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2006年NPR美国国家公共电台二月-African-American Identity: More than DNA

时间:2007-07-19 06:38来源:互联网 提供网友:zhao6221133   字体: [ ]

Running a series called "African American Lives". It’s hosted by historian Henry Lewis Gates, and profiles prominent African Americans who trace their lineage back to Africa using DNA1 analysis. Commentator2 John McWhorter says he doesn't need a DNA mouth swab to know where he comes from. He says he's content with his family history the way it is: He's a black American, he admires his ancestors, but says that's all he needs to know.

Back in the day I was given to mentioning that I would never know exactly where in Africa my ancestors lived. There're so many holes on the data on the slave trade that Alex Hailey, who traced his people back to a specific African nation, was just lucky. As often as not the trail goes back to a particular plantation3, if that, and then goes cold.

But now with the wonders of modern science, all I have to do is hand over a scraping from my cheek and my DNA will be able to tell me whether I trace back to Senegal, Angola or somewhere in between.I suppose I’ll get around to it. But I can't say that I’ve ever felt like I didn’t know where my roots were in the meantime because my roots are right here in the US of A. (abbr of "United State of America" -- More often than not, 'US of A' is used to enhance a stereotypical4 attribute of the country.)

Don’t get me wrong. There is certainly nothing bad about tracing ourselves back further than plantation slavery. Professor Henry Lewis Gates' African American Lives mini-series is a rich and fascinating piece of work. I respect those who find comfort in connecting themselves to kingdoms that thrived long before Europeans encountered them.

Yet I'm unable to join those who say that finding out their ancestors lived in Ghana makes them feel whole or that they found home. I get that the kingdom of Benin may seem like a more noble pedigree than working as property in North Carolina. But I've always thought of myself as the descendant of Africans who made the best of the worst after this.

Too often black history is given to us as slavery, sharecropping, lynching, Doctor King and then New Jack5 City. Of course we also get the flashcard heroes like George Washington Carver. But often they look like people shouting into the wind, in a country where degradation6 was the key word. But this leaves out the resilience, the human spirit that's always burned bright in ordinary black people living lives of dignity.

Where do I come from? I come from my great-grandmother who was a fast-living saxophone player raising hell on the new jazz scene in the teens. Lots of black folks say they have some Indian in them. Well, I come from another great-grandmother who definitely was part Indian. One look at a photo of her in Indian regalia shows that Maliry was one proud black woman even when lynching was ordinary. Or I'll never forget my great-aunt Tia in 1977. Casually7 running, not walking, but running up train station steps at the fine old age of 92. I have a photo of her too, as a young woman in the early twenties, a confident, black American lady for whom Ghana was the last thing on her mind.

Where do I come from? I come from a people who the very year I was born, 1965, had turned America upside down and gained the right to vote in the south. I come from my grandmother who was a child in Atlanta, was a playmate of the very Martin Luther King who went on to gain us that Voting Rights Act.

Africa was a very, very long time ago. Ghanaians today are given to calling black American visitors obruni, foreigners. And to me, this is natural and gives no insult.

What I come from is great-aunt Tia running up those steps in her stockings with her crisp Ebonics and musky perfume. I come from black American people. They occasion no shame in me. They are my heroes. They are my home. They are enough.


1 DNA 4u3z1l     
(缩)deoxyribonucleic acid 脱氧核糖核酸
  • DNA is stored in the nucleus of a cell.脱氧核糖核酸储存于细胞的细胞核里。
  • Gene mutations are alterations in the DNA code.基因突变是指DNA密码的改变。
2 commentator JXOyu     
  • He is a good commentator because he can get across the game.他能简单地解说这场比赛,是个好的解说者。
  • The commentator made a big mistake during the live broadcast.在直播节目中评论员犯了个大错误。
3 plantation oOWxz     
  • His father-in-law is a plantation manager.他岳父是个种植园经营者。
  • The plantation owner has possessed himself of a vast piece of land.这个种植园主把大片土地占为己有。
4 stereotypical af5b561e94abd66f688fbfcccaffdce3     
  • Personas should be typical and believable, but not stereotypical. 人物角色应该是典型和可信赖的,但不是一成不变的。 来自About Face 3交互设计精髓
  • Anything could be stereotypical, so I guess it could be criticism. 任何东西都可以变的老套,所以我猜那就是一种批评。 来自互联网
5 jack 53Hxp     
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
6 degradation QxKxL     
  • There are serious problems of land degradation in some arid zones.在一些干旱地带存在严重的土地退化问题。
  • Gambling is always coupled with degradation.赌博总是与堕落相联系。
7 casually UwBzvw     
  • She remarked casually that she was changing her job.她当时漫不经心地说要换工作。
  • I casually mentioned that I might be interested in working abroad.我不经意地提到我可能会对出国工作感兴趣。
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