Monday, March 17, 2014

Tappin' the Inner Irish



I’m not one to go on and on about my admixtures though it has proved to be a fascinating hobby. I’m talking about Deep Ancestry through DNA studies. In reality, I don’t have to go back so far and deep, to find that my Grandfather’s father’s ancestry is Irish. My Grandmother, on the other side of the family, had her fair share of Irish blood. From what I can make out, she was about half.

Like most Americans, many African Americans have mixed ancestry. I have African American friends that are part Swedish, Indian, Native American, Cuban, Middle Eastern, and more. The further you go back in your history, the more mixtures you are likely to find. I’m from what I’d consider a fine kettle of fish; people that call home parts of Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

I explored my ancestry and the notion of the biracial and tri-racial identity in my book "Light, Bright and Damned Near White". I have been fortunate to have a friend that is very involved in her Irish heritage, even going there to live and work for a time. We have hung out quite a bit over the years, and a while ago, we went to an Irish pub and heritage center in Chicago. While filled with a certain type of secret dread, by the prospect of an evening out at the pub, because I certainly don’t look like the stereotypical Irish lass, it ended up being a whole lot of fun.




I hope someday to go to Ireland and like many people, including President Obama, meet my ancestors there or visit their graves. Meanwhile, this St. Patrick’s Day, I will be reflecting on my hidden ancestry, listening for the lessons that my inner Irish has to teach.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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