I’m Black but NO-ONE believes me!

meKristi Webber
Las Vegas, NV

Growing up, there were several clues and incidents which occurred over the years which hinted at some sort of non-European ancestry in my mother’s background, and which would eventually lead to me pursuing her family’s ethnic roots. I had heard vague rumors of “Cherokee” blood but had long ago dismissed that notion and had instead zeroed in on black ancestry as being the likely choice, due to various factors, but mainly because my maternal grandmother’s family was rooted in the Danish West Indies, as she was born and lived until her late teens on the island of St. Croix, USVI. So when I unearthed the 1940 US Census Record entry for my grandmother, her parents and siblings, and her maternal grandfather, I wasn’t really surprised by what was listed for them in the Race category: Grandma, her mother and her siblings were all either “Mulatto” or “Mixed”; her Danish father was “White” of course, and her grandfather was listed under “Negro”. DNA testing has confirmed my genetic ethnicity as being from within a range of up to approximately 12% African, but no less than 5%. This pretty much fits in with my mother (who is very dark skinned) being up to 25% black herself, and reveals Grandma was up to half black–and no one in my family knew it! After coming to America as a teenager, to a country where no one knew her or her brother and sister, they all were able to “pass” as white due to the extremely “white” genes inherited from their Danish father. If the three children born to Grandma, my mother was the darkest complected. But she married my father, a redhead, and I was born pink skinned, blue eyed and white-haired. That hasn’t changed much, but my racial identity has. Even if no one believes me when I say I am “mixed”, I continue to proudly identify myself as being from both “black” and “white” ethnic origins.

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  • barry irving

    …make the distinction between culture, ethnicity and genetics. You look White and that will be to every one. The fact that you some African Roots can be a matter of fact, but the roots are bound to be minimal genetically. You can still be of the African American culture and identify with that. It just shows what a false identifier color is. People use White and Black without distinguishing the differences between them.

 

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