I read a very interesting article on BBC.com today about a boss who requested that his top management take a DNA test. His viewpoint was that he wanted challenge preconceptions in the world and how that fits on a global scale. All of the participants had some idea of their heritage but the results proved almost every one wrong; not so much in terms of being incorrect of the origin, but more that countries in their lineage were discovered that they didn’t even know about. One found a huge concentration of Scandinavian heritage and another found traces of Russian bloodlines while yet another found out they were more Irish than British; yet they’re all British citizens. So what makes a person? Is it their birth place? Or the bloodlines which have been blended and merged yet still carried centuries later?
Here in United States we live in the most glorified melting pot in the world. We lay claim to almost every nationality in the world who call this patch of land home. Does this make us all Americans?
I did a DNA test myself not too long ago. I found out that I am over 55% British, Scottish and Irish and the rest is a blend of Viking heritage mixed with Western European/could be German/could be French/I like berets/you decide mutt type mix. I was hoping for a different outcome that my friends laugh over. I was really, really, really hoping I could tweak someone I know by telling them I was anything BUT the above referenced list, but alas….blood doesn’t lie. You know what else doesn’t lie? My birth certificate. I was born in America. That’s who I am. At the time of my birth, I was the end result, the consummate final product of many generations who were much stronger than me braving the unknown to come here. The actual date, we do not yet know. My grandmother bragged about her pristine research of our family history (which with all the modern technology and records – I cannot corroborate) and in my opinion whatever she didn’t know, she made up. Allegedly we can be traced back to Charlemagne. Well ain’t that sweet? Shirley MacLaine told you that did she? She knew? From one of her former lives as a serving girl at Philip the Fair’s banquet hall or during the Crusades when she fought for Saladin? She slipped this knowledge to you? At lunch? Over martinis? At the Savoy? We were farmers and you didn’t drink Gram…. let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ve thought better of it since my overwhelming urge to rip up her annals of history which it would appear were both mendacious and loquacious.
Supposedly there were kidnappings, and near misses, and narrow escapes, and almost rapes (a favorite topic of hers by the way), and horse thieves and bigamists and Indian princesses who ran away with handsome Englishmen which is why we have high cheek bones yet fair skin in our family. I poop you not. She wrote it down. My grandmother most assuredly contributed to my need for therapy. She was a pip; and by that I mean passive-aggressive, prone to guilt trips, and latently psychotic.
So, most of us can probably say that we are more than likely global citizens. Very few of us can lay claim to being absolutely of “pure blood”. We live in a world where everyone and everything has to have a label and a compartment to be safely ensconced in for us to feel comfortable with them in our world. When this happened I do not know. How this happened, I would venture a guess, is probably the need to distinguish and differentiate ourselves from the masses; to feel important or special going horribly awry. The need to be special has rendered us all ordinary. Has it helped that we can identify and label everyone without a trace of humanity? If we are globally connected through the internet and in commerce; if we can watch another country’s news and shoot a text to our friends on another continent then why do we not feel more of a global responsibility to each other?
I wrote yesterday about Santa. We’re worrying about whether a man doesn’t look the part when somewhere in the world…
This is Bana. She’s drawn international attention on her Twitter account which consists of nothing more than a young girl trying to cope with her city being bombed daily. J.K. Rowling sent her the Harry Potter series to help this child escape from the ravaging of her city through books which she feels is her only refuge.
We’re worried about how to get through the holiday madness and she’s worried about surviving the next raid. We’re worried about getting the best sale for Black Friday and she’s worried about the last hospital standing in Aleppo being blown to rubble. We’re worried about the Thanksgiving through New Year weight gain and she’s running for her life.
There are some reports that she is safe. For now.
As someone of global descent….is it my moral responsibility to bring attention to this?
I feel helpless watching this world tear itself apart. I’ve decided over the course of the past ten years or so that I can’t save everyone. What I can do is to try to make my corner a little happier, a little brighter, a little more forgiving, a little better. That’s all I can offer up to a world gone mad as a global citizen doing my part.
With little else to give, I offer it to anyone reading this. I hope your dreams are full and your fears are few. Peace.