AfriGeneas World Research Forum
Re: Tracing Persons Passing for White
In Response To: Re: Tracing Persons Passing for White ()
I recently discovered that my grandmother had African American heritage. I was so excited by that -- it just made me feel even more connected to other people in the world and explained to me a certain something that had been missing -- something lost when one of my ancestors -- I can't trace who -- "passed" as white. Someone made the decision to walk away from an important part of our family and never look back. I knew from the time that I was tiny that it was my job to raise up my ancestors, but I never got any clarity about that until I found out the truth.
I don't know if my grandmother, who raised me, knew about this ancestry or not. I was interested in one message that mentioned a relative deciding not to have kids while passing because they were worried about the Truth coming out. I had a relative (the darkest one in the family) that used to (family rumor has it) try to miscarry any time she got pregnant.
Whether or not these people knew I will probably never discover. I do know that the word "nigger" was common in our house, and that our family, who was from the south, had definite opinions about race. Ironically, I remember my grandmother, when I was a child, being horrified by the issue of inter-racial marriage.
In my naivete, I joyfully shared the news of our African American heritage with my family, thinking that they would finally let go of their racism. It didn't go that way.
Now, I long to reconnect with the African American part of my family, but my ancestors did such a good job passing that I will probably never find them. I want to reach out to the African American community, but fear that I will be the target of suspicion and anger. I would really like to hear people's opinions about this matter.
Thanks to all of you for sharing,
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