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Archiver > Melungeon > 2004-02 > 1076221952

From: "Suze" <>
Subject: Re: [Melungeon] re If the shoe
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2004 00:32:32 -0600
References: <003d01c3edda$d2a26f60$447ffea9@pat> <004f01c3edf6$9e8415a0$8b81d6d1@computer> <010801c3ee04$a0b01500$6401a8c0@friend9>

How that is so is a subject for discussion.

Anyone want to take a shot at it?

Well, I'd take a shot if I had me a gun....

But on a more serious note, Curtis, I've long proposed a "get out of HS card" ought to include a year long genealogy research class. And those from so-called 'white' European lines can't brag much more, either, since my nice first-generation American mom was a mixture of Scot/Prussian/Mongolian and Jewish -- although why Jewish somehow becomes something onto itself is beyond me.

I've long argued people weren't born here or there and never mingled, like some purebred dog. Heck! They walked, rode, invaded, escaped, evaded, traded and just generally got an itch to see what was on the other side of the hill for eons. There were tribes, brutes, elitists of all colors and creeds roaming the earth. If we could take a time machine into our heritage and history, I'm willing to bet we'd find all manner of color, folk, cultures and languages. Just from what I can find on mom's side, I found those who served in the Queen's court and those that hung around her court by the neck for pig stealing. I've found barbarians who were kinder than the 'settled' gentry of the 1500s. And that's just mom!

Dad's ancestry looks like a who's who of American immigration and migration. I feel like the UN and Rainbow Coalition all onto myself. And I get very tired of those who want to feel superior because they are so 'white' or because they are so 'unwhite.' But it seems to be human nature, which brings me to a story.

My son is autistic. When I learned the diagnosis, I was frankly relieved because I thought at last, there might be tools and ways to reach through his wall. Indeed there were, but not because they were laid at my feet -- it was because I searched, stumbled, read and put all my energy and power into helping my son find his path and accepting that path as his.

Meanwhile, I was yelled at by neighbors who had no clue what I was doing allowing a 'handicapped' child ride a bike, walk to school and be a kid....because they saw a handicap. I saw a potential. I was yelled at by strangers on the train in Chicago because I wouldn't allow my son to cave into his rhythmic I was seen as cold and unloving. They had no clue that I had to ignore the hysteria so that he could learn NOT to do that behavior. But worse, was when I went to Autistic groups, thinking I was going to find others to talk to and to relate to and maybe share some stories and find some answers was to be brought up short by one woman in the group who denounced me for having a child who could 'comb his hair.' Elitists are found wearing many coats.

I learned then that our being, our experiences, our pain is relative to us.

In like manner, maybe my ancestors didn't live on a certain ridge or carry the name Melungeon. Who can say? But I do know some of my ancestors were shunned, were different, were cast-away -- sometimes by their own families for marrying non-white, as evidenced by a letter found by one of my cousins.

When I began my quest into my ancestry, it was because my dad told me of my Native heritage and alluded to my African heritage. I began it because an ancestor persisted in my dreams that I find my heritage. My dad wasn't ashamed of his heritage, but he was secretive -- because he didn't want his girls to suffer the discrimination and abuses that he suffered. He wanted more for us, and if that meant being white, then we would be white. The funny thing is that my so-called 'white' cousins on mom's side derided us for not having a white dad.

Anyway, should I be angry at dad for living life as he did? I don't think so. He was working what made the most sense to him, while at the same time, teaching me not to be against others because of their skin or culture. And, I grew up in a racially mixed neighborhood -- check it out: East Hammond, Indiana. Not a ridge, but certainly a mixture of every ancestry under the sun.

I am fed up with people talking about race because it seems to me that the more we bring race into the issue, the further we are separated. Rather than argue about how different we are, I'd rather we spend our energy on how alike we are -- in how our culture is found within us and join together, for in that way and only that way will we ever have a chance to heal the past.

And one more story for the road. The head -- or at least the last I heard -- of the KKK here in Indiana is one Berry dude. He was busying himself trying to cause trouble up in NW Indiana threatening to sue the city of Gary for not giving him a permit to hold a 'informational' rally on the KKK. Gary is primarily a black city. Now, do you REALLY think this guy was up to any good? I didn't...

But my research gave me ammunition that no court could possibly use: Good old Mr. Berry -- unfortunately for both of us -- is my cousin. And the Berrys are tri-racial folk of Cherokee, AA, Choctaw, Irish....French....Good Lord knows what ancestry.

I wrote a very short, but precise letter to the editor of the local and largest paper in Northwest Indiana mentioning our shared Berry ancestry.

Funny.....never heard of the guy again. He never did get his permit. Course, he also never applied again....

So, yes, Curtis, I absolutely and unequivocally agree to level the playing field, for the betterment of all Americans, we need to be better taught and better trained in history and in heritage.


"Real development is not leaving things behind, as on a road, but drawing life from them, as from a root." G.K. Chesterson

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