I watched the last of Henry Louis Gates’ Finding Your Roots programs on Tuesday evening. One thing that struck me as I viewed this episode with a strong emphasis on DNA profiles is that we need to put the whole race thing behind us, not only as genealogists but as Americans.
Nearly everyone featured on his programs-and on most other TV genealogy series-had a multi-racial as well as a multi-ethnic background. This is a standard American family feature. Yet on every form you fill out for nearly any purpose, you have to choose a “race.” I think it’s time to consign those kinds of forms to the trash dump. They are un-American and foster nothing but divisiveness.
As of now I plan to choose only “Other” on those forms and mark “Human” when I have a choice. If I have no choice, I will never again mark “White.” What exactly is “White” anyway? Nobody I’ve ever seen is white, which is the color of copy paper. If you see anyone white, they’re probably dead.
Let’s start lobbying the government and companies to eliminate the “Race” block on any and all forms. We are people, period-hard to pigeonhole, hard to categorize, difficult to fit into blocks. Any good genealogist recognizes that fact.
Most of our ancestors are real individuals, one of a kind folks. I think we should recognize that fact, dump the race blocks, and move on.