out I was White.
Until, before this ancestry composition report, no one in my family told me they questioned if there was even a hint of European ancestry in our blood.
I found it irritating all this information surfaced for me three decades after I was born, having assumed for twenty years I was just of a lighter complexion, then assuming I was Native American for the next ten.
Irritation led to feeling disoriented again; perhaps because they haven’t received scientific proof regarding the matter, they can’t understand my feeling lost and misguided. I’m personally and professionally compelled to clarify misconceptions and elevate all three of my squads.
Would I love to be 87% Black? Yes! One may say I’m a disciple of the colloquialism “blacker the berry, sweeter the juice”. I envy my best friend Tiara (Tee for short), whose complexion is a beautiful burnt umber, masking all imperfections and accentuating her vivid eyes and wonderful smile. Or my husband James, who too has a rich complexion that I find enthralling and powerful.
I love being Black but the truth is over time the world has become a melting pot, and unquestionably, we have prospered because of it. While I’m no Rachel Dolezal, I must accept the fact I do have White ancestors. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but quite honestly, the road to acceptance will not be an easy one for me to travel.
Perhaps it was serendipitous for me to discover my White heritage during Black History Month, but I don’t believe in coincidences. Or it was God. Maybe it was my grandparents who empowered me to do so from heaven. Or perhaps… it was my White ancestors.