Racial Inheritance

Inheritance and family are inherently intertwined and affect our self-perception. I think many people believe traits are inherited not separately but as a blurred mixture of both parents, rather than as a combination of recessive and dominant traits. Many do not understand how vague the lines of racial categories and ethnicities truly are. Often one tries to instantly place a person into a racial category, when they could belong to many categories. In White Teeth, the theme of various ethnicities and overcoming assumptions to form friendships is weaved throughout the novel. A young Jamaican woman and an older white man, melding with a traditional Indian couple may not seem commonplace, but it is hardly extraordinary. My own family contains many races. However, when my family goes out to eat with my aunt and her biracial children, we often get stares. Its intriguing how ingrained our beliefs in race are. Adrian Piper is a video artist who made a piece which challenges typical views of race and inheritance, she is a racially ambiguous woman proclaiming “I am Black” She explains that because of her racial ambiguity she could be viewed as white, and others believe she should just accept this as an advantage since whiteness is “inherently better”. She goes on to argue that most Americans have some black genes, and are therefore technically “Black”. That’s something to chew on.

-Hannah Fasick

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~ by hannahfiasco on April 18, 2010.

One Response to “Racial Inheritance”

  1. I think the whole racial category argument is relative. We view what is unfamiliar differently. But our country isn’t the only one to do this. Also, you are right: technically we are all black. All our ancestors migrated from Africa.

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