Finding your roots is a hard thing to do, made even more challenging when you're adopted and black. How does one connect with their ancestors when they know nearly nothing about their biological parents? I've always wondered about my lineage—am I 100% black? What explains my lighter skin? Does the slave rapist blood run thick? Mom says my almond eyes make me look Polynesian. Am I Polynesian? I've always felt Latina or Middle Eastern for illogical reasons I shouldn't mention, but I'm pretty damn good at Zumba and smoking hookah gives me life!
I'm a twofer (encumbered by sexism & racism)—I fucking embody adversity. Surely, I'm Native American. It's the cherry on top of the oppression cake that is my existence. That explains my almond eyes. And don't say I'm not Iroquois, because I'm definitely Iroquois—women run shit in that community and I run shit all the time. I know I'm unemployed, but stay with me.
My queries were answered this morning, thanks to a DNA test from Ancestry.com—and it turns out I'm not nearly as exotic as the creeps in bars say. The Miserable New Yorker (now Scottish Highlander) is 75% African and 24% European. As for the other one percent, let's just say I'm Native American and enjoy the fucking cake.
Reading the results, I think about my biological parents. Could one be biracial? I had no idea. I also think about my African ancestors who were kidnapped and crammed in ships; trapped in wretched conditions where they could barely move; forced to sleep in each other's feces. I wonder how many drowned while crossing the Atlantic. I wonder how many were lynched or beaten to death once they reached land. I wonder what their lives were like before the trade—how their lives were left after. I wonder how many black people know their ancestry. Hardly any I bet, thanks to slavery.
But despite those rather grim and convoluted thoughts, I'm shamefully fixated on my whiteness. How am I a quarter white? How the hell am I British? My teeth are fucking perfect. Tired humor aside (the Brits I know have great teeth), what does this mean? I guess it's simple--different races got together and banged, but what are the cultural implications? My dad is a white guy. To my knowledge, he's 100% Greek. He has experienced xenophobia, but nothing compared to the racism I've experienced in less than half his lifetime. I'm 14 percent British, six percent Irish, two percent Italian or Greek, one percent Iberian and less than one percent Western European. I share DNA with those cultures, but you wouldn't know it at first glance. Part of me may come from Europe, but I doubt I'll ever feel the same camaraderie that comes with being European that my dad has, even though he's only Greek, one culture, whereas I come from multiple cultures. Does this matter? I'm not sure. But I do wonder how many racist relatives I have out there supporting Donald Trump. There has to be a few. Would they accept me as family knowing that we share DNA? Would they acknowledge we have something in common? I doubt it.
Perhaps what excites me most about my newfound whiteness is that I can finally read Stuff White People Like while mulling over the "white people problems" I already had using the hashtag #WhiteGirlProblems. You see, I've always loved brunch, sunbathing, My So-Called Life and French bulldogs, but now I can love them with 24% more enthusiasm and entitlement. Thank you, whiteness! Let me join my white brothers and sisters in complaining about the "white people problems" I once disguised as "champagne problems" for fear of culturally appropriating my grievances. YES! Done are the days of shame from ingesting too much fried chicken and orange soda. Hello to being ashamed of loving black music black people don't listen to anymore. Thank you, whiteness! Now excuse me while I relish in my #WhiteGirlProblems or go watch a TED Talk or something.
One bitch's quest to love NYC.