As a historical website, one discussion needs particular attention. In areas of genealogy, we have reached a pinnacle in America that shouldn’t be as ignored as it is. The efforts to diversify the nation have done more to harm and demean ethnic and racial heritages than it has ever helped. Unfortunately, this is such a polarizing topic that it seems it will only continue. Indeed, it seems like today there is something wrong with anyone who is reasonably content with the full spectrum of his or her ethnic background.
Modern society has devoted much attention towards identity thieves who steal financial information, but nothing is said of those ethnic or racial identity thieves who steal the heritage of minorities. We’ve all seen the ethnic “Robin Hood,” figures who want everyone to belong to a certain group, even when they clearly don’t.
As a result, predominantly European-Americans call themselves “Native American,” because a 5th great-grandmother on their father’s side was one-half Cherokee. Such titles should be respected, honored, and reserved for those who know the hardships of reservation life, or whose parents or grandparents overcame such struggles.
DNA studies, which should have provided some kind of clarity, have further clouded the discussion. Today, predominantly European individuals are also calling themselves African-American because misguided, armchair geneticists tell them DNA “proves” it. Sadly, people regarded as “experts” actually appear eager to remove the unique and wonderful histories of so many minority groups.
We already know that all races and ethnic groups can coexist. We’ve done it since time began. Stripping such noble groups of their heritage by giving the same heritage to everyone else is an insult. Such propensities are, in reality, cultural appropriation.
The childish argument that you are “ashamed of your heritage” if you don’t do the same was started by the same breed of people. It is simple decency and respect to allow groups, who have endured such abuse and devastation, to have their own identity.
We need a campaign to reform basic racial awareness and acceptance. This is not done by giving ethnicities away to people who have no idea about the struggles related to them. It is not done by telling people their ancestors overcame the horrors of slavery when they didn’t, and they shouldn’t be given such credit. It isn’t done by pretending your ancestors were on the Trail of Tears because your ancestor in 1687 married a “Cherokee bride,” before settling in a European community.
True diversity and acceptance is when you can accept others, not because you share the same ancestors or even DNA group, but because every group is worthy of respect. Everyone has the right to be proud of his or her heritage because every race and every ethnic group has its own unique history of struggle and triumph.