Personal Essay : African American Lives

Living as an American In a American civilization so adapted to ones own customs, one does not always think who were my ancestors, what were they like, what their struggles were or how was their life like growing up here in America, or were they really from America.  Individuals sometimes grow older with missing bits and pieces of their history, and wanting to know more about the origins of their race, and family.  Although I grew up with never having to struggle with slavery, segregated schools, no equal rights, or being mistreated by Caucasians, I have often thought well why am I black, why am I African American, why could I not be born as a different color, on a different continent, in a different country.  Questions I posed to God, and myself and just came to the conclusion that this is just how God made us. I never knew the history of my family, our ancestors and in fact it never really interested me that much however as you grow older you want to find if you have family that you don’t know and have not already met, maybe in another state, or possibly in another country.  I look at it as being very intriguing and fascinating to know that with just two people created a whole race of people, which then later created another minority group of people, African Americans. When I was younger I looked at it as being offensive when referred to as a African, because I was not I was African American, but never really having the thought or understanding of “how” did you become an African America? This question could pose to be a mystery wanting to be found out by all African Americans.

For nearly 300 years Africans were said to have been enslaved, being brought over from many different African civilizations to America as slaves, during this time of slavery a great number of children were born, families were torn apart, and Africans were spread across the continental U.S. Fast forward a couple of centuries later, and you have African Americans.  What is most interesting to know is how from African Ancestry how mixed African Americans came to be about, how albino came to be about, how individuals having Indian descent came to also be about, how this one race was created but with so many different characteristics?  Such as some African Americans having fine hair, and some with kinky hair, others with hazel eyes, and some with brown, some having slimmer noses, and some with wider noses. How could this be possible if all African Americans have just only African Ancestry, that is a very hard question to ask.  Me as an individual, I am not the only one that is interested in understanding where I originated from, the Film of African American Lives made that question more easily answered and also posed upon another question, ‘Does everyone of every country, and of every race have an ancestry of all ethnic groups?

The first possible answer to that question is what is called “admixture,” it was described in the movie as being physical features of a person and DNA of that individual used to trace common ancestry. What I thought was most interesting about this was that this could be done, that technology and knowledge of people has grown, to be able to find out this kind of information. Also that with this admixture technique if it was tested all around the world, that it could possibly prove that all ethic groups all originated from the first humans on earth, which is mentioned in the bible, Adam and Eve.  Although present day people have accepted some facts that we were created by creation of other means such as the “Big Bang Theory,” or from evolution which scientist believe, but before these theories, and sciences came to be about, the roman Christian church shaped the views of people views and perspectives of the world, and the creation of mankind, that All races came to be about because of Adam and Eve.  However in the film the two techniques that could possible answer the question which I revealed earlier in my paper was, “Is possible that every human in the world share some common ancestor with all other descents?” which is ‘Y chromosomes Lineage, and the testing of Mitochondrial DNA, which is described as comparing the mans Y chromosomes, and the mitochondria DNA, to the Y chromosomes, and mtDNA to other ethnic groups, and the results that came back were astounding. With the sample and testing of these two vital parts of the human body, doctors, and scientists are able to pinpoint a possible place where your ancestors descended.

I believe that if scientist can modify these techniques, and broaden their ranges of testing, and publicly this to people all over the world, just as a scientist had once said that the earth was flat, or that the sun, and the planets orbit the earth, then came another scientist who said that the earth was round, and that the earth, and planets orbited the sun and it caused a “Paradigm Shift,” I believe that this could cause a paradigm shift also in the people of the world. It could possible bring a peace not a world peace, but a peace between different ethnic groups, and rivalries of races. and bring unity.


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