How Black Are You?

“Like what percentage, isn’t it like half?” – I’ve heard some variation of this question countless times throughout my life.  It’s not that I mind people’s curiosity about my background, it’s that I mind the pervasiveness of misinformation when it comes to race vs ethnicity vs nationality…I have also noticed how many times I’ve had to hear someone else answering the background question with the coveted, “I’m 1/4 Egyptian, 1/4 Italian, 1/12 Jewish, 1/19 Irish, 1/256 Greek”…One, no one cares that freaking much when they ask…and two…okay maybe it’s just me that doesn’t care that much? Just say you’re white and/or black etc and call it a day?
Alright, there’s actually a number of things that bug me about this topic actually, so here’s just a short list to correct some potential myths. They’re not even opinion based so hear me out! 
1. You can’t know “what percentage” of any race you are based on what your parents are. Say your dad is black and white because he has a white mother and a black father.  That does not automatically mean he is half and half, or that you’re a quarter of each.  Genetics don’t work like that.  You can absorb more or less of either side (i.e. 30% black, 60% white or vice versa).  Same with your siblings.  Your full-sister can be genetically “blacker” or “whiter” than you.  
2. Your nationality/ethnicity is NOT your race.  If I say I’m Puerto Rican, or American for that instance, that’s not telling you my race.  If someone says they’re German, you probably automatically picture a white person – however, there are black Germans.  There are black Puerto Ricans, white ones, and generally hella mixed ones. There are black Spaniards, there are white Africans…You get it.
3. Companies like 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage have a ways to go regarding accuracy of genealogy reporting. These companies simply compare your DNA to the DNA of other people with known ancestries.  In doing so, they look for evidence that you have common ancestors with people in the specified reference group (Spanish people for example).  The problem arises though, when we consider that every company uses a different reference group, and these reference groups are changing all the time.  This means you could easily get a result from one company that says you’re 3x more Polish than the other company reports.  What’s more is that the reference group information available for certain ethnicities is lacking, where it is mostly abundant in European/white data points.  Over time, the hope is that the more people participate, the more accurate the reporting will become across all ethnic groups.
That’s my hope at least, since I successfully transcended through ALL 5 stages of grief after my 23andMe pegged me as 60% white (with a Rican mom and biracial dad).  Until then, I’m making my first casserole and dry turkey this Thanksgiving. Trying to embrace this potential newfound identity.

Episode 147: Merit (the app)

The guys come up with a new idea for a social media app, get real vulnerable about crying and catch up since last week’s guest episode.

bbno$ – Shining On My Ex (feat. Yung Gravy)

Kanye West – Use This Gospel

 

Episode 145: The Boy Is Back In Town

The guys are face to face again as Zack comes back home from Michigan. Dean comes up with an idea to help college kids get their essays done a little quicker. This ep was just okay. We’ll do better. We love you.

bbno$ – Lalala (feat. Y2K)

bbno$ – Slop

Find Your Special

So I had this whole thing written out detailing how I met my father when I was 19 but I realized that most of it was for me. I’m 27 years old now and the whole experience still fucks with me but I’ll give you guys the Cliffs Notes version of what I learned from that experience so that maybe you can relate and get to know me a little better without rolling your eyes at the minutiae. I go a long way to get to my eventual point, which is basically that you have to find your “special”.

Like I said, I met my father when I was 19 years old and at the time I felt like I had to. My freshman/sophomore year of college was a wild, mixed period of both self-destruction and self-discovery. I was failing out of school, experimenting with drugs and alienating from people all in the name of “finding myself”, maaan. I felt at this point in my life, it was only right to get to know the other half of myself. After some Facebook sleuthing and a few direct messages to confirm key information, I found my father and he was willing to meet up where he lived in Ormond Beach, Florida.

 Now it’s highly unfair to put expectations on someone, it’s even more ridiculous to put expectations on a moment, but holy shit was it surreal. I thought I was just meeting my father but what I didn’t know and realize was that I had an entire other family. I had cousins and uncles who looked exactly like me, half-sisters, aunts, grandmas, dead grandpas, and I met them all (minus the dead g-pas of course). It was overwhelming, to say the least. My father didn’t have much to say. It felt like he was hiding behind his family and acting like the moment was so much that he couldn’t say anything. It just felt like he couldn’t wait for it to be over. I don’t know what he could have said though, really.

“I’m sorry I never fought to be a part of your life” might have been too on the button. 

I left bummed out. I had built this moment up from the first time I realized I didn’t know who my real father was (around 7 or 8 years old). I built this guy up in my head because I wanted to be that guy one day. I remember day dreaming as a kid that my father was this charismatic, rugged dude who couldn’t stay in one place for very long. Instead, I met a guy who lived in a house he rented from his brother near his hometown with three daughters and a baby mama whom he’s clearly not passionate about. He clearly wasn’t “living the dream”. It was depressing. I thought, “Will this be me?” It wasn’t a particularly bad life but it’s certainly not the pedestal I want to end up on. He seemed sad and unfulfilled. It’s not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings but up until that point I had a lot of pride in who I was and who I thought I wasn’t going to turn in to. My mom was this strong, standup person, she certainly wouldn’t have procreated with a dud, would she? 

I think that’s why I’m pushing so hard against the status quo now. I want to pursue creative avenues not of the norm to avoid a life of silent desperation. I don’t think I’m “destined” to do great things but I would be lying if I said I don’t think I’m special enough to possibly do great things one day. I guess we all think we’re special but it’s the people who embrace it and believe it are the only ones who actually do anything with it. This meeting 8 years ago was a setback but I’m embracing my “special” more and more each day. 

I obviously have a lot more to flush out about this experience and things to confront concerning my daddy issues but it feels good to be honest on how I feel about someone who shouldn’t affect me one way or another anymore. I can let go of the resentment and anger. I can appreciate that this person gave me the gift of life by not squandering it with mediocrity and self loathing. I don’t have to repeat the cycle of misery and guilt of abandonment, and can instead be cognizant of my “special” and use that as fuel realize my full potential.

Episode 141: Skater Don’t Skate

A white guy drowns in Tanzania while trying to propose to his girlfriend, Dean talks about doing comedy in his underwear and Zack has a few “Relatable Recommendations”.

TroyBoi – Snobby (feat. icekream)

Gang Starr – Family and Loyalty (feat. J. Cole)