I recently did one of those Ancestry DNA kits. It took me a really long time to get up the nerve to do it. I am very comfortable in my skin as a bi-racial woman, but it was a rough road getting here. Adopted as a kid, I was told at varying times that yes, I was mixed, but no one was 100% what I was mixed with. My biological mother named a black man as my father on my birth certificate, but it was anybody’s guess whether or not he was actually the father.
My (very limited) non-identifiable adoption records stated that my biological mother is white; biological father mixed with black and Native American.
Every time I looked in the mirror, I could see the Native American shine through, but not much else. I always had this secret fear that the man named as my father isn’t really him, and that as a result, I probably didn’t truly know what race I am. I worried that if I ever did get a DNA test done, it would come back showing me as something I had never identified as- like Middle Eastern- and that all the work I’d done as a child and as an adult to embrace my blackness would be for nothing.
Well, I finally did it.
The biggest surprise is that I am not Native American. At all. 0.00% Native American. I am more than 70% white – meaning my mother is white, and my father has at least some white in him as well. I’m 20-something percent African, which is awesome. This means all the work I did to get comfortable, to love and embrace the black woman in me wasn’t for nothing.
I was a little disappointed to see that I don’t have anywhere near the amount of African ancestry as I’d always believed, but was relieved that nothing I’d never even considered part of my heritage – like Middle Eastern or Italian – wasn’t predominant.
My ancestors – both white and black – showed up in Eastern North Carolina back in the 1700s. My people have been here for hundreds of years, which explains my unbelievable attachment – it’s in my soul – to this area of the country. All of the years I didn’t live here, I knew I would eventually come back.
Last year I did just that.
Feels even more appropriate than it did before, somehow.