the privilege of ethnic identity
all too often people take for granted the fact that they know their family history, can trace their heritage and are able to identify as a member of an ethnic group (or ethnic groups) with any sort of conviction beyond appearance.
i feel like it never even occurs to most people that some people actually do not have such privilege– and it is a privilege– and thus do not realize how painful or sad it can be to hear others talk about their genealogy, where their So And So came from, etc.
make no mistake– there are an infinite number of reasons why someone may not have such privilege, such as being adopted, estrangement from family, lack of documentation/records, lack of oral family history or being of complex multi-ethnic descent, just to name a few. often the reasons are much more complex than just one or two things.
i often find myself sad, annoyed or even angry because of my family’s murky oral family history and lack of historical records. while others talk about their successes with genealogy, i can do nothing but contain my silent jealousy and calm the anger i feel about the fact that at some point in time someone somewhere obviously felt that my family didn’t even warrant documenting. how else am i suppose to feel about the fact that up to a point (a very shallow point genealogy wise, i might add) there is literally nothing for me to find about my family?
and now, after decades of feeling this way but never voicing these feelings to anyone, here i am blurbing about it on Tumblr.
at least it’s off my chest now.