dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #738

Otter Perry ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com
Thu Nov 6 19:46:30 EST 2003


Sarah wrote:

> To my mind who you call 'my people' is more a matter of emotional 
> affiliation and culture than of bloodlines. The majority of black people 
> in the USA have a white ancestor somewhere in their family tree, due in 
> part to the background of slavery and the frequency of master-slave 
> sexual relations or abuse, but the social divide between black and white 
> means that 'mixed race' is seldom seen as a valid or clearly 
> identifiable category by either 'side.' 

a propos of this whole thing ---

I had recently moved to Detroit in 1977 when 'Roots' was first
shown.  [I didn't actually watch it.  Never have watched it.]

It had a huge impact, with lots of African-Americans taking much
more interest in their ancestry.  One of the most striking realizations
for _me_ was that my chances of being related to somebody in
Detroit [other than my immediate family, of course, all immigrants
from the East Coast of the USA or, in the case of my sister's
in-laws, from Scotland] were much higher if that person was
black than if that person was white.  Most of the white population
is of Middle and Eastern European derivation, and of recent arrival.
My family is from Germany and the British Isles and the most
recent wave of immigration was in the mid 1800s.  Older bits
of my family have been here longer, and, like most African-Americans,
I'm descended from slave owners.  [_Some_ of them were slave owners.]

In fact, there's a black branch of my family of which I am aware,
thanks originally to the activities of a great-great uncle who was an
overseer.  I know this because one of my mother's cousins got
interested and ended up calling everybody of the family name in
Wilmington, DE.  [The name is Clash.  Not common.  Believed to be
an alias adopted by an ancestor who had reason not to keep his own.
He was a Welshman.]  She got almost 100% hits and all were African-
American.

And Sally's right.  If you have African ancestry, that tends to
take precedence, in the view of the world, over any other ancestry.

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