Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
All my life I have wondered what was the breakdown on my ethnicity. If you don’t know who you are you are less than “whole.” One night while my wife, Kay, and I were watching television a commercial for Ancestry.com came on. After discussing the issue, we decided that we were going to try it. I teased her that I may find out that my wife is white (she’s a “redbone”). Imagine the social scandal: “President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce is married to a white girl.”
We now have the results and have shared them with our sons Thomas and Harry III. Let’s start with my ethnicity. I am 69% African and 31% European. Twenty-three percent of me is Nigerian followed by Mali which is 16%. The rest of the African lineage goes like this: Ivory Coast/Ghana -11%; Cameroon/Congo – 9%; Senegal – 9%; Southeastern Africa and Benin/Togo are 1% and less than 1%, respectively. I have been all over Africa but the few nations I have not been to are Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo Benin and Togo. They now will be high on my travel targets. I have to go and visit my people!
Now, how about the white side of me? Great Britain leads the way with 21%. Next is the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) at 5%. Finland/Northwest Russia is at 3%. Ireland is at 2% and Greece is less than 1%.
I was kidding Kay that we will find out that she is white. That is almost a reality! Forty-seven percent of my wife is white while 52% is African and less than 1% is Native American. She missed being predominantly white by three percentage points. Here is her breakdown: Benin/Togo 23%; Cameroon/ Congo – 11%; Ivory Coast/- Ghana 10%; Southeastern Africa – 3%; Senegal – 3%; Mali – 2%.
Now for the white side of Kay. Great Britain – 22%; Ireland – 20%; Europe West – 2%; Scandinavia – 1% while the Iberian Peninsula and European Jewish are less than 1% each. She has less than 1% Native American, which is the Western Hemisphere (the Americas).
Kay isn’t the lightest one in her family. Her baby brother has blue eyes. She has one aunt with natural blonde hair while another aunt has red hair. They once went out with their husbands back in the day and were arrested for violating the Indiana Race Mixing law. The outrage was in the local papers and started the demise of this law (early 1960’s).
The above is the result of the greatest holocaust on earth – African Slavery and the forced migration to the New World. Our history is not joyous. The white blood in us did not come from love. It came from rape! The Iberian blood probably comes from Portuguese and Spanish slave ships. The females were often raped during the voyage – the slavers couldn’t wait until they arrived to the destinations. Ends that mystery.
The majority of the Great Britain and Ireland ethnicities comes from slave ships and the enslavement for nearly 250 years in the Southern United States. That is a lot of raping. Some of the rape started before the victims got on the slave ship. We visited a slave castle located on the coast of Ghana. There was one room, which had the title of “Rape Room.” One must wonder – were my relatives victims of this? I have a set of actual slave bracelets, which hang in our conference room. These bracelets, according to the seller, are from Mali. I have 16% of such blood in my body. I wonder about the possibility that one of my own ancestors wore those bracelets and how ironic it may be.
If you are wondering about the Scandinavian, Finland and Russian portions of our bloodline, the answer is simple. England was once conquered by the Vikings. Yes, the British had their turn at being raped also. Our rapist carried the Scandinavian, Finland and Russian ethnicity due to this period of conquest. When the Vikings took land to the east it became known as Russia as the Vikings were from the land of “Rus” which would later form Finland, Sweden and Norway.
I encourage all of you to do the same. It is empowering to solve the mystery of you. Why do you have this kind of hair; your skin tone; natural athleticism, etc.? I know the next time I hear a Nigerian joke I won’t be laughing. I will call that the “Dozens.”
We (Blacks of the Western Hemisphere who bear the slave legacy) are the survivors and that which does not kill us makes us stronger. It is truly a miracle that we made it through. A big reason to be proud.
Mr. Alford is the President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www. nationalbcc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .