One African-American Woman Discovers Her Paternal Roots in China

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.

Alexis Chateau Black Cat

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25 Comments Add yours

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Well how lovely that you posted this while I was still up! I discovered on my own that my paternal grandmother was Jewish. She had never said so, and she was anti-Semitic as well as unpleasant. My father told me I was wrong. I did the Ancestry DNA test last month and confirmed that I am 29% Eastern Jewish, and the rest entirely English, Irish and Scottish. Not a drop of anything “soulful” LOL. Good thing I created a good mixture for my offspring and grandchildren when I connected with an African-American(specific origin still undetermined) Cherokee man.

    1. How did you discover on your own that grandma was Jewish? It’s really strange how many people grow to dislike whatever genes disrupts the race they choose to present as.

      Well you “fixed” the lack of soulful genes on your own, so look at that. Talk about initiative! 😂 Did your family willingly accept that decision?

      I had one racist mother-in-law in college, who didn’t think I was light/ White enough to date her son. She was something else, that woman!

      1. Elizabeth says:

        I did discover it on my own doing genealogical research. My family was reluctant about my decision, but grew to accept it after my daughter was born. His family warmed up after our daughter was born too. His mother boycotted our wedding.

      2. She boycotted the wedding?? Why?? Because he married outside of his race??

        I can’t imagine why either side of the family would need to warm up about tracing their heritage. That’s so strange

      3. Elizabeth says:

        Well and he had divorced his first wife, though I had nothing to do with that. They had married for the baby, not for a good connection.

      4. Even so, I can’t imagine what that had to do with you then. It’s not like you were the home wrecker.

  2. I have yet to research my ancestry but that video makes me want to find out all the ethnic contributions to my gene pool.

    1. You should look into it! Maybe if you ask your parents and grandparents, they’ll have information for you as well. I was able to trace mine because of inheritance and grandma. Never did a test.

      1. buddy71 says:

        do you think you will ever do a dna test?

      2. Maybe one day, but I don’t really need to. It was pretty easy to trace my maternal line. The paternal side is all Black and Indian. Paternal grandma’s mum was a slave and grandpa descended from Indian indentured labourers.

  3. Tony Burgess says:

    It’s interesting how Ancestry.com, 23 And Me and other DNA analysis services have revealed surprising family origin stories. Someone who thought they were German ended up Polish and other situations.

    1. I think I saw that video. “German” is a varied and unreliable ethnicity classification though, to be honest. They’ve had their state line redrawn so many times! So some people were something else and just became German without even moving house; and likewise, some Germans became something else.

  4. trentpmcd says:

    Cool video. I think it is great that everyone from all sides recognizes that they are family.

    1. Yes, I love how accepting they all were of each other.

  5. tmezpoetry says:

    I love this! I don’t like the colorblind approach either as we should all celebrate who we are, just as we are. This post helped expand my thinking 🙂

    1. Thank you, Tammy! The whole point of posting these is to provoke thought and reflection, so glad I hit the mark.

      And yes, the colour blind approach is useless. I’m not sure why anyone ever thought it was a good idea. If my differences are only acceptable when ignored, while others are praised, then it is not truly acceptable.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  6. I did the ancestry.com test and was totally stunned by the results. I knew there were roots in West Africa but now I know what countries but the family secret came to light when European Jewish showed up (along with Spain and the UK). Since that test I have met two cousins who have shared with me the history of my Romanian Jewish ancestry. There is some definite family resemblance…

  7. How much does that test cost? I know a lot of people who did it and had amazing and surprising results. Did the test connect you with those cousins? How did you meet?

    I think all members of the KKK and other Nazi groups should make their members take the test lol. You know how much less of them there would be? 😂

    1. FanTC says:

      The test is originally $99 plus tax and shipping, but sometimes around the holidays they have a discount of 50%.

      1. That’s awesome. I might check that out!

  8. Leslie says:

    Thank you for sharing this video – I loved it! I don’t know my deep roots and I am curious to know more. Every now and then I meet someone whose parentage or ancestry makes me want to leap with joy because their “uncommon blends” are a testament to the rich complexity of our human stories.

    1. Thank you, Leslie. I’m glad you had the chance to watch it. Maybe you should take that ancestry test. You might also be able to get some information by asking your family members. 🙂

  9. mwseq says:

    I love reading your blog

    1. Thank you! Really glad you enjoy it ^_^

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