Over the past few years, I’ve published several posts on cultural diversity and race relations. While it’s important to ensure the real issues never fall by the wayside in our collective conscience, it’s also good to make time to celebrate more pleasant narratives.
In the video below, one African-American woman’s quest to trace her heritage takes her to Jamaica, and then into China. I love stories like these that make us think twice about how we classify people of colour, and of mixed heritage.
Often times, there is more to “Black” skin in all its varying hues, than African genes. Some of us prefer to bury the rest of our heritage, especially in instances where a tumultuous family history exists, creating distance from the non-Black side of the family.
But… there are many people, like the woman here, who wants to embrace what makes her different. This is just one of the many reasons I believe the colour-blind approach to race relations is lazy and ineffective.
If the video fails to load, you can watch it here.
What did you think of the video, and her story? Are you a person of colour who “presents” as one race, but carries the genes of others?
My family is Black, Indian, German, and Irish — and I am proud of all four contributions to my gene pool. But that wasn’t always true.
I remember going into a legit fit every time the kids called me Yellow Pickney, which means “Yellow Child”. Even worse was when they referred to my hair colour as Pig Hair, which is almost like saying “Peach Fuzz”, in the US, but not quite as polite.
Now, I look back at those days and laugh at my kindergarten self; sitting out in the sun, hoping it might make me as dark as the other Black kids at school, so they wouldn’t notice I wasn’t quite like them.
Like the African-American woman in the video, it took learning about my heritage to truly appreciate my ancestors’ apparent penchant for dating outside of their race, nationality, and culture… and the amazing diversity that brought us in the end.
What’s your story? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below.