Sheek Magazine

Questions

Do you know your heritage?

I so envy those that do. 

People who can trace multiple generations back to various countries. People who know the culture and language of their progenitors. People who pass that on to young ones in their families.

Like many Black individuals, I don’t know the exact place(s) my ancestors were from. There was mixing of Native and white along with Black and I have always wanted to know more about that history.

At the same time, I’m a bit afraid to take one of those DNA tests. I watch a lot of sci-fi and irrationally fear that my DNA will be used to make evil clones in a dystopian future. But also, those things cost money, and it puts up a paywall on who has access to knowing this information. 

And that’s the thing. Even if I did a DNA test, it would only show me percentages of what nationalities make it up. I wouldn’t know the names or stories or my great great great grandparents. Their professions. Their passions.

The most privileged in this nation have no worries about knowing where they came from. Chances are, they just know or are able to look at public records for that information. (An exception would be adoption, but I still feel like there would be more documentation of a white person as opposed to the many who were enslaved against their will.)

Amidst the pain, we have definitely brought our creativity and joy to the places we were forced to live in as well, creating a new culture. I still can’t help but feel that many of us in the Black diaspora have incomplete identities though. And unfortunately, that lost history can never be reclaimed. 

Have you always known your background or did you have to seek it out?

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