Tuesday, December 30, 2003

New Year's Resolution #3: Celebrate Multiraciality

This is an issue that really pisses me off.

Let me state that I am ethnically Cuban, Black (yes, Mr. President, they have Black people in Cuba as well as Brazil), Italian, Spaniard, and Chinese. I take pride in the many cool things in all of these ancestries and cultural legacies. I consider myself to "be" all of these things (and don't see any conflict between this and my identity as an American, either).

That's why this abcnews.com article really annoyed me. It tells the non un-interesting story of Wayne Joseph, a man who took a DNA test out of curiosity and found out that he's not black like he thought he was.

...After seeing a TV story last April about a Florida company, DNA Print Genomics, which marketed an ancestry-by-DNA test, he began to wonder exactly how much of him was African, how much wasn't, and what else there might be in his genes.

...A few weeks later, the results arrived at his comfortable Claremont, Calif., home.

"I just glanced at it, just a cursory glance initially — didn't really notice it much," Joseph said. "Then, I went back to it, because all of a sudden it hit me exactly what I had read. And it read, 57 percent Indo-European, 39 percent Native American, 4 percent East Asian and 0 percent African.

Fine, interesting. Andcertainlyy a strange discovery to find out about one's self. One that probably could lead to a newfound interest in your family'sgenealogyy, and a new interest in the cultures that your ancestors came from.

Fine. Great. But the annoying part comes later.

Only in an absurd farce, like The Jerk, does a white man identify himself as black, though, in a way, that is precisely what Wayne Joseph proudly, if unwittingly, did for the last 50 years. The question is, what does he do now?

Emphasis mine. Wow. Poor Wayne Joseph, just discovered that he's White, Native American, and East Asian, and instead of being able to embrace these new facets of himself, loses the last two a few paragraphs later. Citing the "one drop makes you black" rule, writer Jim Wooten seems to have let slide the "one drop makes you white" rule.

Wayne Joseph is not White. He is White and Native American and East Asian. He should embrace all sides of his heritage. (I myself would be curious about the East Asian. That's probably some interesting family history, there.)

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