A few years ago I tested my DNA on ancestry.com. They sent their kit, I spit in the vial, sent it back, then they sent back a breakdown of my ethnic make up.
After a look at my background I had anger, but I did not and will not let the anger dampen my hope.
Yes, I have anger in me when I look at my ethnic breakdown. My ancestors were enslaved people. Chains and cruelty marked their existence. My ancestors were treated as animals and it has set the tone for the manner people would look upon Black people worldwide for generations. The anger lives me because I know what happened to my ancestors in order to arrive on the shores of United States, the land of freedom. My ancestors — human beings — were sold by human beings to other human beings, looked at as subhuman creatures, then worked like animals. This angers me knowing that I have people in my DNA that endured such a traumatic inhumane institution.
I’m angry because when I speak to Black people in my family and friends, like me, they also endure trauma because of people’s racist views towards them. People still think that Black people are inferior to others because of their skin color. This is no news to you. This is something people experience today. It angers me that I still have discussions with people today about how they’ve seen confederate flags flown and how they’ve experienced racist demeaning actions and attitudes propelled upon them.
This next observation angers me the most. If you look at my DNA you will see a considerable amount of my ethnic background comes from Europe, specifically England. I have not done the research to know how it is that English blood entered into a predominantly African blood line I possess, or I should say which possesses me. I could make some educated guesses as to how that took place. It is likely the fact that in my bloodline exist oppressor and oppressed. For most African Americans their bloodline is similar to mine in that there is a large percentage of the oppressor in their bloodline as well as the oppressed. This angers me because of the obvious fact that many black women were raped and abused by their white male oppressor. I do not write this to incite anger in you I simply write this to share an experience that looms in my heart perpetually.
I am angry.
But I’m not hopeless. I am angry with an anger which longs for and works for justice. I am angry with the same anger Jesus entered into the temple and turned over the money changer’s tables. I am angry with the kind of anger that inspires one to hope and work toward the overturning of injustice.
I’m not an activist nor am I a politician. I am a reader, teacher, and writer. And it is within those capacities that I have determined to grow myself beyond my current limitations in belief and behavior. In order to do that I cling to hope. I am hopeful because of the progress that people of African descent have made in this country and worldwide and will continue to make. I am hopeful because there is a determination in the hearts of humans today to make right what has been wrong. Most importantly I am hopeful because it is true what Martin Luther King Jr. used to say which is “The arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.”
My ancestors were powerful people. Equipped with eternal power. The must’ve clung to hope to live another day. I can take their example and live with the same hope.
This moment nor any moment will take away the hope I have for a better day.