After much anticipation, my DNA results came back via an AncestryDna.com test me and my wife both took about 5 weeks ago. My wife turned out to be 83% British or something like that. She was surprised in that she thought her maiden was name was German – which apparently it was not.
For those of you “ist” and “ism” bigots that don’t know I’m half-Armenian on my mother’s side and a mixture of European on my fathers. I was actually expecting some sort of Middle Eastern mixed in due to Armenia’s geographic location and it’s history of invaders, conquest, and overall movements of demographics in the last 2000 years there.
What I didn’t expect was some of these other results.
I knew of the English on my dad’s side, but the Irish/Scots/Welsh and the Southern European and Iberian were surprising. Obviously, the European Jewish part surprised me.
Justin Timberlake may be a man of the woods, but I’m a man of antiquity and the high middle ages. I may just now be a walking poster boy for Diversity. The Tech industry needs to hire me now, though I can’t promise my worldview will be the same.
Back to a serious note. It’s enjoyable and instructive to know where your ancestors came from, but who am I really? We have these weird awkward conversations about “racial” and ethnic awareness with the types of people you really don’t want to have those conversations/awareness with if you like your job and need to pay your mortgage.
But even these same people are in a dire boat in the modern digital age of loneliness. Their identities exist in a Western old vacuum that can’t be replicated anywhere else. Obviously, this is specifically true of the political and sociological identities people have inserted themselves into, often in the most tribal ways – American politics for instance.
What these people don’t have is any real identity not tied to that. For instance, if some “African American” – a crappy term – goes over to Ghana, how much are they really going to have with Ghanans? What about Nigeria, Egypt, Chad, or Ethiopia?
They don’t know if they are even from the same tribe, group, or nation – which they likely aren’t. For all they know, they were some of the slaves that the Ghanans took and sold to the entire world. They don’t speak the same language – that’s a big deal.
The cultural mannerisms, traits, and norms are entirely different. They may even call you a slur which means white. If you don’t speak the same language, you’ve lost a lot of what might make you even remotely “similar” to them, and don’t be surprised when they accuse you of “Cultural appropriation”.
You may discover you’re ancestors were slavers, slaves, conquerors, or great empire builders. It’s a bit of a mixed bag in today’s modern oppression culture where everyone wants more oppression cards to play.
All that said, I get it. Wouldn’t you do the same thing? Modern life in the digital 21st century has been stripped to its bare parts by globalism and people’s identities, cultures, and traditions have been shattered. However, people still need an identity. They need to find a reason, purpose, and motivation to live and build a legacy.
Take me for instance. I’m proud to be half Armenian and the various other mix of ethnicities. However, how much do I have in common with them? If I went back to Armenia right now, would I be able to say that I have a similar life with similar situations, standard of living, and a shared plight and condition?
I don’t think I could. I’m not in a country where it’s borders are filled with rocket, mortar, and machine-gun fire over disputed land on a frequent basis. Armenia could very well be overwhelmed by Azerbaijan if a war broke out and the country could be decimated for generations.
Yes, I am a descendant of Armenian survivors, but I don’t speak the language, know just a few foods, and only rarely have been to the Armenian Church – the center of culture – with the exception of funerals. My sons won’t have an Armenian identity or that of any other ethnicity. They will likely be a product of American midwest culture.
Of course, I want them to know where they come from, but where they are going is a foundation that has to be built. So many of the identities that people cling to today are built on shallow ground and foundations that will inevitably shatter.
The past is one source that contributes toward an identity, but it can’t be the only one. Look to the communities and the people that surround you now – that is part of your culture. You can influence how it’s shaped, or you can build identities based off “opposition” to the tribe you don’t like.
Don’t be surprised though when you have nothing to live for once that tribe is shattered.
P.S. If you are wondering what someone with the above mix looks like here’s n example of what I look like with a beard. It’s not full yet.