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Re: A thought....
In Response To: A thought.... ()

Hi Barbara,

You have put a finger on a truly sticky problem - and one that unfortunately won't go away for a long time. The issue of "race" and purity of "race" is the subject of much academic debate - and though many recent papers have been published by anthropologists, biologists, sociologists, and historians proving that "race" does not exist as a biological phenomena - only as something socially constructed (except that there is one human race -homo sapiens sapiens), for many reasons we cling to outdated, and inaccurate tags and labels.

There is no such thing as race - but there is such a thing as "racism", and we are all it's victims. Yes, this is a forum where we are tracing ancestors affected by a historical phenomenon called the Triangle Slave Trade, which brought people from the African continent to the New World by force. Yes, many of those people had a different skin color than those who enslaved them. And yes, many of the descendants of those enslaved Africans, wound up looking quite different from their ancestors as a result of minor changes in the alleles that govern phenotype; skin color, hair texture, and some facial features. People who chose to become "white" by social definition, did so - when they had the opportunity to do so - for a wide variety of reasons. Many of their descendants are completely unaware of their African heritage - for it is a socio-cultural and not a "racial" heritage. Many - if they found out - would reject the information due to racist programming within this society. Others, have (and there are some who post here) accepted that it is just another piece of the jigsaw puzzle that makes us who we are, and have actually sought to reclaim that part of their history.

Because I have an ancestor who is Norwegian - does that make me one? Nope. Makes me curious about Norway however. I am what I was raised to be - culturally - and I was raised in an African American family. I was "shaped" by my parents, and fine-tuned in the Civil Rights movement. With such an awareness - even if I were blonde and blue-eyed (so-called racial attributes of white people), which I am not, I would be an African American.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I think it's both. It's good to know, or search for ones history and honor ones ancestry. It's bad if I begin to think that because of my own particular ancestry I am somehow superior to others. Or that my ancestors tragedy was somehow more tragic than someone else's - the my holocaust was worse than your holocaust syndrome. I catch myself thinkin' like that and I give myself a strong slap. It's easy to slip into that mode. When I do - I go back and read history - world history - and the laundry list of homo sapiens inhumane behavior to other homo sapiens goes on and on and on - ad nauseam. some times I wish I was a whale or a dolphin - who don't have that karma - except that homo sapiens are busy trying to exterminate them as well. Will we evolve - I hope so. I hope that one day in the future someone will look at us in a display case and shake their heads saying, "wow ...those homo sapiens sapiens were really quite primitive", the same way folks do at the Museum of Natural History when they look at cro-Magnon man.

What does all this have to do with FPOC? (gotta get back to the topic - I'm digressing again)

When faced with the opportunity to fade into the woodwork - some took it. Other's didn't. Some passed by day - and went home at night. Other's guarded their secret to their deathbed's. I can't judge what anyone else did with their lives - I ain't walkin' in their shoes. I also know some folks who had the opportunity to pass - and didn't and caught hell from other folks in the community who constantly questioned their "blackness". Just as - in reverse - many darker skinned brothers and sisters (particularly women) have had to suffer the damaging affects of color-class distinctions and internal color conflicts within the African American community (and still do).

I'll shut up now - (grin) You made me think - and re-act - thanks.

Denise (time for another cup of morning coffee)

Messages In This Thread

A thought....
Re: A thought....
Re: A thought....

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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