Thursday, July 12, 2018

How to Kill Whitey in Five Easy Steps: Step 2

Step Two: White is Not Your Heritage.

I'm proud of my blood.  I am.  My family reaches back generations and spans multiple European cultures.  In some instances, all the way back to the Mayflower.

This is not a metaphor.  Meaning, I can trace, genetically and through my lineage, myself back to an indentured servant brought across the Atlantic on that very vessel.  Those genealogies have been done. I know where I come from, all the streams of my blood and lineage.

I am Welsh, because Williams is as Welsh as you get.  It's also my Comstock heritage. We're a sturdy, mischievous, stubborn people, strong of arm and long of torso.  That line is where I get my enjoyment of green and growing things and my deepening baritone.

I am Scottish, of the Clan MacDougall, whose raven-flagged galleys plied the waterways of that craggy land.  This means I'm also a little bit Danish/Norwegian, as the MacDougall...meaning "the sons of dark strangers"...were Vikings who arrived in Scotland and decided to stick around.

I am Irish, from the Daleys.  That's the side that includes fallen priests and itinerant farm workers, and I credit it with my love of tale-telling and a sometimes counterproductive alcohol tolerance.

I am German, of the Huffs, tall and wiry men with craggy faces, who journeyed deep into this continent, and who...when the settlers came West...had already set up shop and shacked up with the locals.

I am a rich mix of these things and others, and I remember them.  I have told these tales to my children, who have a richer heritage still.

I married a Jewish woman, whose Austrian Ashkenazi side either came to America and settled in Queens or were burned away in the Holocaust.  Her Sephardic side had fled the Inquisition and settled in the sun-kissed Greek city of Thessalonika, where there are still synagogues and Jewish life.

The blood and story and heritage of my family is made of many intermingled things, the rich robust history of the proud mongrel.

"White" is not one of those things.

Oh, at some points in my family past, it was.  I know this and own this.  But now?

Now it confers no defining meaning.  Nor should it.  Whiteness does not shape my identity, because "white" would erase all of those cultures and stories, mashing each of the distinct textures of those peoples into a flavorless paste.  Not the rich harmonic ever-changing ratatouille of the melting pot, but an inedible mash, like an overcooked stew that has been so oversalted that all you taste is the salt.

That was, in point of fact, the purpose of "white" identity.  Its purpose was to annihilate the cultural distinctions of European peoples, and to forge them into something new and synthetic.  It seeks to create a "race," and obliterate the complex evolving reality of culture through the application of that fabricated sense of self.

"White" is the heritage of a people who have forgotten their heritage, the identity of those who have lost sight of the powerful stories and languages of their ancestors.